A quick way to identify appealing areas is to look at the media sale prices for different parts of an area and see where the most expensive homes are located. We looked into it and thought we would share the results!
Before we do, let’s take a brief foray into how the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) categorizes areas.
Sorry, where is that?
When you look at the total area contained within the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s geography, there are three progressively smaller categories : Area, Municipality and Community.
The largest category is Area and this corresponds very closely to regional municipalities. There are seven areas within the TRREB boundaries:
The next level down is what TRREB calls Municipalities. With the exception of Toronto, TRREB municipalities are essentially towns or cities. The TREB municipalities are as follows:
- Peel – Caledon, Brampton, Mississauga
- Halton – Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville, Burlington
- York – Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Georgina Islands, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stoufville
- Durham – Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Scugog 34, Uxbridge, Whitby
- Dufferin – Amaranth, East Garafraxa, East Luther Grand Valley, Melancthon, Mono, Mulmur, Orangeville, Shelburne
- Simcoe – Adjala-Tosorontio, Barrie, Bradford West-Gwillimbury, Christian Island 30, Clearview, Collingwood, Essa, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Penetanguishene, Rama First Nation 32, Ramara, Severn, Springwater, Wasaga Beach
With a few exceptions the above are likely names you’re familiar with as towns and cities in the GTA.
Within Toronto, the density of population means that TRREB needed to create artificial boundaries to divide up the city. They did this by labelling areas central, east or west and then adding number designations.
The final, smallest category that TRREB uses within its geography is called Communities. Unfortunately, how TREB defines these areas is not consistent with how residents define their local area.
Sometimes the description matches what residents use, such as the Mount Pleasant area in Toronto. Sometimes, it’s a name that no one in the neighbourhood has ever heard of, such as the Sherwood-Amberglen area of Markham.
In other cases, the name is the same as what local residents call their area, but the area itself has different boundaries. Fletcher’s Creek Village in Brampton is quite a small area according to TREB, but many residents of the surrounding MLS communities also describe themselves as living in Fletcher’s Creek.
If you want to see an interactive map that shows the TRREB areas, municipalities and communities, you can do so here.
Now, let’s follow the money and find the best areas (i.e. the most expensive areas) to live in the GTA.
We’re going to use the median price rather than the average price, as the median (the middle number of all the prices from high to low) is less likely to be affected by outliers that are extremely high or low. All of these stats are from the latest market data from February 2023.
One final caveat – we are calling these the best places to live, but of course the best place to live is far more individualized than simply the highest price. Don’t fret if your home isn’t in the “best” place in your area. We’re sure it’s still lovely.
Where’s the best area in Toronto?
In Toronto West, the best place to live is W07, with a median price of $1,249,000. That’s basically the Kingsway Village, which is the west end of Bloor, south down to the Queensway. Some gorgeous houses on big lots and close to a really great stretch of a retail street.
In Toronto Central, the best place to live is C09, with a median price of $2,052,800. This is the Rosedale and Moore Park part of Toronto and it’s that area north of Bloor and east of Yonge. With the Don Valley to the east and parks and creeks running through parts of it, definitely a very popular part of the city and the prices reflect it!
In Toronto East, the best place to live is E02, with a median price of $1,269,522. This is the Beaches area of Toronto and is where our real estate brokerage is located. Great neighbourhood in very high demand.
Despite the highest median price in the city being located in a Toronto Central community (C09), Toronto Central is also the lowest overall median price in the city, at $800,000. The west end comes in at $862,500 and the east end is the highest at $950,000. This is likely reflective of the fact that it is the centre of the city where the most condo buildings are located, so the affordability is better.
Let’s check out the best areas around the GTA.
In Peel, the best place to live is Caledon, with a median price of $1,093,000. That might be a surprise, but Brampton and Mississauga are pretty close in median price ($880K in Mississauga and $955K in Brampton) and while Caledon has fewer people, it has bigger, arguably nicer properties.
In Halton, the best place to live is Oakville, with a median price of $1,360,000. This is what most people would expect we think. While Milton has been in the news for price increases on more than a few occasions, Oakville is a very wealthy town and real estate is priced accordingly.
In York, the best place to live is King, with a median price of $2,040,000. Similar to Caledon in Peel, this might be a surprise as towns like Aurora have a reputation for high prices. King township has lots of estates and very high prices as a result.
In Durham, the best place to live is Uxbridge, with a median price of $1,005,000. Uxbridge is just north of Pickering and is a surprising winner in Durham. It’s the only area that managed to get over $1M for the media price.
In Dufferin, the best place to live is Orangeville, with a median price of $812,808. To be fair, in Dufferin, the only area with enough stats to be included is Orangeville. Still, a lovely town with a great historic downtown.
In Simcoe, the best place to live is Bradford West Gwillimbury, with a median price of $962,000. The proximity to York Region and spillover from those expensive markets, such as King, makes the southern part of Simcoe the most expensive median price.
If you were looking for the best part of the GTA to live in, it is York Region that takes that honour, with a median price of $1,215,000. That beats out Toronto (at $850,000 median price for the city as a whole) as well as all the other parts of the GTA.
While using the median price for real estate as a proxy for the best parts of a given area is a fun exercise, it doesn’t take into account the specifics of what makes a given home the best for the people who choose to live in the home. If you are thinking about making a move and want to make sure that you get the best for you, then let’s talk.