If you want to live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) but commute downtown from outside the city core, you have no shortage of options. There are 24 different towns or cities that surround the ever-expanding megacity of Toronto and fall into that commuter distance range.
Which means that, for someone looking to take the plunge and commute every day, actually picking one of those places to buy a home in can be a complicated decision, with many critical factors to weigh. Luckily, since most of us don't have the time to go out and properly compare them, one proactive brokerage went out and did the work for everyone.
The Red Pin published a study this week called "Best places to live when commuting to downtown Toronto." In compiling the list, it weighed factors such as average house price, average commute time, average price per sq. ft., and average yearly commute time per sq. ft.
Coming in at the very top was Ajax, which strikes a perfect balance between location and affordability. With only Pickering between it and Toronto, and an average house price of just under $720,000—which nets far more spacious properties than similarly close places like Richmond Hill or Vaughan—Ajax commuters have a lot to be happy about.
The rest of the top five was comprised of Pickering, Whitby, Maple/Vaughan, and Port Perry/Scugog. The lowliest option was Burlington, which was preceded by Keswick/Georgina, Oakville, Oshawa, and Milton.
One of the main takeaways from the study is that closeness does not necessarily translate into desirability. If it comes with the poison pill of overpriced, non-spacious homes, then biting the bullet of some extra distance on a commute doesn't matter that much. That's why places like Mississauga and Markham ended up as the sixth- and seventh-worst-ranked places.
Still, there is good value to be found just about anywhere if you look hard enough. These rankings don't mean that you should avoid those areas, just that their overall situation isn't as appealing as some of the others'.