10.31.2006

hunt

It's amazing how much housing is available in the GTA, both to rent and to buy. In New York, 30 people are fighting for every available space. Every move comes with two questions: what's the rent, and how'd you find it. I was never in this position myself, but people routinely resort to deceit, bribery and subterfuge to find a place to live.

Here, it's a buyer's - or renter's - market. I also don't think the rents are bad at all, contrary to popular belief. If you don't have to live in the hippest neighbourhood, there are plenty of decently priced places. (Obviously, that's if you have a decent job. Public housing for people without is still needed.)

We're seeing five houses today - one in the Mimico section of Etobicoke, one in the Beaches, two in the Guildwood section of Scarborough, and one in Mississauga. For non-Torontonians, Etobicoke and Scarborough were once separate suburbs, but are now technically part of Toronto - Etobicoke is the west end and Scarborough is the east end. The Beaches is a really nice neighbourhood right in the city, and a popular tourist destination, similar in that respect to Port Credit (where we live now).

We've never been to Scarborough, but are looking there on a tip from the ever-reliable James, along with some other friends of wmtc and some co-workers. There are many rental houses there in our price range. We'll check out the neighbourhood at the same time as we're seeing the two places.

Allan thinks I should post photos of all the houses we see, with the pros and cons of each, and you all can vote on where you think we should move. It might be fun. And, in the spirit of our native country, your votes will be counted only as we see fit.

16 comments:

Ferdzy said...

Well, you know the U.S. is having a major real-estate melt-down at the moment. Toronto is still in denial, but it's coming there too.

There has been so much condo-building in the last 5 years or so that the rental vacancy rate has gone from under 1% ten years ago to around 4% last year. And yes, that makes life much, much, easier for tenants. I actually think that rents (higher-end rents in particular) will be coming down over the next few years as there continues to be a fair bit of supply relative to the demand. You are maybe a teeny bit premature in looking for a house to rent: I suspect that next year there will be a glut of them. But still, things are not like they were!

So get out there and hunt with confidence! You are indeed in a good hunting position.

L-girl said...

I had a feeling you would say that. :)

We found the exact same thing when we were first looking for a place to live, in the spring of 2005.

We didn't have as much flexibility, because we were in New York and couldn't just pop in to see a place whenever we wanted. But when we'd come up to scout out neighbourhoods, there were plenty of good places at rents I consider reasonable. (Emphasis on "I consider" - perspective is everything when it comes to that.)

Ferdzy said...

Yes, I'm very predic... uh, reliable. :)

Scott M. said...

Whoo hoo! I'm looking forward to the voting!

Jenjenjigglepants said...

Hi L-girl,

Good luck with the house hunting. I'm very interested in what you find as T.O. is on our list of places to head to after graduation (for me) and for residency (for my partner).

Ferdzy, your comment is like music to me considering the above-mentioned move and that our other city choices are Calgary and Vancouver (who's Olympic fever will offset the drop in rents, but whatever--lifestyle wise, Vancouver wins). Also, our TO preferences are a little more central than L-girl & Allan's, Roncesvalles especially.

Looking forward to voting, but you'll have to describe the ever-important "unseeables": the smell, noise etc. Those are usually my make-or-break factors.

Cheers, Jen

James said...

There has been so much condo-building in the last 5 years or so...

Longer than that, even. I moved to Toronto about 10 years ago, just as the first loft-style condos were going in (places like the Merchandise Lofts near the Eaton Centre, or the Candy Factory on Queen West), and the building hasn't stopped since. I've heard tell that it all started with Barbara Hall's "live/work zoning" initiative for downtown, which led to Toronto being the largest city in North America with a net influx of residence in the core.

From where I'm sitting (4th floor, Spadina north of Queen, looking south) I can see eleven condo/apartment towers and two or three more being built. If I were to get up and walk to the window, I'm sure I could see far more.

James said...

Looking forward to voting, but you'll have to describe the ever-important "unseeables": the smell, noise etc. Those are usually my make-or-break factors.

The Beaches have two big negatives:

- During summer weekends, the place can get unnavigable. With all the weekend festivals, especially the Jazz fest, Queen East through the Beaches comes to a near standstill. However, you can avoid this by living closer to Kingston Road, up at the top of the hill. Of course, that means that if you go for an evening walk on the beach, you have a steep climb at the end...

- Proximity to Ashbridge's Bay sewage plant. When the wind is from the west, the smell can get quite strong. Though, again, it's better the further north of Queen you go.

mkk said...

That really cracks me up...wmtc readers voting for where you and Allan should live! :-) Just like reality TV.

Here's my vote: you should live exactly where you want to live. End of story.

Scott M. said...

I think they're being kicked out of that place...

doug said...

yes there is a lot of housing in Toronto, better then apartment hunting actually...

I live in the Beaches and in my 6 years here have never smelled the Ashbridges sewage plant, in facrt it was closed and retor-fitted a few years ago with emission devices...as there is a pretty diligent group in the community that monitors the plant closely...

gito said...

It would be nice to see the houses! I think is an awesome idea!!

scylla said...

Parts of Scarborough are a bit dodgy; I'd be a little careful of moving there.

Scott M. said...

You're right, but Scarborough is a very large town and has a lot of nice areas as well.

L-girl said...

Parts of everything are a bit dodgy. Mississauga, Toronto and Etobicoke all have some run-down neighbourhoods.

James said...

I live in the Beaches and in my 6 years here have never smelled the Ashbridges sewage plant

I've caught a whiff a few times while on the beach -- I don't know if it gets north of Queen St.

It's not as bad as the slaughterhouses in Junction Village used to be, anyway.

L-girl said...

It's not as bad as the slaughterhouses in Junction Village used to be, anyway.

My father used to tell a story about some dump of an apt he and my mother briefly lived in, in the early days of their marriage, when he was an itinerant union organizer.

It was in Seacaucus, NJ, where the cheap flats were downwind of the slaughterhouse. In the sweltering heat of summer, you could either bake with the windows closed or bake slightly less but choke on the stench with the windows open.