Reader’s Write: Up-And-Coming Toronto Neighbourhoods

CREA Home Sales 20151215

My blog readers walked me right into this blog post!

After the Monday blog about the Queensway & Islington pocket, which I feel is up-and-coming, my readers started a dialogue in the comments section about other areas which are under-valued, nondescript, or as the headline suggests, up-and-coming.

Today, I want to give you four areas that I personally think are up-and-coming, but let’s continue the conversation in the comments below the blog about areas YOU feel warrant a mention as well.  Thoughts on prices, schools, transit, home style, et al are welcome.

CREA Home Sales 20151215

If any of you play fantasy football, you’ll get the following analogy…

Whenever so-called “experts” from websites, magazines, blogs, or podcasts list their “sleeper” picks in July and August for the upcoming fantasy football season that begins in September – or if you’re familiar with Matthew Berry, the “Ten Players I Love” – we have to remember that you can’t call Tom Brady a sleeper, and to say you love the season Antonio Brown is about to have is too easy.

So in determining my “up-and-coming” areas, or for you guys, as readers, to do the same, I think we’re a bit past calling Leslieville “up-and-coming.”

There are a lot of areas I wanted to put in this feature.

One does come to mind that’s between Greenwood, Gerrard, Dundas, and Coxwell – an area with no “name” like Leslieville, Riverdale, Roncesvalles, and the like, and that might be part of the reason why homes are cheaper than if you go one city block west, and one city block south.

But that small square is still in a very hot area – “the east side,” which basically runs from Broadview to Woodbine, from the lake to O’Connor.

Just as the fantasy football prognosticators try to tell you that they would rather pick a sixth-round running back out of a division-two school than the starting running back on last year’s Superbowl champs as their “sleeper,” I’m hoping that one or two of these areas might be new to you, or something you’d never remotely considered.

1) Parkdale

ParkdaleMap

This was mentioned on Monday, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Sure, Parkdale is still a bit sketchy, but with the “grunge” fad I grew up with, and the “hipster” fad that’s prevalent now, it seems like a lot of folks want something that isn’t la-dee-da all the time.

Parkdale is home to some of the most beautiful, century-old homes in the city of Toronto, and if you drive up and down Dunn and Cowan, you’ll see some wonderful late-1800’s architecture.

CowanAveHouses

These houses are gorgeous!

Parkdale is one of the original Toronto settlements, and believe it or not, it was where some of city’s most elite build homes in the 1800’s because it was perched atop a hill, and provided a spectacular view of the lake.

As time went on, we know all that changed.  The houses became dilapidated, many were converted to rooming houses, and the area was far, far from safe.

But south of King Street, all that is starting to change, and I can’t believe the value that exists on some of these houses, both in terms of the architecture (think about what people pay for Victorians in Trinity-Bellwoods, Riverdale, and the like), the lot size, and the square footage of existing homes.

2) New Toronto

NewToronto

I don’t know where the name “New Toronto” comes from, or if it’s relevant.

But the area west of Mimico is about to take off.

It’s a large area as you can tell from the map.  I didn’t put a red box around it because I’m referring to ALL that area.

Call me biased, since I just sold a house on Daisy Ave for $1,120,000 this weekend, but the reason I sold the home is because of how much I believe in this area.

Picture a brand-new, 2-storey, 4-bed, 4-bath, 2,300 square feet above grade, 900 square feet below grade, and exceptional finishes both in terms of the workmanship and the quality.

2-car garage, backyard, skylights, main floor family room, and red-brick construction; not stucco.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  This is a $2.3 Million house in Leaside, or a $1.7 Million house in Roncesvalles.

Yes, it’s further east, but that’s the idea.

And bungalows are still available around $500,000, so you could play the long-game and either build your own home, or sell to a developer in 8-10 years.

3) Mount Dennis

MountDennis

This was also mentioned by a reader on Monday, so call this unoriginal…

But this is a pocket that is surrounded by greenspace (as you can see from the map), and gets very little if any through traffic because these streets don’t really go anywhere.

And the prices are, by just about anybody’s definition in Toronto today, “affordable.”

How about a detached, 2-storey, 3-bed, 2-bath, for $462,000?

W3400646

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Eglinton Crosstsown LRT stop that’s going to be built at Mount Dennis.

This is the end of the line, as it stands now, but it’s a 10-minute walk from the house pictured above, and I think any house on the Eglinton line, from Kennedy to Mount Dennis, is going to increase in value.

4) Kennedy ParkKennedyPark

This area is also called “Scarborough Junction,” but as is often the theme in the city, we get a different name from Google, a different name from MLS, and a different name from the people that actually live in the area.

This is a large geographic area, and I was going to cut it off halfway north at “Corvette Avenue,” but because one of the reasons I feel this is up-and-coming has to do with the Eglinton LRT station at Kennedy, we may as well include those crescents south of Eglinton.

Eglinton also has a GO Train station, and for people trying to get to Union Station as fast as possible, any GO stop is a blessing.

At the bottom of the grid, on St. Clair, you also have a Scarborough GO.

I’m not trying to make this area be all about transit, but with two Go stations, and an LRT station about to be built, it has to be considered.

The houses themselves are exceptional value.

The area is dominated by $500,000’ish bungalows, much like what we’ve been talking about on the west side as well, but there are some 2-storey homes as well, and some great deals.

How about a 3-bed, 3-bath, on a 50-foot lot for $620,000?

Granger

Maybe Parkdale isn’t that original, but considering how beautiful, original, and large the houses are, and also factoring in how close the neighbourhood is to downtown compared to the other three on this list, I think it could be the next big ticket in Toronto real estate.

I also think that public transit is going to be of HUGE importance as we move forward.  You know – as our city grows out of control, with no real plan from our leaders, building transit that would have been effective thirty years ago (topic for another day, I know, I know…), and being able to get to Union in 10-15 minutes, or having an LRT stop within a few blocks of your house, is going to be highly sought-after.

I’d love to hear from you guys below.

I’m sure there are a slew of other areas worth discussing.

And if you want to go outside the central core, or the GTA, no problem.

I’ve got clients looking as far as Oakville right now.

Everybody’s trying something to make sense of this crazy market…

33 Comments

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. charlene says:

    does anyone have any thoughts on alderwood east of browns line?

  2. lui says:

    I like the Vibe at Dufferin and Bloor area.Lots of families not too many hipsters.

  3. andrew says:

    dupont and lansdowne

  4. AndrewB says:

    Soon enough to only area affordable in Toronto will be Jane and Finch. Uh, I mean “University Heights”. At least it’s getting a subway stop nearby soon.

  5. Paully says:

    I second Dupont, around Christie – great neighbourhood with its own unique vibe and awesome for grocery shopping.

    Also Little Portugal is undervalued compared to neighbouring Little Italy. Still some bargains to be had. Media and complainers like to quite the high prices bit if u follow the market you know there are many properties still below or at 1 million mark. Sorry, but not everyone should be able to afford a big lot fully renoed detached victorian in the center of the city!

  6. GinaTO says:

    Transit does play a big factor, indeed. When we were house shopping in 2012, we were looking at Mimico/New Toronto. The prices were good and the lots are large, but we ultimately decided against it because of transit. (Sam Smith Park is such a gem though.) We bought in the Junction Triangle – not up-and-coming anymore in terms of house prices (huge increase in the past four years), but retail, especially on Dupont, is improving rapidly, and there are more transit options (including biking to my job downtown).
    I think Weston and Mount Dennis are areas to follow – rough around the edges, yes, but isn’t it what makes it affordable and pushes gentrification? I hand it to the folks in Weston – they pushed hard to get a UPX stop, and now that the prices have become reasonable, they have this quick link to downtown.

  7. JR says:

    I have been watching the Birch Cliff area and it is really nice. It has that beach vibe without the crowds, close to downtown and seems undervalued in my opinion.

  8. Joe says:

    I love Little Portugal… but prices are starting to creep up now. Not so easy anymore.

  9. Wut says:

    Hard to believe cheap areas like that exist in Toronto when small townhouses in Vaughan are going for 800k+ and small detached for 1m+.

    1. Geoff says:

      I imagine the vaughan houses have to be significantly larger houses (on likely similar or smaller lots).

    2. Kyle says:

      Comes down to what people value in a location. Despite how much further away it is, many people will still consider Vaughn to be the better location, because the up and coming areas mentioned are a bit “rougher”. The pay off with up and coming neighbourhoods is that as the prices increase, the ruffians gets priced out, which causes prices to increase, which causes more ruffians to get priced out, which causes prices to increase, and so on… This can happen over a long time (e.g. Parkdale’s been gentrifying forever) or almost overnight (e.g. Beaconsfield Village).

      1. Joe Q. says:

        The schools factor is likely also important. The trend in the suburbs (or at least the perceived trend) is that schools are of uniformly good quality. The same is not really true in the city core, where there can be dramatic differences even between schools in close proximity.

  10. jeff316 says:

    Mount Dennis is a great example of the phoney affordability debate.

    Yes, the average detached price is crazy but there are areas of Toronto where housing is not near the oft-quotes real estate averages. It’s just that the neighbourhoods are up and coming, or they don’t have subway walkability, or the houses don’t have all the amenities we all love when we’re watching real estate shows on TV.

    Don’t get me wrong. Certainly, housing in Toronto and the GTA is unaffordable to many people and that is a problem. But it is usually not that group that does the most complaining about Toronto house prices.

    1. Joe Q. says:

      Mount Dennis is an interesting case. I haven’t been there that often but it somehow seems to me like a part of the city “that time forgot” — that probably looks much the same as it did in the 1980s. It is certainly still rough around the edges (cops arresting guys on the street etc.) but I’m sure it’ll change quickly.

      1. jeff316 says:

        Yeah that’s a great description.

        I find it is a lot like Oakwood-Vaughan in the sense that the main drags aren’t great, and the high density housing looks pretty bad, but when you get into the main SFH neighbourhoods they’re not awful. Lots of decently maintained homes.

        The downside, aside from still being rough, is that the transit isn’t great unless you need to go directly downtown to Union.

  11. Natrx says:

    Kennedy Park has already increased in price as the rest of Scarborough. A year to 2 years ago? Sure. I know, because my parents have a house there. The average bungalow is going for the Toronto average which is 620K+. And even then, alot of homes don’t get listed in the area. Just 2-3 years ago, they were about $420K, and in the mid-high 300s for the longest time, especially during the era when people were deathly scared of Scarborough.

  12. Kyle says:

    I love watching our city evolve. I always find it fascinating to see how some undervalued hoods gradually get “discovered” and over time they start to gentrify as more people catch on (e.g. Dufferin Grove). While other hoods gentrify overnight, usually as the result of some catalyst like new development, new transit, new offices, etc. Other times, it just takes one or two eye-popping house sales, to throw a neighbourhood into the spotlight (e.g. East Danforth/Monarch Park).

    Some of the areas that i think are up and coming are the following:
    – Dupont St – will become the new Liberty Village, without all the traffic headaches
    – Humewood neighbourhood – It’s surrounded by good stuff: St Clair LRT and soon to be Eglinton Crosstown, a ravine, and other high end neighbourhoods
    – That area in the East end, South of the train tracks between Greenwood and Woodbine
    – The area around Carlaw and Dundas is going to EXPLODE
    – Wallace Emerson and Blansdowne neighbourhood – proximity to Subway for well under 1M
    – St Mark’s Rd area (aka “the Valley”) – affrodable homes, and rapidly improving school ranking
    – Victoria Village (aka “Sloane”) – Mid Century bungalows have become like air-cooled Porsche 911’s. They used to be heavily discounted but are now selling for huge premiums.

    1. jeff316 says:

      Humewood prices are pretty tough – dinky 3-bed semis for 800k. Youch!

        1. jeff316 says:

          True, but Riverdale is as prestige a neighbourhood as it gets for the “average” old City of Toronto homebuyer.

          As for Roncesvalles, well I’ll be in the minority and admit I’ve never understood the appeal of forkign over a million to be stranded out there on two of the worst streetcar routes in the city.

      1. Joe Q. says:

        I kind of agree with Jeff here — I think Humewood is beyond “up-and-coming” — prices are high and it has already been subsumed into the gentrification that is sweeping west along St Clair.

        1. jeff316 says:

          Yeah I’m in “Hillcrest” and it’s bananas whether you’re north or south of St. Clair. But particularly north – people really want in to Humewood for the French Immersion school, lest their kids have to go to schools like Rawlinson or Wilcox. (That’s a joke!) There’s no FI at Hillcrest.

          Even houses in Oakwood-Vaughan are fetching high prices. 650k to live in a semi a stone’s throw from Rogers Road? I remember when people didn’t want to walk along there after supper. Who would have ever thought!

        2. Kyle says:

          I’m not saying Humewood is cheap or a bargain. I’m saying it is up and coming relative to already established hoods. Yes, prices have already begun to rise (of this i 100% agree with you guys), but the vast majority of Torontonians haven’t even heard of the neighbourhood before, when they find out look for prices to go up even further and faster.

    2. McBloggert says:

      The fact that you likened anything to the run up on air cooled porches makes me think we should be friends. I have been watching 993’s just blow up the past 5-7 years; I could have made a killing buying and storing them! Not to mention the mid 80s 930s which were selling for nothing in the early 00’s!

      1. Kyle says:

        For real!!!! A clean, basic (no sunroof), 5 speed, air-cooled 911 coupe would have to be one of the best financial investments that one could have made so far this century. Not to mention the emotional returns.

  13. CB says:

    I agree with these. Just as a FYI, the area east of 23rd Street (around where Humber College is) is New Toronto and anything west is Long Branch. Long Branch is already quite pricey compared to New Toronto but also has larger lots and better proximity to a GO station. New Toronto sits sort of half way between the Mimico and Long Branch stations so you pretty much have to drive to one of the two and walking isn’t an option. I think NT is a great investment right now – when you’re driving down the streets you feel like you’re in a small town and the proximity to the waterfront parks is the selling point.

    While I don’t disagree with you regarding Parkdale’s value, I still would not want to be located there. You have a tonne of car traffic as people try to circumvent the major arteries (especially with one million people coming and going from Liberty Village every day). I also understand that the schools are not good. Also – where do you grocery shop? I guess the shitty Metro in LV.

    1. Squidward says:

      My Parkdale friends shop at the No Frills at Dundas and Lansdowne. It’s a fantastic grocery store with parking and good transit access.

    2. laura says:

      There’s a no frills on King (w free parking), another Fresh-co on Gladstone and Queen (also free parking) West end food coop west of Dufferin, loads of independant grocers, butchers and fruit mongers (amazing organic/fair trade fresh goodies at Good Catch on queen), still can’t find what you need…you’ve got all of Roncesvalles to choose from (so many independant fish, meat, bakery, fruit n veg it’s wonderful and a 24hrs sobey’s) right around the corner as well. and giant No Frills and Loblaws off dundas both w loads of free parking…and the sorauren farmers market (fresh oysters wha wha wha what?!)

      Who in their right mind would need to crowd into Liberty Villiage (and buy that terrible overpriced produce from Metro) for anything? Parkdale food shopping is awesome

  14. Geoff says:

    I would add Alderwood west of Brown’s Line. Almost all lots are 40×130+ and a 3 bedroom bungalow can still be had for under $700k.

    – All three highways are accessible in less than 5 minutes
    – J-5 French immersion school (doesn’t appear on Fraser rankings)
    – You can walk to Long Branch Go Station in 15 minutes or less
    – Etobicoke creek park is great for families, dogs, bikes. You can go from essentially Sherway Gardens all the way down to the lake without crossing a road (except to get from Sherway to south of Evans)
    – You can buy a house that backs onto Etobicoke creek for less than $1M

    1. Jen says:

      Through the years I’ve learned that Guildwood Village generally stay in the “down low” to keep it hidden secret. I am constantly amazed that this tree lined neighborhood with offerings similar to the most desirable areas in the city manages to dodge forums, lists and seeking Torontonians time and time again. Large lots can also be snatched for less than 700k
      A half an hour ride can take one to Union Stn by Go or to Kennedy Stn by TTC. Via rail at the Go Stn is convenient for University students or trips to Montreal, Ottawa, or any other cities along the rail.
      It has the largest community organization in Ontario with memberships reaching 1500. The Organization publishes and delivers quarterly newsletters. It also host and support a slew of events throughout the year. These includes a Candy Cane hunt and tree lighting during the holidays, a Halloween events for kids, movie nights at the Guild Inn park, garage sale day and garden tour day. Most impressive is Guildwood day that starts off with a pancake breakfast then a parade that leads to a lunch bbq with lots of amazing games and activities for kids and ending with evening bbq combined with entertainment, all included in a annual $15 household membership!
      In terms of walk ability, a plaza is nestled in the middle of the neighbourhood where one can get access to banks, grocery store, library, Tim Hortons, doctor’s office, chiropractor’s office, pharmacy, dry cleaners, pet shop, restaurant bar, pizza and sub and even a nail shop.
      Schools in the area are good. Most notably Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program.
      The Guildwood Inn has started its revitalization project which will likely attract much more attention upon completion. The Eglinton Crossroad will also likely attract more people, but for now, it still remains Scarborough or rather T.O’s hidden gem.

      1. Az says:

        Moved in Guildwood in 2001 and was best decision in terms of affordability. A Huge lot for 200 k then and now home is almost 800 k. Quite good neighourhood with short walk to lake and trails.

    2. charlene says:

      Thats the problem, Alderwood west of Browns Line is amazing, Alderwood east of Brownsline. I don’t know how I feel about it.

TWEETS