Saving for a Condo Down Payment in Toronto? Here’s How Long It Would Take If You Didn’t Need to Pay Rent


It’s no secret that the cost of renting has been on the rise in the City of Toronto. Stubbornly low vacancy rates – just 1.1% for all rentals in the city, and a scant 0.7% for condo apartment rentals specifically – have put upward pressure on average rents as tenant demand steadily grows.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Rental Report, the average one-bedroom condo apartment rental unit in the city fetched $2,262 per month – an increase of 4.5% – in the third quarter of 2019, while the cost of a two-bedroom rose 4.2% to an average of $2,941.

Rising Rents A Persistent Issue For Toronto Home Seekers

This eroding affordability in the rental marketplace has put considerable pressure on home seekers; after media reports of doubling rents in 2017, the former Ontario government put rent controls in place that limit annual lease renewal increases in buildings built prior to November 15, 2018, to the rate set by the province (under the current provincial regime, all rentals created after this date are exempt from the cap). 

As well, a recent survey conducted by Zoocasa found renters were most likely to report negative sentiments around rising home costs, with 76% saying they had negatively impacted their mental health at least once in the past year.

The Cost of Renting Compared to Condo Ownership Across Toronto

But how do rent costs compare to those of homeownership across the City of Toronto? To find out, Zoocasa compared average condo apartment lease rates with sold prices for Toronto condos in 35 neighbourhoods within the 416. The study calculated the minimum down payment required to purchase the average condo unit in each neighbourhood, as well as the number of months of rent that would be equivalent to the down payment amount. Average condo apartment sold prices and monthly lease rates for Q3 2019 were sourced from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The findings reveal where in the city it would take the least and most amount of time to save for the required condo down payment if prospective home buyers had no other shelter costs – a potential scenario for the 47.4% of young adults who dwell within the family home in Toronto.

As well, the numbers highlight the average minimum financial commitment necessary to enter the housing market in each neighbourhood, as well as the average cost of renting. In some neighbourhoods, where rent is particularly expensive, the findings underscore how rental costs may pose as a hurdle to potential homeownership. For example, for the City of Toronto as a whole, an average renter would need to save the equivalent of 14.7 months of rent to come up with the minimum $37,807 down payment necessary to purchase the average condo apartment unit priced at $628,074.

However, there is good news for those looking to move into the homeownership market – according to the study, there are 13 Toronto neighbourhoods where it would be possible to save for the necessary minimum condo down payment within 12 months if no rent is paid during that time period. These most affordable pockets are largely located in both the eastern and western edges of the city and away from the core, including neighbourhoods such as West Hill, Centennial Scarborough, Malvern, Rouge, Black Creek, and Rexdale.

In a total of 19, it would take between 13 – 24 months, while the timeline exceeds 25 months in three neighbourhoods. The priciest neighbourhoods are mostly clustered around midtown, including North York condos, as well as in the south of the city, such as condos for sale in downtown Toronto. These neighbourhoods, such as Rosedale-Moore Park, Yorkville, and York Mills, all have many walkable amenities nearby, along with close access to major highway arteries and public transit.

Check out the infographic below to see how months of rent compare to minimum down payment amounts in neighbourhoods across the City of Toronto:

5 Toronto Neighbourhoods Where the Down Payment Savings Timeline is Shortest

  • 1 – West Hill, Centennial Scarborough
  • Average Condo Price: $325,223
  • Minimum Down Payment: $16,261
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,100
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 7.7
  • 2 – Malvern, Rouge
  • Average Condo Price: $372,163
  • Minimum Down Payment: $18,608
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,161
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 8.6
  • 3 – Willowridge-Martingrove-Richview
  • Average Condo Price: $429,451
  • Minimum Down Payment: $21,473
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,343
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 9.2
  • 4 – Rexdale-Kipling, West Humber-Clairville
  • Average Condo Price: $387,794
  • Minimum Down Payment: $19,390
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,045
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 9.5
  • 5 – Black Creek, York University Heights
  • Average Condo Price: $407,395
  • Minimum Down Payment: $20,370
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,131
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 9.6

5 Toronto Neighbourhoods Where the Down Payment Savings Timeline is Longest

  • 1 – Yorkville, Annex, Summerhill
  • Average Condo Price: $1,193,506
  • Minimum Down Payment: $238,701
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $3,212
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 74.3
  • 2 – Rosedale, Moore Park
  • Average Condo Price: $1,107,117
  • Minimum Down Payment: $221,423
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $3,309
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 66.9
  • 3 – Forest Hill, Oakwood Village
  • Average Condo Price: $961,755
  • Minimum Down Payment: $71,176
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,697
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 26.4
  • 4 – York Mills, Bridle Path, Hoggs Hollow
  • Average Condo Price: $910,883
  • Minimum Down Payment: $66,088
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,896
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 22.8
  • 5 – Stonegate-Queensway
  • Average Condo Price: $782,350
  • Minimum Down Payment: $53,235
  • Average Monthly Lease Rate: $2,379
  • # of Rent-Free Months to Save Down Payment: 22.4

Methodology

Average condo apartment sold prices and monthly lease rates for Q3 2019 were sourced from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Calculation of the minimum down payment required:

  • Home purchase price is $500,000 or less: 5% of the purchase price
  • Home purchase price is $500,000 to $999,999: 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price, plus 10% for the portion of the purchase price above $500,000
  • Home purchase price is $1 million or more: 20% of the purchase price

About Zoocasa

Zoocasa is a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at zoocasa.com or download our free iOS app.

For more information about this report or to set up a media interview, please email [email protected]

About Penelope Graham

Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor at Zoocasa, and has over a decade of experience covering real estate, mortgage, and personal finance topics. Her commentary on the housing market is frequently featured on both national and local media outlets including BNN Bloomberg, CBC, The Toronto Star, National Post, and The Huffington Post. When not keeping an eye on Toronto's hot housing market, she can be found brunching in one of the city's many vibrant neighbourhoods, travelling abroad, or in the dance studio.