Here’s how long you need to save to afford a condo in Toronto

To rent or to buy? It’s a question that not many residents in Toronto have the luxury of asking themselves, with the average cost of a home hitting $1,082,496 in August. But in today’s real estate market, rental prices are not much more approachable — in September, the average rent for a one-bedroom in the city hit $2,541. With such a high monthly rate, putting your rent toward a monthly mortgage might seem more appealing. While a detached home might be out of reach, there are plenty of condos under $800,000 in the city. And a new report found that, in a few neighbourhoods in Toronto, you would be able to save for a down payment on a condo in less than a year.

The report by Zoocasa compared average condo apartment lease rates with sold prices for condos in 35 neighbourhoods in the city. The minimum down payment was calculated in each neighbourhood and then compared to how many months of rent the amount equalled. 

The report found that there are seven neighbourhoods in Toronto where a year or less of rent would equal a down payment. In West Hill and Centennial Scarborough, you would need 9.5 months of rent to save for a down payment. Willowridge-Martingrove-Richview requires 10.1 months of saving, while Black Creek, York University Heights, Dorset Park and Kennedy Park all require around 11 months of saving. Malvern, Rouge, Scarborough Village, Guildwood, Rexdale-Kipling and West Humber-Claireville all came in at around a full year of rent saving to afford a down payment.

Other than the east and west, saving up will take a bit more time in the city. Most central neighbourhoods reported down payments that equal around 13 to 25 months of rent, with the city-wide average coming in at 17.9 months of savings.

Some of the most expensive areas include Forest Hill and Oakwood Village, where you’d need to save for five and a half years to afford a condo down payment, Yorkville, Annex and Summerhill (almost six years), Bedford Park-Nortown, Lawrence Park and Forest Hill North (just over six years) and Rosedale, Moore Park, York Mills, Bridle Path and Hoggs Hollow, where you’d be saving for almost eight years before you’d have enough for a downpayment.

According to Zoocasa, there has actually been some improvement over the past year: “Since [the last time we conducted this study in March 2023] several neighbourhoods have become more affordable, either because the average condo apartment sold price decreased or the average condo lease rate per month increased since the end of 2022,” the report reads. 

Neighbourhoods that saw an increase in affordability include East York, Danforth Village, Leslieville and Riverside.

Overall, the report notes that affordability has gotten worse in the city since the last study was conducted. “Not only has the average price of a condo in the city increased in the last two quarters, but the average condo lease rate has also increased by over $100.”