Renting Vs Buying In Toronto


Since we moved back to Toronto, we knew it was going to be a gigantic challenge to find somewhere to live. We were lucky enough to have a buffer thanks to my wife’s parents. They are away until December, so part of the plan was to live in their house, while we figured everything out.

The figuring where we are going to live part of the adventure has arrived.

We currently are two minutes from everything and anything and are kind of being spoiled where we live now. So we do our best to remind ourselves that pretty much anywhere we land next, won’t be as good. No worries, it is a process.

We don’t know where we want to live for the next 10-15 years. We don’t know the schools, neighbourhoods or landscape for many parts of Toronto. Seems silly to drop over half a million on a house then.

The two biggest questions that have been on our minds since May have been:

1. East or west?

2. Rent or buy?

Seeing as we just sold our house back in Halifax, it would seem silly to even be considering renting again. Right? In our minds it used to make us feel like we would be going backwards.

After all, we were home owners, so we should remain home owners.

Then the absolute size and cost of living in Toronto taps you on the shoulder and puts huge restrictions on the game.

If you want to buy, you need giant bags of money and that won’t even make it easy. Every house has bidding wars and heated battles to live in it.

Due to price, you are pretty much limited to finding areas that are about to explode and are not that nice. You are being told where to live based on your cash flow. You don’t have a choice. When looking for somewhere to live with kids, you need to think even deeper. You need to look at schools, parks, green space and of course overall safety. Again, buying puts huge limits on these choices.

We looked at listings for a while and rarely would we find a house we liked the look of, the cost and the area. So you have to figure there are 55 other families looking at the same property thinking the same thing. The time it takes to find a house that meets your needs and then to actually win it, could take several months or years. We don’t want to wait. We want to set up our family and start our new lives in a space that is ours.

That is when the idea of going back to renting crept into the conversation. Hard to believe really. I pretty much figured my days of rent and landlords were over.

But when you start to do the math and really break it down, in a city like Toronto, it makes sense.

Here is why:

  • You can actually focus on your list of needs and location. Picking the area you want to be in is far easier.
  • In our case, we have money from the sale of our house. So we can invest that, pay of dept and build a war chest for a house later.
  • We can learn about the neighbourhood we choose before buying in and not liking it.
  • It gives us flexibility. After a year, we can start looking for a house, while still enjoying where we live.
  • We won’t be house poor due to overpaying for a house.
  • Everyone keeps saying the housing marketing is going to burst. So if that happens in the next few years, we are ready.
  • It will get us out of the inlaws house much faster (not that they are in any way pushing).
  • Renting short-term is just easier on everyone.

While agree, it does feel like you are spending thousands of dollars on rent and not owning anything, but like I said, we have money to invest, add to and have at the ready when the time comes. It is a nice luxury to have.

Our oldest starts school this year. That means we need to figure a lot of stuff out. Where is he going to go. Will we move him part way through? So many questions. Ah parenting, it’s always something.

Then there is daycare, but I don’t even want to start talking about that.

So while I always thought once we bought into the housing game, we would just keep rolling over house after house, I now see that does not make sense for our family right now.

We need to move forward, have our own space and build our life in Toronto. It does not matter if it is a rental or a house we own. It’s what you make of it that counts.

I am 100% confident, that where we land, we will be happy and enjoy many, many years in the T-Dot.

I would be interested to hear what you think about renting vs. buying when it comes to living arrangements. Does it matter? Does where influence how you approach it?

Feel free to call be crazy, I am certainly not an expert.

So have you say about Renting vs Buying in Toronto.


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