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…
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:
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:
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:
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?
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?
I just wanted to point out here, that I’d expect Toronto Life to be a little more up to date:
Just for fun – see how quickly you can pull crime statistics from 2012.
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:
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:
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.
Here’s a beauty:
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:
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:
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.
2.8 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…
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
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.