Condos For Sale

Affordable condo listings from Brampton, Mississauga, and Toronto

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Finding A Condo Made Just For You

Like any other big investment, buying a condo in the Greater Toronto Area involves extensive planning. The more education and planning goes into it, the less surprises and the smoother the buying process can be for you. 

  1. Understanding the Market

In the last couple years, the Greater Toronto Area real estate market has seen major fluctuations. We saw condo prices reach their highest peak, after which they started declining gradually. As of 2023, the average condo price in Toronto is around CAD 715,000. Condos in central Toronto cost higher prices due to their close proximity to business districts and entertainment venues. 

In contrast, areas like Brampton and Mississauga offer more affordable options. It monitors market trends closely as it affects both the availability and value of properties. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board provides monthly market reports which gives you insights into price trends, sales volumes, and inventory levels.  

  1. Choosing the Right Location

Location is a key factor in condo living as they are designed to add to your convenience and comfort. In the GTA, each area offers a unique living experience. Downtown Toronto offers a vibrant urban lifestyle, close to work, nightlife, and cultural attractions. On the other hand, for families or those looking for quieter surroundings with good schools, suburbs like Mississauga or Scarborough are attractive. 

Consider your daily commute, access to public transportation, and proximity to essential services like grocery stores, schools, and hospitals. Also, think about the neighbourhood’s future development plans, as these can affect both your lifestyle and the long-term value of your investment.

  1. Budgeting Wisely

Most first home buyers ignore the maintenance and closing costs when making their purchase plans. Maintenance fees are a significant monthly expense, typically ranging from CAD 0.50 to CAD 1.00 per square foot. These fees cover building upkeep, amenities, and sometimes utilities. Another yearly expense to factor in are property taxes, which vary by municipality, and insurance costs. 

It’s also wise to set aside funds for unexpected repairs or increases in monthly fees. A realistic budget should include these ongoing costs to ensure you can comfortably afford your new home in the long term.

  1. Securing Financing

Obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage is the most important part of the buying process. It not only defines your budget but also demonstrates to sellers that you are a serious buyer. 

Shop around for the best mortgage rates and terms. Banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers offer different options. Consider fixed versus variable rates and the length of the mortgage term. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Read the terms and conditions closely and don’t jump at the first low rate mortgage you find. 

Understand the mortgage qualification criteria, including your credit score, income stability, and debt-to-income ratio, as these will impact your borrowing capacity. If interest rates were to rise, would you be able to cover the monthly increases? If your answer is no, then you need to save more money as a backup plan.

  1. Working with a Realtor

A realtor with expertise in the GTA market, especially in the neighbourhood you’re interested in, can be a valuable asset. From finding condos that match your criteria to advising on fair market prices, an experienced realtor is all you need. 

On the other hand, realtors also assist with negotiations, understand the legalities and paperwork involved in a condo purchase, and how much the condo price will appreciate in the future. 

  1. New vs. Resale Condos

Choosing one or the other, comes down to your preferences and priorities. While new condos offer modern amenities, customization options, and the appeal of being the first occupant, they are smaller in size and need you to pay additional costs like HST and may require a wait time before moving in. 

Resale condos are bigger in size and well-surrounded by everyday amenities but don’t provide as many indoor amenities like concierge, swimming pool, rooftop gardens, and party spaces. They might also require more maintenance and have higher fees.

  1. Reviewing Condo Documents

The condo document provides information about the condo corporation’s financial health, including the reserve fund, any outstanding or anticipated legal issues, and the rules and regulations of the condo. Having a healthy reserve fund is a must as it covers major repairs without imposing significant extra costs on residents. Review these documents with a real estate lawyer experienced in real estate to avoid financial or legal troubles afterwards.

  1. Thinking Long-Term

Consider your long-term goals and how the condo fits into them. Is it likely to appreciate in value? What are the area’s development plans, and how might they affect your lifestyle and the property’s value? A condo in a rapidly developing area might offer a good return on investment but also come with construction noise and disruption. 

Conversely, a more established area might offer stability but less growth potential, fitting a family of young professionals better. Think about how long you plan to live in the condo and whether it can adapt to your changing needs over time. 

Average Condo Prices
in GTA

$657,459

1 bed

$687,905

2 bed

$862,975

3 bed

Closing Costs To Expect

When purchasing a condo in the Greater Toronto Area, keep funds aside, which typically range from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price for closing costs. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Land Transfer Tax

In Toronto, buyers pay both the Ontario Land Transfer Tax and the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. For a $600,000 condo, the Ontario tax is approximately $8,475, and the Toronto tax is an additional $8,475. However, other GTA cities only require the Ontario tax.

  1. Lawyer Fees

Expect to pay around $1,500 to $2,500 for legal services, including title search, drafting the deed, and other legal requirements.

  1. Mortgage Insurance

If your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll need mortgage insurance, costing 0.6% to 4.5% of the mortgage amount.

  1. Home Inspection/Appraisal Fee

It can range from $300 to $500, often required by lenders and also brings up any issues with the condo that the seller didn’t report. 

  1. Title Insurance

Generally around $300 to $500, this protects against title defects.

  1. Adjustments

These are prorated payments for prepaid expenses by the seller, like property taxes or maintenance fees.

Rebates for First-Time Buyers

First-time buyers in Toronto can receive a rebate of up to $4,475 on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and up to $4,000 on the Ontario Land Transfer Tax, effectively reducing or eliminating these costs for many first-time buyers.

Remember, these are estimates, and actual costs can vary. Always budget accordingly to ensure a smooth condo purchase.

Catherine Nacar's Photo

Working With Realtor Catherine Nacar

Catherine Nacar Realtor is a licensed real estate agent in Canada with a creative approach, finding the best deals for you in GTA. An award-winning realtor based in Brampton, she has helped several clients including first-time home buyers, investors, and sellers purchase condos across GTA.

Prior to becoming a real estate agent, she had an extensive career in legal administration. She possesses excellent analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills that’ll help you negotiate the best real estate deal. Got questions? Give Catherine a call right away!

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

By the end of 2023, we saw the real estate condo market become a buyer’s market, like it was back in 2020. Interest rates have stabilised with the hope of them reducing by summer. Considering both these factors, 2024 summer and fall seem like the best time to buy a condo in Toronto and other surrounding cities including Mississauga and Brampton. It is worth starting your research right away and waiting for the right buying opportunity to come by. 

In the Greater Toronto Area, the minimum down payment for a condo typically starts at 5% for the first $500,000 of the purchase price and 10% for any amount above that. For example, on a $600,000 condo, you’d pay 5% ($25,000) on the first $500,000 and 10% ($10,000) on the remaining $100,000, totaling a $35,000 down payment. Remember, a down payment under 20% requires purchasing mortgage loan insurance, adding to the overall cost. For all other condo buyers, a minimum 20% down payment is mandatory. 

Condo fees in the Greater Toronto Area typically increase by about 2% to 5% annually for a well-managed condominium. Factors like inflation, the age of the building, and the cost of maintaining amenities and common areas cause this raise. Condo buyers should consider these potential increases when budgeting for their future expenses. 

Condo fees are tax deductible only if you earn a rental income from it. If it is your primary residence, you may be able to deduct some if you work from home or operate a business from home. Speak to your CPA for accurate information.

Yes, obtaining condo insurance is essential when purchasing a condo. While your condo corporation’s insurance covers the building and common areas, it does not protect the contents of your unit or personal liability. Condo insurance covers your personal belongings, interior improvements, and provides liability coverage in case someone is injured in your unit. It also offers protection against potential costs not covered by the condo corporation’s policy. It also offers peace of mind and protects your biggest investment. 

Let Catherine Nacar assist you throughout the whole process.

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