Deciding where to lay down roots is a monumental decision, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, where the cost of living can be as diverse as the landscape itself. From the bustling streets of Toronto to the serene waterfronts of Mississauga, each city offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication.
But when it comes to condo living, how do these two cities stack up in terms of costs, amenities, and overall quality of life? This guide by an experienced GTA realtor aims to answer that question, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Living in Toronto
Toronto, the capital city of Ontario, is not just a bustling metropolis but also a hub of economic activity and cultural diversity. The city’s infrastructure is top-notch, with an extensive public transit system that includes subways, buses, and streetcars, making it highly accessible.
Employment opportunities are abundant, particularly in sectors like finance, technology, education, and healthcare. The city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and numerous multinational companies. Recent infrastructure developments, such as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, aim to make the city even more accessible.
- Parks: Toronto is a green city, boasting over 1,500 parks. High Park, the largest in Toronto, spans 400 acres and offers hiking trails, a zoo, and multiple children’s playgrounds.
- Waterfront: The Toronto Islands offer a peaceful escape from city life, with beaches, bike rentals, and picnic areas. You’ll also get to enjoy events and festivals year round.
High Living Costs
- Housing: The Toronto condo market is competitive, with the average price hovering around $600,000. In prime locations, like Forest Hill and The Annex, this can escalate to well over a million.
- Taxes: Property taxes in Toronto can be a significant expense, often exceeding $3,000 annually for a typical condo. The city also imposes a Municipal Land Transfer Tax on property purchases, so you’ll be paying double in land transfer tax compared to Mississauga.
Living in Mississauga
Mississauga, located to the west of Toronto, offers a different but equally promising lifestyle. Known for its suburban comfort, the city is also making significant strides in infrastructure and urban development. The upcoming Hurontario LRT is expected to boost local transit substantially.
Employment opportunities are diverse, with a focus on sectors like logistics, information technology, and pharmaceuticals. Companies like Microsoft and Walmart have significant operations here. While it offers a quieter, more family-friendly environment, Mississauga is rapidly growing, both in terms of population and job opportunities, making it a compelling choice for many.
- Lake Ontario: The city’s southern edge is adorned by Lake Ontario, providing numerous recreational opportunities like sailing, kayaking, and fishing.
- Parks: Mississauga is home to over 480 parks, including the expansive Jack Darling Memorial Park which offers picnic areas, a splash pad, and a dog park.
Moderate Living Costs
- Housing: The average condo price in Mississauga is around $450,000, offering a more affordable entry point into the property market. While having a personal vehicle is not a necessity in Toronto, it becomes a need in Mississauga as the city is spread apart and public transit isn’t the most consistent.
- Taxes: Property taxes here are generally lower than in Toronto, averaging around $2,500 annually for a standard condo.
Breakdown of Housing Costs
- Toronto: The cost per square foot in Toronto can range from $1,200 to $1,400, depending on the neighborhood and amenities.
- Mississauga: In contrast, the cost per square foot in Mississauga ranges from $700 to $900, making it a more budget-friendly option.
- Toronto: Aside from higher property taxes, Toronto residents also face additional levies like the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, which can add thousands to the cost of buying a condo.
- Mississauga: With lower property taxes and no additional municipal levies, the tax burden is generally lighter here.
Quality of Life
- Toronto: If you enjoy cultural activities and being an active part of several communities, Toronto is the best choice. From theaters and museums to an array of international cuisines, you are spoiled for choice. Educational opportunities are also abundant, with several top-ranking universities and colleges including University of Toronto, Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, and George Brown College.
- Mississauga: Known for its safety and excellent public schools, Mississauga offers a high quality of life. The city is less crowded, and community events are more frequent, fostering a strong sense of community. Some universities and colleges in Mississauga include University of Toronto Mississauga campus and Sheridan College.
Both cities offer first-time homebuyer programs, but Toronto provides additional incentives like the Land Transfer Tax Rebate, which can offer up to $4,475 in rebates.
Deciding between Toronto and Mississauga is more than just a matter of preference; it’s a significant financial and lifestyle choice. Realtor Catherine Nacar is here to assist you in finding the condo of your dreams in GTA. Contact today for a free consultation.