It is easy to compare Toronto and New York, as they are both two of the most populous cities in North America. Toronto has a population of 2.7 million people, while New York City’s population is at 8.5 million people (and that doesn’t include the wider metropolitan area). Toronto and New York both have bustling economies with Toronto being home to Canada’s financial centre and its major stock market, as well as many start-up companies; whereas New York City has been the heart of American finance for over 200 years! With so much going on in these two cities, it comes as no surprise that real estate prices vary greatly between Toronto and New York even though they live just across the border from each other!
In this article, we will be comparing New York vs Toronto real estate. From property types to the cost of living, we’ve matched these two cities up and compared different aspects of their real estate markets to give you some clarity on what really makes these two cities so similar (and unique).
Toronto VS New York: Property Types
Both New York and Toronto have several property types to choose from when looking at homes for sale.
While Toronto is comparable to New York, the property types you’ll find in Toronto are pretty different. One of the top housing types you’ll find in Toronto is a bungalow, which is pretty rare in New York. Primarily coming into play in the 20th century, bungalows are typically used to describe single-story houses. They generally have a low-sloped, overhanging roof and an open porch area.
Taking inspiration from European architecture, many of the homes for sale in Toronto are Tudor Revival style, with brick or stone foundations and a rustic feel. Other popular home styles include Georgian Revival, Arts and Craft Homes, Art Deco, and a few modern, new construction homes. You also find typical housing formats such as single family, mulit-family, townhomes and condos in Toronto.
If you’re not living in a condo or apartment complex in New York, you’ll probably be living in a brownstone (aka townhome) or multi-family home. Many of these homes, especially near the city’s centre, are two or more stories. Since much of New York is pretty condensed, even single-family homes tend to lean on the side of saving space. However, you can find a few single-story homes on the city’s outskirts or within the New York suburbs. There are some multi-family homes and co-ops around New York, but these are not nearly as frequent as the others.
Architects throughout the decades have drawn inspiration from a variety of eras and styles.
Here are some of the most popular styles you’ll find in New York housing:
- Federal Style
- Greek and Gothic Revival
- Queen Anne
- Renaissance Revival
- Art Deco
Winner: None (Toronto might legitimately have more options but New York has a bit more style)
Toronto VS New York: Housing Availability
It is clear that both New York and Toronto are heavily populated, so let’s look at how that affects the availability of housing in each city.
The number of listings available in Toronto is significantly lower than in New York. Given Toronto’s geographic placement between two bodies of water, there is limited space in the Canadian city. Not only is there limited space, but many homes in Toronto have been owned for decades and passed down through generations, so it’s not often that a ton of homes are on the market. In November of 2021, Toronto had 6,086 active listings.
New York has a significantly higher number of homes for sale. A lot of revitalization happens in New York, especially closer to the city centre, so it’s common to see commercial buildings being turned into condos or apartments. With that said, you’ll find a lot more housing options in New York than in Toronto. In October of 2021, New York saw 16,563 active listings, even after a significant decrease.
Winner: New York (If it were Manhattan vs Toronto, Toronto might be winning.)
Toronto VS New York: Housing Affordability
Both Toronto and New York have higher housing prices than other cities in their respective countries, but let’s see how the two cities truly compare.
Toronto’s demand for homes and lack of supply have caused a price surge in housing over the past decade. However, like New York, Toronto is an extremely convenient city to live in with ample opportunities, so it makes sense that housing gets more pricey as the city continues to grow. In Q1 of 2021, the average home price in Toronto was $1.1M.
Historically, one would assume that New York is consistently more expensive than Toronto in a majority of sectors, including housing. However, over the past few years, it appears that Toronto has taken over the title. In the first quarter of 2021, the median home price in New York was around $800,000, a little over $200,000 less than Toronto’s average. Take a look at the figure below from Oxford Economics to see how New York and Toronto matchup against each other and other cities regarding housing affordability.
Winner: New York
Toronto VS New York: Cost of Living
With a big city like Toronto or New York, you’ll have access to so many amenities and attractions, which can impact the cost of living. Here are some insights on the living costs in both cities.
The cost of living in Toronto is less than New York in nearly every area: food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, and personal care. All together, Toronto’s cost of living is about 29% lower than New York. A family of four in Toronto can typically get by on $100,000 per year, which is just ⅕ of the amount required for a similar lifestyle in New York.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the cost of living in New York is one of the most expensive in the world. Even compared to a quickly growing city like Toronto, New York takes the cake for a higher cost of living. A typical family of four in New York would need around $500,000 a year to easily get by in New York.
Toronto VS New York: Schools
While it’s hard to select a winner in higher education in either location. Secondary schools specialize in each location in ways that just aren’t comparable. However, one area we can compare is elementary to high school education.
Toronto is one of the largest districts in all of Canada and continues to win awards. Typically, metro area schools are not very good but Toronto schools actually excel.
New York is anything but average, however, when it comes to schools, New Yorkers tend to be stuck with substandard choices or have to pay for private schools.
Toronto VS New York
Overall, Toronto and New York have some pretty significant differences and similarities. Here’s a summary of our comparisons:
- Wider variety of property types in Toronto
- More housing availability in New York
- Housing is more affordable in New York
- Cost of Living is lower in Toronto
- Schools are better in Toronto
Whether you want to move to Toronto or New York can highly depend on your specific needs and preferences. As with our Los Angeles vs Toronto post, Each city has its pros and cons, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide which fits your lifestyle the best. We hope this has given you some insight into the main differences between Toronto and New York real estate and that this has helped you get one step closer to your dream home in one of these superb locations.