Scarborough has long been a popular alternative to downtown Toronto living. Located to the east of Toronto proper, Scarborough has a multicultural population of 625,698 and is known as one of the most diverse parts of the Greater Toronto Area.
In the past, homebuyers turned to Scarborough real estate for its affordable housing options and gorgeous green space. The area boasts some natural landmarks like the Scarborough Bluffs and Rouge Park and more than earns its reputation as one of the greenest areas of Toronto.
The city is also well served by two major highways making the commute to downtown tolerable, which has contributed to the real estate boom this area has been experiencing. Scarborough has gone through one of the steepest price appreciations of anywhere in Toronto, with single detached homes in the area rising to an average price of $625,000 – a 44% increase since 2012 and a 25% increase in the past year alone.
But even as prices soar, there are still affordable pockets in Scarborough. Formerly run-down areas are becoming popular destinations for young Canadians to set down roots, and these neighbourhoods are undergoing a transformation. Here are several neighbourhoods that are still affordable in Scarborough.
With an average property price of just $282,954, Malvern should be high on your list of affordable neighbourhoods in Scarborough. Though previously considered a high-crime area, Malvern is in the midst of an upswing and saw an increase in single-detached home prices of 19.2% last year.
The steep increase in real estate prices isn’t just spillover from the Toronto core. Several important additions to the neighbourhood have gone a long way to improve Malvern. In particular, the renovation of the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Library and the opening of the Nike Malvern Spots Complex. Several new housing developments have also sprung up offering affordable Scarborough townhouses, and the area’s proximity to the Toronto Zoo, Rouge River, and the Rouge Valley Park make it a desirable place to put down roots at an affordable price.
Malvern is considered one of the more diverse neighbourhoods in Scarborough, and over 60 cultural communities call it home. This diversity makes Malvern a great option for newcomers to Canada, and the excellent schools and a variety of amenities mean you can’t go wrong settling down here.
Another neighbourhood where home prices remain consistently below the city average is West Hill. Here you’ll find a pleasant mix of affordable older condos, townhouses and, closer to the more affluent neighbourhood of Rouge, spacious two-bedroom bungalows on large lots. The average price in West Hill is $293,178.
West Hill has a unique mix of amenities that make it attractive to homebuyers looking for an established neighbourhood. The housing stock is mature, the commercial establishments lean more towards mom and pop stores instead of fast food restaurants, and parkland borders the entire area including Morningside Park, Colonel Danforth Park, and East Point Park.
The area also has many options for recreational activities like the nearby Morningside Branch of the Toronto Public Library, along with sporting facilities at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, and the Toronto Zoo.
Like much of Scarborough, West Hill is a multicultural neighbourhood with a variety of Greek, Canadian Chinese, Caribbean and Middle Eastern residents. The area is also well served by amenities including pharmacies, doctor’s offices, lawyers, and dentists.
Finally, West Hill offers convenient connections to the Rouge Hill Go Train and Kennedy Station on the Bloor-Danforth Subway line which makes commuting downtown easy.
Clairlea-Birchmount is a quiet, middle-income neighbourhood with an average home price of $326,401. Although this is more expensive than the other two neighbourhoods, you can still find affordable pockets of single-detached homes on tree-lined streets, often owned by the same residents for the past six decades, and featuring charming mature details like original hardwood floors. These homes are in high demand, with one such home selling for $610,775 just last year. But if you are a diligent homebuyer, you can still find a deal.
In keeping with the green theme of the rest of Scarborough, Warden Woods forms the southeast border of Clairlea-Birchmount. This richly wooded ravine has a paved trail ideal for walking and biking in the summertime.
You can find shopping and restaurants on Victoria Park, Eglington Avenue, and Warden Avenue. For commuters, the Don Valley Parkway and Warden Station offer a variety of options.