Save me from suburbia!
August 23, 2014 11:31 AM   Subscribe

So, our neighborhood has never been the awesomest in terms of violent crime and drug stuff (in Toronto, btw), and some sudden recent changes are about to make it even less awesome. We have little kids. We bought this house ten years ago as a "starter home we'll sell in two years" and just... never left. Now we'd like to leave. But where do we go?

Partner and I both work in industries that require access to downtown. Partner is leaning towards moving to, like, Pickering. I'll admit, the real estate prices (and the wide lots! and the bungalows! and the back yards!) are appealing... until you look at the walkability score, or google map what's nearby (hint: Tim Hortons). I do not want to be in a giant house that is far from everything.

I am leaning towards finding a walkable neighborhood in Toronto, not necessarily on a TTC line, but where one could conceivably get a taxi home after a show without breaking the bank. I want to prove to partner that we don't have to live in a dark hovel with no back yard to stay in the city. I've been suggesting that we fluff the heck out of our house, hire a realtor, and hope for one of those listings to come along that sells before it's really listed on Partner has convinced himself that there's nothing in Toronto that we can afford that will be a step up from our semi-detached 3 bedroom with back yard and new garage.

Our budget is $650k. Tell me where I should be looking. I want: a move-in ready detached house, to be able to see our friends sometimes (they live all over the GTA, mostly on subway lines), to be able to go gawk at the hipsters on Ossington Ave without it taking 90 minutes each way to get there (via TTC), to be able to walk to a park AND a cafe (ideally not a Coffee Time) within 15 minutes.
posted by lizifer to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"According to the board, the average price of a detached home in the Toronto hit $965,000 in April, a 13.2 per cent jump year-over-year in prices." My impression is that it will be wildly difficult for you to find a move-in ready detached house anywhere in Toronto for $650K.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:35 AM on August 23, 2014

Where do you live now? Are you certain that you want a detached, rather than semi-detached home? I have lived in both and truly noticed no difference.
posted by kate blank at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

We live near Dufferin and Eglinton. The neighbors we have in this semi-detached house fight incredibly loudly all. day. long. If we lived next to people who, say, played loud music at night, it would be a serious quality of life issue.
posted by lizifer at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2014

Christie Pits?
posted by alona at 12:18 PM on August 23, 2014

North York, almost sorta if you're drunk and squint hard enough? I mean, it's really REALLY suburban, but seems to tick some of your check-boxes. I can hardly claim to be really familiar with it since I mostly check out location-wise when I'm in the GTA and just let biscotti take care of things. But biscotti's late mum's house is very near Leslie and Cummer, and:

You can easily walk to Cummer Park, a community center, ravines for a nice schlep, etc.

You can easily walk to food and drink, but it will be Timmy's and Pickle Barrel and the like. Easy drive over to Yonge & Sheppard area for better stuff.

I suppose you could walk to the Old Cummer (why are we not still doing phrasing?) GO station, and it's a short drive to the Leslie station on the Sheppard line.

Detached houses similar to hers, maybe a bit smaller, seem to be selling in the $6/7 range. Probably that would get you a house where everything is more or less functional and liveable but pretty damn outdated (ie kitchens straight from 1974). It's now a heavily Chinese area if that matters to you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:28 PM on August 23, 2014

I guess I should narrow my scope a bit... I'm asking for the secret "cool" pockets in areas a little east of the city like Kingston Rd heading toward Scarborough (and now, having spoken to my partner, it looks like a semi is definitely an option as long as it's not 13 feet wide like our current place).
posted by lizifer at 12:38 PM on August 23, 2014

East York has a number of lovely pockets, most reasonable close to the Danforth subway line, and walkable to pubs, shops etc. The area is gentrifying.

There is a huge trend of people buying and adding a second story to war time bungalows, and lots of other creative renos turning formerly 2 bedroom or small 3 bedroom into large spaces- might be worth considering. Obviously lot sizes are not as big as in the burbs, but you get all the advantages of not having to live in the burbs.

Cabbing from downtown is doable.

Greater value the further east your go (Beaches aside).

Best of luck!
posted by walkinginsunshine at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2014

I would move like five blocks east. No kidding. We live not too far away from you (whereabouts Dufferin and Eglinton are you?) but this is a neighborhood where one block east or west really makes a difference. If you're west of Dufferin move east of Dufferin, if you're west of Oakwood move east of Oakwood. I really don't think there's a better "affordable" area in Toronto today. It's on the subway line ( less than 15 minutes from downtown), has good bus service ( less than 15min from the ossington strip), near the highway, great parks for walking and cycling (Cedarvale and the Kay Gardner rail trail) and some good restaurant and family friendly fun on St. Clair and going towards Bathurst on Eglinton. Lots of young families moving in, good community feeling IRL and with groups in social media...and the sense that it's going to get even better once the crosstown LRT is completed. We have friends in the Kingston Rd/Vic Park area. And it is nice there, especially the one strip around Scarborough Road and from what I see it has a lot of the community feeling but holy cow does it ever feel deep in the east end and Vic Park & Danforth and Main & Danforth at night isn't any safer feeling or more problem-free than the Vaughan/Oakwood intersection.

TL/DR: I think you're already living in pretty much the best "affordable" area of Toronto. If you can manage it, move eastward and northward in the pocket toward Cedarvale.
posted by dismitree at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

My friends bought a place at Main and Danforth in March for just under $600k. Semi-detached, 3 br, 2 bath. Residential street, 5 min walk to Main station. They both work downtown. I'd look in that area.
posted by foxjacket at 1:16 PM on August 23, 2014

South of Kingston from Victoria Park out to Brimley is pretty decent value. There are a couple of pockets that aren't great but with your budget you could get a small detached house on a pretty decent lot. Not a terrible bike ride to either the GO or TTC and you'll get access to the lake.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2014

I guess we're neighbours lizifer and dismitree.

I have to second most of dismitree's advice. You're already in the best "affordable" area of Toronto. Moving closer to Cedarvale is worth considering. Also south towards St. Clair. Would a detached house in this area meet your needs?

If this is about the shelter I doubt the impact will be significant.
posted by samhyland at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

The noise between attached houses is entirely dependent on what the walls are made of between the houses. My last place was a row house that was brick on one side, and, as far as I could tell, drywall and insulation on the other. I never heard a thing through the brick wall, but heard everything through the drywall. So, if you know a bit about the construction of the house, you can save some cost by getting a semi-detached. My current house is semi-detached, but with brick between the houses and is wonderfully quiet.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:48 PM on August 23, 2014

I'd look around Pharmacy & Danforth, or Birchmount & Danforth. Warden & Lawrence has the best food ever, anywhere. Kennedy Park (where we live) is still pretty cheap, but is a bit thin in the non-Tim's café department. Lots of parks and transit, tho'.
posted by scruss at 4:23 PM on August 23, 2014

We're in Guildwood and while there are not awesome cafés etc. the trails and parks for walking are gorgeous. 27 min GO train to downtown. (Sadly I work at Yonge and Sheppard).
posted by warriorqueen at 4:37 PM on August 23, 2014

Seconding East York, probably around the Pape/Mortimer area.

Some pockets of Riverdale and Leaside are still (relatively) cheap.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:34 AM on August 24, 2014

East York is probably your best bet: it's on the subway line which is nice. How much are houses at Oakwood and St. Claire (Corsa Italia). That's probably a nicer place to be, but I suspect prices have gone up. My neighbourhood is great (Blansdowne), but again I think prices have gone up here too. The city is a suck in this regard.
posted by chunking express at 7:25 PM on August 26, 2014

« Older Imax motion sickness?   |   Paragard, please let me love you. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.