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What’s the most affordable place to buy a home in Ontario?

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The Greater Toronto Area, contrary to popular thought, is not the most unaffordable region in Ontario.

Although the Toronto Real Estate Board reported the average home sold for $785,000 this August, affordability is more than just high housing prices. Rather, it is the relationship between housing prices and the income of residents. These two figures must be aligned in order for a city to be considered affordable.

Zoocasa calculated the required income to purchase the average home in 28 major markets across the province, assuming a 20-per-cent down payment is made at a mortgage rate of 3.14% and a 30-year amortization.

To comfortably afford to carry a Toronto house at that price, the median household income would need to be at least $107,000. But the actual median income is only $66,000 – leaving an income gap of over $41,000.

Now, that’s a large income gap, but it’s not the highest one in Ontario.

Part of the reason Toronto doesn’t top this list is because of the diverse mix of housing. Yes, Toronto has very expensive single-family houses for sale in Etobicoke, but it also has less expensive condos for sale in downtown Toronto.

Instead, the honour goes to Richmond Hill, a city just north of Toronto. There, the average home price is higher, at just under $1 million. A household would need to be earning over $136,000 to afford it, but the median income is just over $88,000, leaving an income gap of about $48,000.

If you want your money to go further, escape the golden horseshoe and head to Northern Ontario, where you’ll find a surplus in your monthly budget.

Thunder Bay and Sudbury are all affordable places to live – median incomes far outpace housing prices, which average under $300,000, and you’ll be able to comfortably pick and choose the perfect home with money left over in the bank.

There are even smaller cities just east of Toronto that remain affordable. Pickering, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax Peterborough residents make more than enough to afford a home, which are mostly in the $600,000 range.

Want to see more places that are affordable? Check out the infographic below to see the full list and all the details (click to expand):

Infographic for the cheapest homes in ontario

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate


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Victoria real estate agent disciplined for false advertising, encouraging cash deal to avoid taxes

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A Victoria real estate agent is facing $9,000 in fines and a 60-day licence suspension after breaking several professional rules during the sale of her father’s half-million-dollar property, according to a decision by the Real Estate Council of B.C. 

Whitney Garside’s missteps — outlined this week in a disciplinary decision posted on the council’s website — included falsely advertising the property as being almost twice its actual size and advising the buyer they could avoid the property transfer tax if they paid cash directly to the seller.

The property on Burnett Road in Victoria was being sold in 2016 by the real estate agent’s father. That relationship was disclosed and isn’t among the reasons she has been disciplined.

According to the disciplinary consent order, Garside told the buyer — whose name is redacted — that by paying $42,000 cash on the side, the value of the property could be reduced to avoid paying the property transfer tax.

That cash arrangement was not shared with Garside’s brokerage, Re/Max Camosun, a failure that contravened the Real Estate Services Act.

The council also ruled that she “failed to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill” when she advised the buyer the property transfer tax could be avoided by paying cash directly to the seller. 

The council’s discipline committee also found that Garside committed professional misconduct when she failed to recommend the seller and buyer seek independent legal advice, specifically regarding the property transfer tax and the cash agreement.

Another issue the council considered professional misconduct involved the size of the property in question.

The council ruled that Garside published false and misleading advertising and failed to act with reasonable care and skill when the property was advertised as 8,712 square feet, when in fact a portion of the lot belonged to the Ministry of Transportation, and the actual size was just 4,711 square feet.

The discipline committee ordered Garside’s licence be suspended for 60 days, which will be completed Jan. 3, 2021.

She has also been ordered to complete real estate ethics and remedial classes at her own expense.

Garside was also fined $7,500 as a disciplinary penalty and $1,500 in enforcement expenses.

She agreed to waive her right to appeal the council’s discipline committee’s decision in September.

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Frisco apartment community sells to Canadian investor

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A Canada-based investor has purchased a Frisco apartment community as part of a larger Texas deal.

The 330-unit Satori Frisco apartments opened last year on Research Road in Frisco.

BSR Real Estate Investment Trust bought the four-story rental community that was built by Atlanta-based Davis Development.

Satori Frisco was more than 90% leased at the time of sale. The property includes a two-story fitness center, a car care center, a dog park and a resort-style swimming pool.

The Frisco property sold along with Houston’s Vale luxury apartments in a deal valued at $129 million.

“BSR recently exited the smaller Beaumont and Longview, Texas, markets and also sold noncore properties in other markets,” John Bailey, BSR’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are now using our strong liquidity position to invest in Vale and Satori Frisco, modern communities in core growth markets with the amenities our residents desire.”

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House prices on Prince Edward Island continue steady climb

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Residential real estate prices on Prince Edward Island continue to climb at a rate higher than the national average, according to the latest report from a national organization. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association released monthly figures for November 2020 on Tuesday.

They show that the average price for a resale home on P.E.I. is about 21 per cent higher than it was a year earlier. 

Only Quebec had a bigger year-over-year increase, at about 23 per cent. Overall across Canada, prices were up 13.8 per cent year over year in the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the fifth straight month, year-over-year sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to the same month in 2019,” the report noted.

“Meanwhile, an ongoing shortage of supply of homes available for purchase across most of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces means sellers there hold the upper hand in sales negotiations.”

That lack of houses coming onto the market compared to the demand means that in those provinces, there is “increased competition among buyers for listings and … fertile ground for price gains.”

There have been anecdotal reports for months that Prince Edward Island’s low rate of COVID-19 infection and looser rules around social activities have been encouraging people to buy homes on the Island. 

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