Moving to Toronto

Toronto, home to 2.8 million people, is Canada’s largest city, country’s economic engine and most diverse where over 140 languages and dialects are spoken. It consistently ranks one of the most liveable cities in the world. Over half of Toronto’s residents were born outside of Canada which makes moving to Toronto like jumping into a multicultural melting pot.

1. Economy / Jobs

One of the benefits of moving to Toronto is its diverse economy. The city is not reliant on one or two sectors. Here is a list of of few employment sectors in Toronto:

  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • High-tech
  • Film Industry
  • Construction
  • Finance
  • Services

2. Weather

It’s cold in the winter but not as cold as Quebec City or Winnipeg or as warm as Windsor. Sometimes it does feel there are only two seasons: Winter and Summer!

3. Things to Do

The list of things to do if you are moving to Toronto is endless. Lots of public parks, street festivals, art, theatre, concerts, sports take place across the city throughout the year. There is something to do for everyone. To stay up to date on what takes place in the city visit Toronto.comTorontoLife.com and blogTO.com

4. Transit

Traffic jams and congestion is the best way to describe the city roads. Using public transit is the most efficient way of moving around utilizing the subway system, streetcars and buses. Although Toronto’s transit system is no where close to European standards, there has been and continues to be major investments by all levels of government to build additional transit, eg. Eglinton Crosstown LRT and York subway extension. If you are a cyclist moving to Toronto, bike infrastructure is coming along with more dedicated bike lanes and bike lanes connecting the various corners of the city.

5. Toronto Neighbourhoods

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods offering a variety of cultures and experiences. Here are some of the area to explore if moving to Toronto:

6. Toronto Real Estate

If you are moving to Toronto and considering buying real estate in the city there are 2 things you need to know:

Non-resident speculation tax and land transfer taxes

For non-residents, the provincial government introduced on April 21, 2017 a new tax called Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST). 15% is added to the purchase price of a property at closing for non-residents if a property is purchased in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region. It is rebatable if certain conditions are met such as the non-resident gets residency status within 4 years or a child goes to school for at least 2 years. For more information visit: NRST and consult with a real estate lawyer.

For all purchasers, residents and non-residents, land transfer taxes apply at closing. In the city of Toronto, there are two land transfer taxes; one paid to the city of Toronto and one paid to the Province of Ontario. If buying a property in Ontario outside the city of Toronto, only the provincial land transfer tax is paid.

Mortgage Financing

For non-resident or foreign buyers, 35% is the typical downpayment required to get mortgage financing for a property. For new immigrants moving to Toronto, programs allowing a purchase with 5% downpayment exist as long as certain conditions are met.

Toronto’s real estate market has been one of the strongest global markets appreciating at above inflation for over 15 years with the exception of a slight blip due to the financial credit crisis in 2008/2009. Due to its liveability, diverse employment, stable government and economy, moving to Toronto is high on many immigrants agenda which is evident in its multicultural diversity.  Strong immigration, changing demographics, foreigners looking for security and government regulations, creates consistent strong demand for Toronto’s real estate market which supply hasn’t kept up with. Prices have appreciated in the double digits for many years now.