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Do houses cost way more in Toronto than in U.S. cities?

The list aficionados at Business Insider recently published a roundup of the 15 most expensive American cities for home buyers—and naturally we had to wedge Toronto in to see how it measures up. The American list is based on the median home prices of the third quarter of 2011, so we dug up the median Toronto home price in September 2011, which was $399,450 (or about $389,000 in U.S. dollars)—a figure that would easily crack the American top 10. Toronto would land between the Suffolk-Nassau region of New York at number eight with a median home price of $378,000 (U.S.) and seventh-ranked Bridgeport, Connecticut, at $390,000 (U.S.). And though Torontonians have made a sport of comparing the city to New York, the Big Apple’s prices are still way out of reach at number 2 with a $450,000 median price. (In case you were wondering, San Francisco netted the number one spot.) [Business Insider]

(Images: Flag, amber.kennedy; Toronto, elPadawan)

  • Garth Thoms

    Last time I checked Toronto avg house price was over 500,000
    so suggest you update your stats.

    lol garth

  • Brian

    Garth, the article talks MEDIAN prices, not AVERAGES, which realtors in Canada use to pump up prices. AVEREAGE prices in US cities like NYC and NYC would be way way higher than Torontos without a doubt. Only in Canada are averages use, which are misleading.

  • Carl

    Two comments. “Toronto” is a big place – if you are including numbers from Brampton and Ajax, you are likely biasing your median for Toronto prices down. Try using median figures for downtown Toronto or the City of Tronto proper and I’m sure it would look more competitive with New York.

    Second, Toronto is hardly Canada’s most expensive city. Try using Vancouver in this comparison. I’m willing to bet it will at least be one of five most expensive cities in North American. Not sure this is much of compliment considering that incomes in Vancouver are hardly in the top five for North America like NYC.

  • David

    Carl

    This is the web-site for TORONTO Life. Check the Vancouver Life site to see if they did their own comparison.

    Downtown Toronto prices to Downtown NY prices would show a similar discrepancy to GTA vs GNYA, possibly more.

  • Zoe

    Where does Vancouver fall?

  • lawgirlnyc

    Carl, “‘Toronto’ is a big place” – as is “New York” which includes 5 boroughs and intense stratification even within boroughs. An apartment on the Upper East Side will cost multiples of what the same apartment on the UPPER Upper East Side (Harlem) would cost; same for trendy areas of Brookly – Park Slope (families) or Williamsburg (hipsters) versus Bedford Stuyvesant, and don’t even get me started on what Staten Island does to the median.

    Second, I’ve lived in Toronto, it can’t compete with NYC on any level.

  • Toronto is not GTA

    Carl: Ajax, Brampton, or any of the other surrounding suburbs are NOT in Toronto. You’re thinking of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Why do people have such a hard time understanding the distinction?

  • Kevin

    The $399,450 is the medium price of GTA, not Toronto proper. The jounalist does not do a good job of reporting the details. The average price of GTA is already over $500,000. So a more ‘apple’ to ‘big apple’ comparison should be GTA to GNYA, or Toronto proper to NYC, or old Toronto (before amalgamation) to Manhattan. Manhattan property is still easily 2 if not 3 times more expensive than Toronto.

  • Tommy Crown

    What this comparison fails to mention is the “price-to-income” ratio difference between Canada and the US. American salaries in the cities mentioned by the author are much higher and in line with global trends than Toronto, making a $500,000 a lot more affordable. Canadian income is lagging way behind.

    As reported by the IMF, American “house price-to-income” ratio is 0.80, whereas Canada’s is 1.40. Enough said.

  • Robert

    The median sale price for a home at the end of Q3 2011 was $410,000 as reported in the October Market Watch report published by the Toronto Real Estate Board. That is for TORONTO only (not GTA). The average price was $522,606.

    At the exchange rate of the time that would equate to $390,346. This would put us ahead of Bridgeport.

    Regardless of the few dollars difference, the point is the same. Toronto is realtively cheap in comparison to major metropolitan cities like NY which is why more and more foreign money comes here. The Bank of Canada is saving the Canadians from becoming bankrupt by edging us out of the market with their policies but sadly most foreign money doesn’t need protecting.

    Let’s hope we don’t become a country inhabited by Canadians but owned by non-Canadians.

  • AG

    You cannot compare prices in Toronto at 70% ownership with NYC at 24% ownership. That’s absurd. In NYC only the richest 30% of households even think of buying. In Toronto, nearly every household is trying to buy. Huge difference.

  • Sigma Sum

    How about Vancouver Canada. Number 4 after San Fran, LA, and New York. If I moved from Vancouver to Toronto I could buy two houses! Toronto, you ain’t got nothin’ on Vancouver.

  • Ron

    When you say Toronto is cheap or cheaper than cities like New York, that may be all right if you are moving from that more expensive market to Toronto.

    However, tell that to most Canadians who are moving from a less expensive market to Toronto for business or family reasons. To illustrate this, I live in Edmonton, a less expensive market than Toronto for sure. I “was” planning to sell here and move to Toronto to be closer to family. I have been following the housing market there for the past 18 months. Just within the past year the house and condo prices have jumped 10%, while in Edmonton they are still recovering from the 2008 downturn, even though the city and province’s economy is strong.

    I’m originally from Toronto. I was born there, educated there but moved west. Having been back there regularly to visit family and friends, i must sadly say, its somewhat overrated. Traffic, crime, weather, and increasingly, the less friendliness of strangers has become more apparent. Let’s not even talk about the professional sports teams, where I was a long time supporter of the Argos, Leafs and Blue jays.

    I think I’m staying put in Western canada.

  • Mike

    I would suggest that affordability would be a more interesting metric than absolute price, no matter if using median or average. I suspect it wouldn’t take long to discover that there are far more high wage earners and high paying jobs in NYC than TO which would make the prices more relevant. And then Toronto could claim a higher place in the ranks! (Somewhat of a dubious honour.)

  • Nel Patel

    Overheatting has always some cooling effect, market itself will react on that & I guess we have to wait and see the ‘W’ curve in both economy because in the rest globe slowing yet to begin e.g. china, other asia or not satisfactory recoveries in slowdown like Europ e.g. Spain,greece etc.
    Climbing on any rocketing markets are always a risk,it’s better to wait for corrections.Corrections in any markets are nothing but the market’s self adjustment mechanism and has no body can control collapsing including Governments e.g. in U.S. It is wise for The Govt to help after the market’s self cooling effects.

  • Nel Patel

    you can join me at Linked in

  • John

    Canadian houses are one fourth the price of American houses. The gap is closing because of America’s real estate bubble bursting. Average house price in New York or Beverly Hills, CA is well over 4 million dollars. Manhattan is 2.9 million. Where is that 450,000 figure from? That is absolutely laughable. Canadians make a fifth of the income that Americans make. Under normal circumstances the US dollar is at least 50 percent more.

 

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