Article edited in March 2024
Are you exploring property options in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but uncertain about the best Greater Toronto Area Neighborhoods for first time buyers? We’ve curated a list of locations that prioritize affordability and location for your convenience!
Given that first-time homebuyers often gravitate towards property types like condos and townhomes, our recommendations are tailored to these preferences. Whether you’re starting a family, moving in with a partner, or investing for your financial future, there are numerous options ideal for first-time buyers. And, while purchasing in downtown Toronto might be financially challenging for newcomers, there are several affordable locations outside of the city.
To help you gauge feasible choices, we’ve compiled a list of locations based on MLS benchmark prices and proximity to Toronto.
Best Greater Toronto Area Neighborhoods for First Time buyers based on Transport & Affordability
Best Greater Toronto Area Neighborhoods for First-Time buyers in Terms of Affordability:
If you’re open to residing a bit further from Toronto, Innisfil is a growing town with much to offer. The town’s distance from Toronto helps to keep prices relatively low, while the rural charm and future potential make it a good option for those looking to invest in real estate.
Innisfil has one of Ontario’s most ambitious and innovative plans for the future. Known as ‘The Orbit’, the town’s vision for the future includes plans to increase the population by 150,000 while preserving natural agricultural land and bringing a small town feel to a growing population. The Orbit will include a complete community, with access to railway stations, public transport, hospitals, schools, community centre parks and more. Innisfil is already praised for its scenic charm, nestled along the shores of Lake Simcoe, and the Orbit will only make it more appealing to new homebuyers and those looking to start a family.
For those seeking a small, family-friendly town with affordable housing, Orangeville fits the bill. With benchmark prices for apartments being $506,100 and townhouses at $563,800. Orangeville offers homes within various budget ranges. With limited transit and an approximately 80 km commute, it might be a little far for those working in Toronto. However, Orangeville is within a short drive of both Mississauga and Brampton, so there are lots of big city options nearby. Regardless, you may not even want to leave your community as it is home to urban amenities and potential job opportunities, catering to diverse lifestyles and priorities.
Best Greater Toronto Area Neighborhoods for First-Time buyers based on Affordability and Transport:
Oshawa offers some of the most affordable housing in the GTA, with benchmark prices of $501,900 for apartments and $589,400 for townhouses. Beyond its proximity to Toronto, Oshawa boasts a vibrant job market and abundant natural attractions, making it an appealing choice for first-time homebuyers. Oshawa offers direct rides to Toronto’s Union Station thanks to regular GO train services that run every 15 minutes at peak times and take approximately an hour to get to downtown Toronto. Those regular trains plus the 401 make Oshawa an excellent commuter option, whether you are going to Toronto or elsewhere in the GTA.
There is also good investment potential in the area thanks to the growing academic institutions in the area. Oshawa is home to both Durham College and Ontario Tech University, which brings regular renters to the area and makes local real estate a great option for investing in rental properties.
As a growing city on Toronto’s outskirts, Brampton offers convenient commuting options through GO Stations and a manageable drive ranging from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on traffic. In the near future, the Hurontario LRTis also set to open and offer even more efficient transit services through Peel Region that residents of Brapton can enjoy.
With its cultural diversity, plentiful job opportunities, and natural beauty, Brampton stands out as an attractive location for those seeking proximity to Toronto without straying too far. Brampton is also a great area for raising a family with over 250 schools in the peel region.
For those prioritizing easy access to Toronto, Pickering is an ideal choice. Located just east of Toronto, Pickering boasts a short GO train ride, from Pickering GO to Union Station. Those train services can get you to downtown Toronto in as little as 45 minutes at rush hour. Commuting by car is also an option since Pickering borders Toronto, but you should check the usual traffic conditions if that is how you will be getting to work.
With apartments starting at $587,000 and townhouses at $663,400, Pickering offers an array of affordable property options for first-time buyers.
With its efficient public transit and short 30–50-minute drives to Toronto, Mississauga tops the list for those emphasizing transportation convenience. Mississauga has a number of GO Stations, with about 30-minute rides straight to Toronto, the future Hurontario LRT, and it’s also home to Pearson airport.
Mississauga also boasts a prime offering of friendly neighborhoods. With over 300 schools, a diverse community, and affordable apartments averaging around $595,800, Mississauga provides an ideal environment for starting a family and investing in your first home.
* All quoted benchmark prices based on TRREB report for January 2024.