Buying a Condo looks even more appealing now

It is very true that rents are getting pretty crazy these days, yet demand doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Just earlier this week The Globe published an article about the increasing rent prices in Toronto.

Consider that the average one-bedroom rental in the second quarter of this year was approximately $1,600 a month in Toronto,. for a few hundred dollars more a month and a reasonable down payment, you could own a place for yourself.

And why wouldn’t you?

Well, for one – many experts have been predicating a condo crash, but they have been doing so for the last 15 years! Suppose there is a crash, as a homeowner who intends to reside in the condo versus an investor who is looking at it solely from an economic perspective, you wouldn’t be too adversely affected.

This is because most people will live in a home about 4 to 5 years, and assuming their monthly costs are fixed, they should be able to weather a dip in the market. Historically the housing market has been cyclical and it bounces back within that timeframe.

In the second quarter of 2013, the average condo price in Toronto proper (i.e. 416 area code) was $372,805.

Let’s say you decide to buy something slightly above the Toronto average at $400,000 as an example. With today’s mortgage offerings, you could hypothetically get a 5-year closed mortgage with a 25-year amortization for 3.2 per cent interest. Assuming you put the minimum 5 per cent down payment required, and factor in CMHC mortgage insurance, you would be paying about $1,875 a month.

Of course, the monthly figure above does not factor condo maintenance fees, which can vary widely among different buildings. I advise my clients to stick within the 50- to 70-cent per square foot range for maintenance. Also carefully consider what amenities you are paying for and if they provide value to your lifestyle.

One final factor to calculate into your costs of purchasing would be Land Transfer Tax (LTT). As a first time homebuyer you will be eligible for a rebate of up to $5,725 in the City of Toronto (only $2,000 for the rest of province due to double LTT in Toronto) . In the $400,000 example above, you will be paying $2,475 out of pocket after rebates.

In any case, today you could buy a one bedroom condo in Downtown for an average of $300,000. With only 5% down, your TOTAL monthly payment (including Mortgage, Property Taxes & Condo fee) would be about $1850.

The decision to continue to rent versus buying may not be so black and white. Careful analysis of your finances, particularly your ability to come up with a down payment will help guide you in the right direction.

Finally, asking yourself how your lifestyle may change in 3 to 5 years is of equal importance in the decision-making process: Will you outgrow your place? Are you planning on starting a family? Where will you be in your career?

These are just some of the questions you need to be asking yourself when making the decision whether to rent or own.

Source: Globe & Mail

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Jorge Branca

Jorge Branca

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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