Buying a condo in the GTA on one income? Here’s where It’s possible

By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Looking to purchase a home in the Greater Toronto Area on your own? According to new data, the real estate reality for solo buyers is pretty heartbreaking, with most options out of financial reach for those earning the median single-household income in the region.

In fact, owning a condo within a GTA municipality will set a single homeowner back more than double the recommended shelter cost, even in the most affordable markets. With two incomes getting far more home for their buck than one, it’s no wonder buyers are increasingly partnering with family, friends, or even strangers to improve their real estate affordability.

Tough affordability throughout GTA

Check out this infographic to see how affordable condos are for both single and multi-income buyers throughout the GTA.

To find out the extent of housing affordability for single buyers, Zoocasa calculated what’s called the home-price-to-income ratio in 17 of the markets tracked by the Toronto Real Estate Board. Crunching the average January 2018 condo price and median income earned in each municipality determines how many years of total income (as in, one’s entire annual salary) it would take to pay off a condo in that region. The higher the ratio, the tougher the home will be to carry financially.

The ratio recommended by most financial experts for shelter costs is three, but that’s well below what’s possible in the GTA market, the numbers reveal. The data finds that the minimum ratio for a single condo buyer is seven, available in only two markets: Milton and Clarington.

That’s not to say dual-income households have it much easier; coupled-up buyers have only three regions that satisfy the recommended affordability ratio (Milton, Clarington, and Whitby), while another 10 regions hover just above the four-point mark.

City Centre most challenging for all buyers

The toughest place to purchase for all Toronto condo buyers is Toronto central, which sets single buyers back a whopping 16 times their income, and seven times for multi-income buyers. And, while affordability varies throughout the region, it’s steep across the GTA; Mississauga condos command 10 times a single buyers’ income, while Vaughn costs 11 times the median household income.

Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor of, a leading real estate resource that uses full brokerage service and online tools to empower Canadians to buy or sell their home faster, easier, and more successfully.



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