A $400,000 budget will buy 791 square feet of home in Hamilton, the cheapest in the GTHA – study

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Published December 11, 2023 at 4:12 pm

A home-buying budget of $400,000 is not going to buy much anywhere within commuting distance of Toronto but it should get you something, right?

Point2Point Homes, a real estate listing portals that connects real estate agents with buyers looking for a home or real estate investment, looked at Ontario’s 30 biggest cities and their numbers showed that you had to go all the way to #8 – Hamilton – to find a community in the Golden Horseshoe that gave home buyers any kind of bang for their buck.

Homes in Hamilton, which has a benchmark home price of $766,100, are valued at $506 per square foot, which means buyers can acquire a whole 791 square feet for their $400,000 investment, assuming such a property existed.

There are relative bargains available, but you must travel far to find them. Thunder Bay tops the list, with $400,000 buying you 1,325 sq. ft, followed by Chatham-Kent at 1,081 sq. ft and Greater Sudbury at exactly 1,000 sq. ft.

After reaching a peak of nearly $930,000 in May, the average home price in Ontario dropped to $855,990 in October, nearly equal to the same month in 2022 and very much out of the financial league of at least half the buyers in Toronto, not to mention the less expensive cities in the province.

With prices per square foot ranging from $302 to $1,013, half the province’s average home price would go a very long way in some cities, while barely moving the needle in other major urban hubs, especially around the GTA.

Homebuyers in Toronto, Oakville and Vaughan face the bleakest prospects: $400,000 would buy less than 500 square feet of living space.

What’s more, according to the report, it’s not only that this amount would secure very little space in most of Ontario’s largest cities, but it’s also practically impossible to find homes around this price point anymore. So, buyers here are facing a tough choice — crammed quarters for less money or a more decent amount of elbow room, but for all the money in the bank.

They could move to Thunder Bay, Chatham-Kent or Greater Sudbury, with prices per square foot half of the provincial average and a third of the prices in downtown Toronto but for most buyers, moving to another city, town or even suburb isn’t really an option. While some home seekers might consider buying in cities that offer better bargains, most buyers would never trade the lifestyle and employment opportunities the largest cities offer for more living space.

Hamilton, nearby #9 Brantford ($512 per sq. ft) and #10 Oshawa ($516) are options, but #16 Brampton ($602 per sq. ft), #19 Milton ($633 per sq. ft) and 23rd-ranked Mississauga – where $400,000 will buy you less than 600 square feet (at $668 per sq. ft) – become economic trade-offs only the individual home buyer can decide upon.

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