I am solidly into my thirties. I have a good job that compensates me well. I have made mostly good financial choices (well except for a few regrettable, expensive fashion decisions at the Yorkdale Mall in 2003). I don’t live luxuriously by any means. I don’t eat out often. I make my own goddamn coffee most days. And I almost always buy second hand. SO why the fuck can’t I even begin to fathom buying a house in downtown Toronto? Here is my rant about City Living & Home Ownership.
There is something so demoralizing about the current real estate market in Toronto these days. Shacks are selling for $500,000. A borderline condemned, raccoon infested home two streets north of me sold for over $800,000 (listed at 600,000 so it would come down to a bidding war) this spring because it was a detached home. LIKE WTF? How is that even reasonable? We have completely normalized outrageous prices that 2% of the population can actually afford. Toronto Life did this hilarious article a few years ago – the cover of TL depicted a couple sitting in a big empty living room eating old pizza. Bare rooms. They couldn’t afford anything after investing all they had into a buying a home. I think the term is ‘house poor’. The Huffington Post did this post about buying a home in Canadian cities. The Globe did a piece “Can you afford a home in these cities?“. Nope Nope Nope. The average price of homes in neighbourhoods that I like is anywhere between 500$ for a shit hole to 800$ for something nice-ish. Perfect. Well that just makes my dream of owning something other than a horrible constructed shoebox in the sky in downtown Toronto completely unattainable.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is my OSAP/student loan debt. I have incredible student debt because I wanted to do an occupation that requires a graduate degree and I didn’t have the good fortune of having parents who paid for my post secondary education. And I haven’t won the lottery yet. And I haven’t married into a wealthy family yet.
Now that I have that nasty little airing of dirty laundry out of the way, I can continue on with my rant.
It’s all very laughable at this point to me. I am resigned. Sadly. Unless Nan finds me a pot of gold, we ain’t getting our own digs in Toronto. So what is something that has crossed my mind (at least until buying a modest home is sort of obtainable)…. Renting in the city and buying a small cottage type shack somewhere a few hours north of Toronto. Or maybe more. Or maybe a little east. Or maybe not.
A few Christmas’ ago, I was at a family get together and my slightly younger cousin shared very frankly that him and his long term girlfriend were going to always rent in the city and buy a cottage up north somewhere. My ears perked up! Something interesting. I asked why. Straight forward enough, he knew they wouldn’t be able to afford a home in the city for a reasonable price so they wanted to buy something affordable and comfortable OUTSIDE of the city. A cottage.
I like this idea.
Since then it has floated onto my radar that a few other urbanites have done something similar. So maybe this will be how I finally end up getting my own little plot of land. It makes sense for me. I prefer the outdoors. I like projects. I have a feeling that the type of place I could afford would be a fixer-upper but it would be nice to have a weekend project. And I know a few handy dads (whatta ya think pops?) who might be able to help.
So the idea has been conceived. Guess I just need to start looking.
My wish list: 2-3 bedrooms, running water, winterized, some land, not too far from water (river, lake etc.), 2-3 hours from Toronto and that’s it.
Here is what I fantasize about (although I know it will be nothing like this):
Source: Michael Graydon
Source: Vandervort Architects
Here is a real life cottage for sale – boat access only…. My heart. I need it. Built in 1937. Perfectly preserved by the family that owned it.
I am so obsessed with owning a home outside the city, I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to my dream cottage.Pin It