How to Buy a House in Toronto in 2024

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: June 19, 2023
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What You Should Know

  • Before starting your home search in Toronto, it's important to begin saving money for a down payment and working on improving your credit score as early as you can.
  • When saving up to buy a home in Toronto, keep in mind that closing costs can range between 3% to 4% of the home’s purchase price.
  • Consider how much space you need, including your household size, which may change what property types will suit you.
  • Research the location where you want to live, which may include looking at schools, public transport options, as well as how close you'll be to stores, restaurants and other amenities.
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If you’re looking to buy a house in Toronto, there are a few things to keep in mind so that you can be prepared for the process. This step-by-step guide to buying a house in Toronto will provide helpful advice on what to expect and how to go about finding the perfect home in Toronto for you.

It’s no surprise that Canada’s biggest city is also one of Canada’s most expensive cities to buy a home in. Toronto home prices can be well above the million dollar mark for some property types, especially detached and semi-detached homes, with some neighbourhoods being even more expensive compared to others.

While you don’t need to be a millionaire in order to live in Toronto, can you afford to buy a home in Toronto? Let’s take a look to see what income and down payment you would need in order to afford a home in Toronto.

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10 Steps to Buying a Home in Toronto

Step 1: Saving for a Down Payment

Homes in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are expensive, and you’ll need to save up for a hefty down payment. Since many homes in the GTA cost over $1 million, this means that the minimum down payment would be 20% for many homes that you are looking at. That’s because homes that cost over $1 million require a down payment of at least 20%.

Homes that are less than $1 million have lower down payment requirements, of just 5% of the home’s purchase price if it is under $500,000. If a home costs between $500,000 and $1 million, the minimum down payment is 5% of the portion that is below $500,000 and 10% of the portion that is above $500,000. For homes that cost more than $1 million, the minimum down payment is 20%.

If you’re looking to buy a detached home in Toronto, it’s likely that you would need to make a down payment of at least 20%. With the average detached home in Toronto being $ in , that would mean a down payment of at least $NaN! That’s quite a lot of money to have saved up and ready to go.

If you were to make a down payment of less than 20%, where the home price was less than $1 million, you will need to account for an additional cost: CMHC insurance or a similar mortgage default insurance premium. This would cost you between 2.8% to 4.0% of the total amount of your mortgage.

Based on an average Toronto home price of $, the minimum down payment for an average home in Toronto is $NaN. A detached home would have a minimum down payment of $NaN, semi-detached home would have a minimum down payment of $NaN, while a freehold townhouse would have a minimum down payment of $NaN. Condos, the cheapest home type, has a minimum down payment of $NaN. This means that you’ll need to have at least this amount of money in order to buy a home in Toronto and to qualify for a mortgage.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may be wondering how to save for a down payment. One option is to utilize the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), which combines the tax benefits of an RRSP and a TFSA. This gives you a tax deduction when you contribute and lets you withdraw the money tax-free in order to buy a home.

If you have already contributed the maximum amount to your FHSA, you may want to consider putting additional money into your TFSA or RRSP. One feature of the RRSP is the Home Buyers' Plan, which allows for a withdrawal to purchase your first home, but keep in mind that you will need to repay the amount back into your RRSP.

Down Payment Assistance in Toronto

If you're having difficulty saving enough money to buy a home, you can explore the down payment assistance programs available in Toronto. The main program available is the First-Time Home Buyers Incentive (FTHBI) from the federal government, which allows you to borrow 5% or 10% of the home's purchase price to use as a down payment.

However, there are restrictions with the FTHBI, such as the maximum annual income being $150,000 and the most that you can borrow being 4.5x your annual income. This means that your mortgage amount must be less than $675,000, which might not be enough to buy most types of homes in Toronto.

There are private, investor-funded down payment assistance programs available too as a shared equity mortgage. Providers in Toronto and the GTA are Lotly and Ourboro, which can provide a down payment of up to 15% of the home’s purchase price. You’ll still need to contribute at least 5% of the home’s purchase price as your portion of the down payment.

Step 2: Build Up Your Credit Score and Income

Buying a home involves borrowing a lot of money in the form of a mortgage, and so potential lenders will be taking a close look at your credit history and financials. When buying a home in Toronto, it’s important to have a credit score of at least 600. The higher your credit score, the better mortgage rates you'll qualify for and the more lenders you'll have to choose from.

If you’re not able to qualify for a mortgage from a traditional bank, you may instead have to go with a private mortgage lender or rethink buying a home in Toronto for now. Although private mortgage lenders typically don't have a minimum credit score requirement, the interest rates for private mortgages are much higher, potentially costing you thousands of extra dollars in interest charges.

Your finances include your income and debt. In addition to slimming down your debt, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough income in the first place to afford a mortgage. Besides looking at whether your monthly income is more than your monthly mortgage payment, banks and other mortgage lenders will conduct a mortgage stress test. This tests whether your mortgage payments will be low enough that it doesn’t take up a large chunk of your paycheck, so that you still have money for other living expenses, and whether you can afford your payments when interest rates rise.

Another thing to consider is your employment. Banks and mortgage lenders usually require borrowers to have been employed for at least two years. If you’re self-employed, this might mean having two years of consistent self-employment income.

Step 3: Check Your Mortgage Affordability

It’s easy to check your mortgage affordability online, and it’s something that you should do so that you know how much you can realistically afford. When looking at mortgage affordability, lenders will look at your gross debt service (GDS) and total debt service (TDS) ratios. These are debt service ratios that compare your gross monthly income with your monthly payments to things like your mortgage, housing costs, and debt payments.

The higher your debt service ratios, the worse it is. The limits that Toronto mortgage lenders have on these debt ratios will largely form how much you can afford to borrow. All things being equal, the higher your income, the more you can borrow. The more debt payments you have, the less that you can borrow. This can guide you to see where you can improve, whether it be by slashing your debt or making a larger down payment, and allows you to determine your maximum affordable home purchase price.

Your maximum affordable home purchase price is a good number to keep in mind when it comes time to look at properties, to ensure that you don’t exceed your budget.

toronto skyline
Downtown Toronto skyline

Step 4: Locate a Neighbourhood

From bustling downtown to peaceful suburban streets, Toronto has something to offer for everyone. The City of Toronto has 158 neighbourhoods across 25 wards, while the cities and towns that make up the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) add even more options that are still close to Toronto.

When it comes to choosing a neighbourhood in Toronto, consider things that are important to you. That might be schools that your children might attend, the proximity of shops and restaurants, as well as public transit options in the area. Property types and age can play a role in your decision making, as well as demographics and crime.

At the bottom of this page, we’ve displayed neighbourhood stats on population, median household income, unemployment rate, most common home type, percentage of residents that are post-secondary educated, public transit users, and immigrants, as well as the median monthly shelter cost for owners and renters.

Comparing Toronto Neighbourhoods (2016 Census)

Highest and Lowest Stats
Average Monthly Rent
$936
Scarborough Southwest
$1,673
Spadina-Fort York
Median Household Income
$70,624
Scarborough Centre
$216,158
Don Valley West
Median Age
32.4
Spadina-Fort York
45.2
Etobicoke Centre
Immigrants
31%
Toronto-Danforth
67%
Scarborough North
Unemployment Rate
5.1%
Spadina-Fort York
11.1%
Scarborough-Guildwood
Percentage of Renters
19%
Scarborough North
71%
Toronto Centre
10-Year Population Growth
1.2%
Scarborough-Agincourt/North
102.3%
Spadina-Fort York
Population Density
19/ha
Scarborough-Rouge Park
184/ha
Toronto Centre
Post-Secondary Education
38%
Humber River-Black Creek
79%
Spadina-Fort York
Most Common Home Type
Detached (55%)
Scarborough-Rouge Park
Condos (94%)
Toronto Centre

Map of the City of Toronto

With Average Home Prices for
Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Canada CanadaLeaf
Mortgage Term:
Fixed
Variable

Step 5: Estimate Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees associated with purchasing a home that you’ll need to pay for. This might include things like real estate lawyer fees, title insurance, and registration fees.

A big part of your closing costs will be land transfer tax, which in Toronto can range from 1% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. This is higher than buying a home in other areas of Ontario, as the City of Toronto also charges a municipal land transfer tax on top of the provincial land transfer tax charged by Ontario. You may get a rebate if you're a first-time home buyer.

Just like estimating your mortgage affordability, it’s a good idea to estimate your closing costs so that you don’t have any hidden surprises. This can amount to thousands of dollars that you may need to pay upfront. Your real estate agent may guide you through the closing costs associated with your transaction.

How Much Are Closing Costs in Toronto?

Closing costs in Toronto often range between 3% to 4% of your home’s purchase price. The largest cost you will face is land transfer tax, which for the average home in Toronto being well over $1 million, will already make up over 3% of your home’s purchase price.

Step 6: Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

A mortgage pre-approval is something that you can get from mortgage lenders which tells you how much they are willing to let you borrow at a certain mortgage interest rate. A mortgage pre-approval is an important part of the home buying process as it gives buyers a better idea of what their budget is and helps them narrow down their property search to homes within their price range. It also shows sellers that buyers are serious about purchasing a home, which can give them added confidence in any offers they make.

You can usually lock in a mortgage rate through a mortgage pre-approval. This rate hold means that you have a certain number of days, often up to 120 days, where your pre-approved rate won’t change. This allows you to search for homes while being sure of your mortgage rate.

Lock these mortgage rates until October 23, 2024 (130 days)
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*Terms and conditions apply
Lock these mortgage rates until October 13, 2024 (120 days)
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3-Year Fixed
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4-Year Fixed
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Step 7: Find a Real Estate Agent

It’s usually a good idea to work with a real estate agent when buying a home. They can help guide you through the home buying process, show you potential homes, negotiate on your behalf, and more. There often isn’t any direct cost to using a real estate agent as a homebuyer either.

When looking for a real estate agent in Toronto, make sure to do your research. Find agents that have experience and a good understanding of the Toronto housing market, as well as a good track record. Check for references from past clients and read reviews. Once you have narrowed down your list of potential agents, interview each one to get a better feel for their experience and qualifications.

toronto residential
Residential suburbs, Toronto
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Step 8: Finding Your New Home

This step is usually the part that most home buyers think of when buying a home in Toronto: finding the right home! While the previous steps may seem dull in comparison, they are important to have in place for your home search to be successful.

Your real estate agent can show you potential listings, but you can also search for home listings yourself too. Consider what features and amenities you're looking for in a home, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the home, distance to work, and so on. Even though you have already located a neighbourhood, there might be things that you are willing to compromise on.

Once you have a shortlist of potential homes, it’s a good idea to have home inspections conducted. This will help you identify any potential issues with the home so that you can factor them into your decision.

Step 9: Making Offers

Making an offer on a home involves more than just the price. When it comes to making an offer on a home, talk to your real estate agent about how much you should offer and other details of the purchase agreement. There are often certain contingencies in place for closing, such as financing or inspection results, that can protect you from unexpected costs.

Putting a contingency in your offer is called making a conditional offer. Home inspections might also be conducted at this step.

Step 10: Closing Date

Once a seller has accepted your offer, you’re not done just yet! You will need to schedule a closing date for the sale with the seller. This is when you will officially get the keys to the home, but before then, a flurry of paperwork will need to be completed. This includes getting financing by getting approved for a mortgage, paying closing expenses, signing contracts, and other arrangements. Your real estate agent and real estate lawyer will guide you through this step.

Once all of the documents have been signed and funds are transferred, the keys to your new home will be handed over to you. You are now officially a homeowner in Toronto!

Toronto Neighbourhood Profiles and Statistics

Data: 2016 Census
toronto station
Union Station, Toronto
Ward 1 - Etobicoke North
Business Improvement Areas:
Albion Islington Square
Average Monthly Rent
$1,064
Etobicoke North
Median Household Income
$73,374
Etobicoke North
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
36.5
Etobicoke North
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 2 - Etobicoke Centre
Business Improvement Areas:
Village of Islington
Average Monthly Rent
$1,303
Etobicoke Centre
Median Household Income
$128,448
Etobicoke Centre
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
45.2
Etobicoke Centre
39.3
Toronto
Show More
ward image
Etobicoke
Ward 3 - Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Business Improvement Areas:
Lakeshore Village, Long Branch, Mimico, The Kingsway
Average Monthly Rent
$1,229
Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Median Household Income
$105,994
Etobicoke-Lakeshore
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
41.1
Etobicoke-Lakeshore
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 4 - Parkdale-High Park
Business Improvement Areas:
Baby Point Gates, Bloor by the Park, Bloor West Village,
Junction Gardens, Parkdale Village, Roncesvalles Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,174
Parkdale-High Park
Median Household Income
$99,784
Parkdale-High Park
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
38.4
Parkdale-High Park
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 5 - York South-Weston
Business Improvement Areas:
Eglinton Hill, Lawrence Ingram Keele, Mount Dennis, Rogers Road, Weston Village
Average Monthly Rent
$957
York South-Weston
Median Household Income
$67,954
York South-Weston
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
39.3
York South-Weston
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 6 - York Centre
Business Improvement Areas:
DUKE Heights, Wilson Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,177
York Centre
Median Household Income
$86,717
York Centre
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.8
York Centre
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 7 - Humber River-Black Creek
Business Improvement Areas:
DUKE Heights, Emery Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,011
Humber River-Black Creek
Median Household Income
$65,458
Humber River-Black Creek
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
36.3
Humber River-Black Creek
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 8 - Eglinton-Lawrence
Business Improvement Areas:
Fairbank Village, Marketo District, The Eglinton Way,
Upper Village, Uptown Yonge, Yonge Lawrence Village, York-Eglinton
Average Monthly Rent
$1,245
Eglinton-Lawrence
Median Household Income
$162,674
Eglinton-Lawrence
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40
Eglinton-Lawrence
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 9 - Davenport
Business Improvement Areas:
Bloorcourt Village, Bloordale Village, College Promenade, College West, Corso Italia, Dovercourt
Village, Fairbank Village, Hillcrest Village, Little Portugal on Dundas, Oakwood Village, Regal
Heights Village, Rogers Road, St. Clair Gardens, West Queen West
Average Monthly Rent
$1,226
Davenport
Median Household Income
$80,807
Davenport
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
36.7
Davenport
39.3
Toronto
Show More
ward image
Spadina Avenue
Ward 10 - Spadina-Fort York
Business Improvement Areas:
Chinatown, CityPlace and Fort York, Financial District, Liberty Village, Little Portugal on Dundas,
Ossington Avenue, Parkdale Village, Queen Street West, St. Lawrence Market, The Waterfront,
Toronto Downtown West, Trinity Bellwoods, West Queen West
Average Monthly Rent
$1,673
Spadina-Fort York
Median Household Income
$103,047
Spadina-Fort York
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
32.4
Spadina-Fort York
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 11 - University-Rosedale
Business Improvement Areas:
Bloor-Annex, Bloorcourt Village, Bloor Street, Bloor Yorkville, Chinatown, College Promenade,
Dovercourt Village, Downtown Yonge, Dupont by the Castle, Harbord Street, Kensington Market,
Korea Town, Little Italy, Little Portugal on Dundas, Mirvish Village, Rosedale Main Street, Trinity
Bellwoods, Yonge and St. Clair
Average Monthly Rent
$1,560
University-Rosedale
Median Household Income
$170,832
University-Rosedale
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
35.6
University-Rosedale
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 12 - Toronto-St. Paul’s
Business Improvement Areas:
Dupont by the Castle, Forest Hill Village, Hillcrest Village, Midtown-Yonge, Mount Pleasant,
Oakwood Village, Rosedale Main Street, The Eglinton Way, Upper Village, Uptown Yonge,
Wychwood Heights, Yonge and St. Clair, York-Eglinton
Average Monthly Rent
$1,384
Toronto-St. Paul’s
Median Household Income
$155,470
Toronto-St. Paul’s
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.2
Toronto-St. Paul’s
39.3
Toronto
Show More
ward image
Gooderham Building, Toronto
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
Business Improvement Areas:
Bloor Yorkville, Cabbagetown, Church Wellesley Village, Downtown Yonge,
Financial District, Riverside District, St. Lawrence Market
Average Monthly Rent
$1,214
Toronto Centre
Median Household Income
$75,382
Toronto Centre
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
35.3
Toronto Centre
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 14 - Toronto-Danforth
Business Improvement Areas:
Broadview Danforth, Danforth Mosaic, Gerrard India Bazaar,
Greektown on the Danforth, Leslieville, Pape Village, Riverside District
Average Monthly Rent
$1,123
Toronto-Danforth
Median Household Income
$101,323
Toronto-Danforth
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
39.8
Toronto-Danforth
39.3
Toronto
Show More
ward image
Don Valley Parkway
Ward 15 - Don Valley West
Business Improvement Areas:
Bayview Leaside, Mount Pleasant, Uptown Yonge, Yonge Lawrence Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,353
Don Valley West
Median Household Income
$216,158
Don Valley West
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.0
Don Valley West
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 16 - Don Valley East
Business Improvement Areas:
Wexford Heights
Average Monthly Rent
$1,205
Don Valley East
Median Household Income
$80,648
Don Valley East
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.9
Don Valley East
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 17 - Don Valley North
Business Improvement Areas:
None
Average Monthly Rent
$1,390
Don Valley North
Median Household Income
$87,491
Don Valley North
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
41.1
Don Valley North
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 18 - Willowdale
Business Improvement Areas:
Willowdale
Average Monthly Rent
$1,537
Willowdale
Median Household Income
$87,416
Willowdale
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
38.5
Willowdale
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 19 - Beaches-East York
Business Improvement Areas:
Danforth Mosaic, Danforth Village, The Beach Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,082
Beaches-East York
Median Household Income
$104,123
Beaches-East York
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.4
Beaches-East York
39.3
Toronto
Show More
ward image
Scarborough Bluffs
Ward 20 - Scarborough Southwest
Business Improvement Areas:
Crossroads of the Danforth
Average Monthly Rent
$936
Scarborough Southwest
Median Household Income
$78,561
Scarborough Southwest
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.6
Scarborough Southwest
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 21 - Scarborough Centre
Business Improvement Areas:
Kennedy Road, Wexford Heights
Average Monthly Rent
$1,067
Scarborough Centre
Median Household Income
$70,624
Scarborough Centre
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
39.8
Scarborough Centre
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 22 - Scarborough-Agincourt
Business Improvement Areas:
None
Average Monthly Rent
$1,103
Scarborough-Agincourt
Median Household Income
$75,768
Scarborough-Agincourt
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
44.4
Scarborough-Agincourt
39.3
Toronto
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Ward 23 - Scarborough North
Business Improvement Areas:
Sheppard East Village
Average Monthly Rent
$1,144
Scarborough North
Median Household Income
$78,984
Scarborough North
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
41.5
Scarborough North
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 24 - Scarborough-Guildwood
Business Improvement Areas:
None
Average Monthly Rent
$950
Scarborough-Guildwood
Median Household Income
$72,289
Scarborough-Guildwood
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
38.2
Scarborough-Guildwood
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Ward 25 - Scarborough-Rouge Park
Business Improvement Areas:
None
Average Monthly Rent
$1,097
Scarborough-Rouge Park
Median Household Income
$99,715
Scarborough-Rouge Park
$102,721
Toronto
Median Age
40.9
Scarborough-Rouge Park
39.3
Toronto
Show More
Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Canada CanadaLeaf
Mortgage Term:
Fixed
Variable
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