Toronto Life: Best & Worst Places To Live (Pt2)

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I don’t hate Toronto Life, by the way.

I just find most of their articles on real estate are incredibly biased, and often laughably incorrect.

At the end of the day, the fact that this article is “trending” on social media, and the fact that I’m about six-hours in to my analysis of that very article, is probably what Toronto Life wants.

Nevertheless, the article is getting so much coverage that I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a few fallacies…

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The online version of the article has far more information about the 140 neighbourhoods themselves, but the print version has a slew of graphics that are tantalizing and eye-catching!

Having said that, many of these graphics are stupid, in different ways.

So I took the liberty of scanning the print version and cropping some of these graphics, to examine in two categories:

1) “Check Your Facts.”  In this category, I will call into question the accuracy of the numbers and/or claims provided.

2) “Thank You, Professor!”  In this category, I will question why the hell Toronto Life needed to point out something so obvious.

Check Your Facts!

Let’s start out with an absolute beauty!

Apparently, the average price to rent a home in Bridle Path-Sunnybrook is $2,480:

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Now I should mention for context that $2,480 per month, in, say, the downtown core, might get you a 2-bed, 1-bath, with no parking.

And in case you didn’t know, The Bridle Path is home to the most expensive real estate in Toronto, and possibly Canada.

So unless The Bridle Path has three-hundred “nanny suites” being rented for every one $10M mansion, then I have to call into question the accuracy of that $2,480 figure.

But the most amazing part is, in another graphic, Toronto Life gives us this ditty:

 

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Okay, so the average house price in the area is $2.6 Million.

And the average rent is $2,480.

Sooooo………where can I rent a $2,600,000 house for $2,480?

Something isn’t right here…

Next, let’s take a look at a massive claim:

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Wow, really?

Out of 140 areas in Toronto, there’s only one that has a depreciating average value?

And that one area happens to be quite possibly the best area in the city?

Last week, I wrote about the “luxury home market” and how red-hot it is.  I have two clients actively looking in Moore Park & Rosedale, and I can tell you, as a guy “pounding the pavement,” that property values are NOT going down!

No, they’re not going down.  But they’re not even staying flat.  In fact, they’re skyrocketing.

I would love, love, love to see the numbers Toronto Life used to come up with this, but you know what?  I’ll do you one better.

Between January 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2014, there were 192 sales in Rosedale-Moore Park, with an average sale price of $2,355,054.

Between January 1st, 2015, and September 30th, 2015 (the day of this blog post), there have been 161 sales, with an average sale price of $2,438,486.

Want me to clean the data a bit?  Fine.

The median price in 2014 was $2,000,000, and the median price in 2015 has been $2,250,000.

Simply put: I see absolutely no justification for this stupid suggestion by Toronto Life that property values in Rosedale have dropped 5% year-over-year.

This next claim just begs us to define the term “contrary belief,” does it not?

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Because to be honest, and I don’t want to sound like I just spent two weeks on Jeopardy here, but I n-e-v-e-r thought that housing downtown was more expensive than North York, and I don’t know if anybody else did either.

How many 1-bed condos are in the downtown core?  Yeah, and how many 4-bed, 5-bath houses on 60 x 150 foot lots are in the downtown core?

Exactly…

I just wanted to point out here, that I’d expect Toronto Life to be a little more up to date:

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Just for fun – see how quickly you can pull crime statistics from 2012.

Or 2013.

Or 2014.

Did you do it quicker than I was able to type this?

So why the hell is Toronto Life feeding us 2011 crime stats?

I mean, they did this same feature – ranking the 140 Toronto neighbourhoods – back in 2013!  Did they just use the same stats?

And is the claim that “The Annex is six times as dangerous as Casa Loma” based strictly on dividing 573 by 89?  How many people live in The Annex, and how many live in Casa Loma?

In a related story, Ontario is more dangerous than Toronto…

 

“Thank You, Professor!”

Wait for it…

This is genius:

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Yes, folks, Toronto Life felt the need to tell you, “Most condos are downtown.”

Yep.  Just like every other city on planet earth.

How about this one:

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Yes, folks, the most renters live in the area where the most rental apartments are, and where there are no houses, and almost no condos.

Go figure!

Here’s a beauty:

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Wait……so you’re staying the areas the furthest out of the downtown core……have the worst transit?

Wow!  That must also be unique to Toronto, when comparing to other major metropolitan areas.

I always thought there were HUNDREDS of subway stops north of Canada’s Wonderland…

This one confirms what I already learned in Grade-Six “Health” class:

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Yes, it’s true what I learned, and what Toronto Life is telling us here:

Men do not have ovaries!

I wonder if Kathleen Wynne’s new “controversial” curriculum will address this.

Last but not least, I would like to provide you with the three biggest neighbourhood snubs:

#3: Dovercourt-Wallace-Emerson-Junction

TorontoLifeDovercourt

I have no idea how such a hot area can be ranked so low.

106th.  Out of 140.  It just boggles the mind.

Apparently, there are 105 better places to live than at Dovercourt & Bloor.

Christie Pits?  Anyone?  No?  No takers?

I’ll admit, I wouldn’t love living on Geary Avenue, north of Dupont, next to some industrial sites.

But 106th out of 140 is just plain stupid for an area right on the subway line, in a city with a public transit system in 2015 that is suitable for the year 1970.

 

#2: Roncesvalles

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2.8?

Really?

2.8 out of 100 for housing?

Why even bother with 2.8?  Why not just give it a zero?

This is what I don’t understand about these rankings – what does the 2.8 refer to?

Is it affordability?  How is that measured?

Is appreciation a good thing?  Or is only future appreciation a good thing?  As if to say, “We want areas that haven’t appreciated much during this 18-year bull-cycle, so that we can currently afford them, but we do want to see future appreciation starting from today.”

 

Roncesvalles has some of the most beautiful houses in Toronto, and the streets are gorgeous.  Are they affordable?  How much more or less than the other 139 areas of Toronto?  Judging from that 2.8/100 ranking, I’d think Roncesvalles is the most unaffordable area in the city, relative to incomes, or not.

As for the school rankings, 31.0/100 is ridiculous.

Garden Avenue Public School ranks an 8.4/10 by the Fraser Institute, which is 172nd out of 3,037 public schools in Ontario.

Fern Avenue Public School ranks a 7.5/10, or 548th out of 3,037.

You might think that for me to say the 36th ranked neighbourhood in Toronto can’t be a true “snub,” but this one is, given I feel that Roncesvalles is probably a top-15 neighbourhood overall.

Having said that, this snub feels like an Academy Award compared to…

 

#1: Leslieville

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I don’t want to “go there,” but I have to, in order to prove my point.

It’s cliché, and it’s too easy, but I’m going there.  I have no choice.

So folks, would you rather live at:

1) Jane & Finch
2) Leslieville

Because Jane & Finch’s two neighbourhoods (north and south of Finch), rank 114th and 117th, respectively.

And Leslieville ranks 123rd, behind Jane & Finch.

“Jane & Finch” isn’t even a location anymore, it’s an adjective in Torontonians’ vernacular to describe something awful.  Most of us, myself included, have no clue what really goes on up there.

But having said that, what we do know about the area is enough to tell us that it’s NOT a better place to live than Leslieville, and this is without a doubt the worst snub in these Toronto Life rankings.

Leslieville has been a “hot” real estate area for almost a decade, but even occupational bias aside, it’s a fantastic place to live!  It’s close to the core, has a TTC streetcar that will take you right downtown, has a massive park right in the middle of it all, and is home to a ton of shops and restaurants along Queen Street.

It has everything people want in a neighbourhood, and yet it ranks #123 in these ridiculous rankings.

Anyways, folks, that’s it for me this week.

As I said on Wednesday, the reason I had to comment on this Toronto Life feature is because of all the eyes that will feast on its content, and all the misinformation that will be absorbed by the real estate buyer pool.

We all have opinions, and none of us will agree on 140 locations.  But when Leslieville ranks behind Jane & Finch, something is wrong.

What do I value in an area?

Five things: schools, parks, transit, commercial/retail infrastructure, and community.

Those have always been my five, and they will likely never change.

What do you value in an area?  I’d like to know.

And tell me which areas you think were snubbed the hardest, in addition to my top-3.

15 Comments

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  1. Gamba says:

    maybe they were using a per bedroom cost to rent?

  2. Parkette says:

    Hey you are hilarious!
    I loved this post.

    I think TL is trying to be politically correct and also trying to promote certain neighborhoods to keep the good ones to themselves and their friends.

    You can tell it is extremely biased article!

    keep up on keeping them honest.

  3. lui says:

    Dovercourt and Bloor is a amazing location,wasn’t that area rated number one by Toronto Star on the hottest upcoming neighborhood in 2013?.

  4. michael says:

    Here’s the problem with both the Toronto Life article and with your rebuttal. In your own words:

    “What do I value in an area?

    Five things: schools, parks, transit, commercial/retail infrastructure, and community.

    Those have always been my five, and they will likely never change.”

    Not everybody has those same values. And even if they do, they don’t necessarily prioritize them in the same order or with the same relative weights as you do. Ultimately, your opinion is no more or less arbitrary than Toronto Life’s.

    A great agent is able to understand his client’s priorities and identify the homes and areas that are right based on their personal portfolio of needs. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many great agents out there (David, I’m not saying that you personally aren’t… you seem to be, actually) and there’s no way for the consumers to take control of their own search in an effective manner because the tools available to them are so antiquated. This is the problem we’re solving in our real estate start-up. I’m intentionally not going to link to it here; but David, if you’re interested in learning a bit more about what we’re trying to pull off, feel free to contact me off-line at the email included with my comment.

    cheers

  5. Kyle says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I think the comment about single families just snark for the sake of crapping on Toronto Life. I get that saying 5% are single dads is redundant if we identify 36% as single-mom families, but it just seems like complaining for the sake of complaining.

    1. ScottyP says:

      David merely pointed out the redundancy in a humorous way. It was pretty weak of the editor to have failed to catch such sloppy writing — and from a stand-alone graphic, no less!

      Ironically, what really feels like complaining for the sake of complaining is your comment, Kyle.

  6. condodweller says:

    Thank you, Professor!

  7. Free Country says:

    Thank you for standing up for Leslieville! Though the neighbourhood still has some dodgy parts, which will never go away, gentrification slowly continues. New condos at Dundas and Carlaw, and some sort of gastropub at Carlaw and Queen where a greasy spoon Chinese restaurant used to be. Dundas and Carlaw will also soon have a fresh fruit and vegetable market, which the neighbourhod sorely needs. And Saturday Dinette at Logan and Gerrard is very good.

    However, I am still mourning the closure of Table 17.

  8. Marina says:

    Next year Yonge and Eg will be below 100 with some weak sauce excuse such as construction.

    Without context the rankings are stupid anyway. Why even rank Bridle Path and Rosedale? THose who can afford to live there don’t care about rankings.

    Rank family neighbourhoods vs single people neighbourhoods and have a comparison on the different criteria so people can see the trade-offs.

    Otherwise you end up with Leslieville classified as a dump, while people line up around the block for houses there.

  9. AndrewB says:

    Also David, didn’t you know that Jane and Finch is “University Heights” now?

  10. AndrewB says:

    I love how they take statistics with absolutely no context and compare the metrics to try and derive some sort of trend out of it. Like Annex being more dangerous or something than Casa Loma? Annex has bars and entertainment and more people. Random crime is more likely to happen.

    Their stats on sale prices is pretty wack too. Like the rental prices in the Bridal Path. Toronto Life is just too much lol.

  11. Ed says:

    Yo David!
    What you got against Jane and Finch.
    Let’s see you bring yo skinny ass up here and say dat.

    Regards,

  12. CB says:

    What kills me is that in 3 years some areas go from front of the pack to the back of the pack and vice versa. My area, Mimico, was ranked in the top 10 in their last piece of nonsense from 2011 or whenever it was. This year it’s 105/140. To be fair, I think this year’s ranking is a hell of a lot more accurate than calling Mimico a top 10 neighborhood. But goes to show that they’re just writing this piece to get people talking and to get publicity. Heads must be spinning in Leslieville;) Anyone I know who lives there thinks it’s the best place in the world to be and there are a lot of reasons why it is great if you have the $$. I don’t …so I bought in Mimico! “The Beaches of the West”….yaaaaa ok.

    1. Chuggo says:

      Mimico’s ranking probably dropped due to the rampant gentrification and overcrowding that is going on right now. I’d still say that I prefer Mimico over Leslieville, one of the few neighbourhoods left in this city that’s still got some authenticity.

      1. JTAPP says:

        “Authenticity” to what? The past? Okay, fine, but why is so-called “authenticity” (always ill-defined) a good thing per se? It’s an “authentic” what, exactly?

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