Wednesday, November 15, 2023 / by Matthew Daniel Tamburello
Matthew Daniel Tamburello
Team Leader & Broker
Trinity Real Estate Consultants
Toronto is one of the hottest real estate markets in Canada, which is one of the reasons why property prices keep increasing in this region. While the city has all types of properties available, owning a condo in Toronto is a great way to get the most out of the city while also reducing the amount of maintenance you have to do.
The first step is saving up enough for a downpayment for a condo in Toronto. However, the city and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a wide array of condo properties to offer. Because of this, down payment amounts vary tremendously.
In this article, we’ll share the average price of a down payment for a condo and tell you the best times to purchase this type of property in the GTA. We’ll also share three tips to help make your down payments easier and faster.
Average Price for a Down Payment for Condo in Toronto
In order to save for a minimum down payment in Ontario’s most coveted city, you need to know the current condo prices. According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board or TRREB, the average condo apartment price in Toronto is $789,869. Condo townhouses, on the other hand, have a price tag of $909,207 on average.
With the above in mind, it’s important to understand that condo prices vary tremendously. You should work closely with your real estate agent to search condos that match your criteria in terms of amenities and budget.
Now, once you have an idea of how much you want to pay for your condo, you can calculate the approximate minimum down payment.
In Canada, most lenders will require a down payment of 5% for properties that cost $500,000 or less. When purchasing properties that exceed this cost, you pay 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the remainder of the value.
Condos priced by their location tend to cost more in terms of square footage, so you can determine what’s more important by setting an eligibility criteria and working with your agent to find the best option.
While the actual down payment amount is essential, you should also consider the different methods you have to acquire this sum of money. Let’s review some of the options.
For most people, saving money is the most time-consuming way to acquire the money for a down payment. In this scenario, you have to pay for your current living expenses while also saving a significant sum in order to work with mortgage experts later on. If this is your plan, it’s important to make changes to your lifestyle, save wherever possible, and ensure that all extra money goes towards your savings.
As you probably already know, a higher down payment results in lower interest rates. If your plan is to purchase your first condo through savings, you should start early, research how much mortgage you need for your dream home, and evaluate the idea of working with a pre-construction condos.
Funds The Canadian government established the Federal Government’s Home Buyers’ Plan in 1992 with the aim of helping individuals purchase homes through alternative means. Simply put, this allows you to put up to $35,000 of your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) towards your down payment. This works on a per-person basis, which means that the RRSP budget for a couple can be as high as $70,000.
There are a couple of important caveats here. First off, the funds can only be used if they have been in your RRSP for at least 90 days. Moreover, you won’t have to pay taxes on these funds if they are repaid within 15 years of being borrowed.
While unconventional, co-ownership is an alternative that’s growing in popularity, especially for younger generations. Although mortgage rates are at an all-time low, buyers still need to cover legal fees, closing costs, and of course, the down payment itself. Instead of waiting, many homeowners-to-be are getting together to cover each other’s remaining amount and buying a condo together.
Buying condos through co-ownership may not be the norm, but it does bring some advantages. For starters, young families can often afford duplex-style homes that are more spacious and have better finishing than two individual apartments. At the same time, this is also a great option for buyers who are working on improving a poor credit score or individuals who see property ownership as an investment.
When Should You Buy A Condo?
Now that we’ve covered how much down payment you’ll need for a home in Toronto, let’s review the best time to buy a condo.
The Toronto real estate market has been thriving for years. However, there are many different variables you should consider before purchasing a condo. This includes condo closing costs, mortgage loan payments, the presence of any credit card debt, property taxes, the cost of mortgage insurance, and land transfer tax, among other factors.
With the above in mind, the purchase price and source of your down payment are among the most important variables. The Toronto condo cost determines the actual down payment required, and once set, it doesn’t change. But, the source of the funds may affect your down payment cost now and in the long run.
When Saving Up Funds…
If you save money for a down payment, your overall costs will be lower. This is because the funds will come out of your own pocket, rather than a third party provider, like a loan broker. Variables like tax refunds can accelerate the savings process, but this is known as the long route.
Keep in mind that saving up money takes time and the real estate market is unpredictable. If you delay your condo purchase because you want to save, you may find completely different conditions by the time your bank account has enough money.
When Borrowing for a Down Payment…
This option is usually only available to individuals with great credit. But, if you qualify for a personal loan or another type of non-mortgage financing, you also have the option of taking out a loan in order to cover your down payment.
In these cases, being self-employed may also become a challenge. Note that there’s also a chance the new credit line may affect your mortgage interest rate, so explore this option at your own risk.
Tips to Make Your Down Payment Easier and Faster
Whether you’re saving up for your condo down payment or taking an alternate route, there are steps that you can take to make the process simpler and easier. These include:
1. Work on Your Credit Before Requesting a Mortgage
Your credit score affects both the minimum down payment for your mortgage and the interest rates you receive there after. Consider working on your credit score proactively before applying for a mortgage loan from your bank.
2. Research Every Lender and Understand All Contract Stipulations
There are many lenders that specialize in mortgage loans, including entire departments within banks and similar institutions. Make sure to research all your alternatives and understand the designated contract stipulations before making a final decision.
3. Keep Your Financial Limitations in Mind
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid maxing out your mortgage budget. The reason is that this will help you control costs and give you a bit more flexibility to go over your budget later on.
Buying a condo in Toronto may require a bigger down payment than in most other Canadian markets. That said, the city is one of the country’s cultural, financial, and travel hubs, making it one of the best places to live.
To learn more about purchasing a condo in Toronto or any other part of Canada, contact Trinity Real Estate Consultants team today.