Scarborough is a former city east of Toronto, which later became part of Toronto, during the amalgamation of six cities that occurred in 1998 (this could be one reason why Drake gives Toronto “the Six” nickname).
Scarborough is home to plenty of parks, and a very diverse culture, with many great food restaurants. In fact, an economist claimed that Scarborough is the ‘best ethnic food suburb.’ (as someone who was born and raised in Scarborough, I can attest to this – especially the late night Hakka food runs).
Despite what Scarborough has to offer – there continues to be many myths, that aren’t exactly true. As a result of these myths, Scarborough is a very underrated region of the GTA, making it a ‘best kept secret’ for buying real estate in Toronto.
1) ‘It’s not safe’
Yes, like every other region, Scarborough may have some areas that are overshadowed. There has been a negative perception around some areas, such as Galloway and Malvern.
Although many believe Scarborough to be ‘dangerous’ or ‘unsafe,’ crime rates are actually below average. According to Toronto Life, violent crime and property crime occurred more often in the West more often than the East.
2) ‘It’s run down’
Every region has good and bad areas – it’s typical. Many non-Scarborough residents think of it as the ‘ghetto.’ There are many underrated, upscale areas in Scarborough, such as Guildwood, Port Union, and Highland Creek. In fact, Hill Crescent is home to some of Toronto’s upscale real estate, featuring multi-million-dollar lake-view properties.
Scarborough has been improving in terms of infrastructure – where many plazas and apartment buildings are being renovated. Another plus is the fact Canada’s top University, University of Toronto, has a campus situated in Scarborough’s Highland Creek area.
3) ‘Nobody wants to live in Scarborough’
Not according to the numbers. Toronto Star mentioned that Toronto’s east end has some of city’s hottest Real Estate. Many prospect homebuyers are beginning to realize they get a good deal for their buck in Scarborough, with relatively the same amount of amenities/transportation services offered.
In a recent Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) report, the Toronto East region had the highest Avg. SP/LP (Avg. Sales Price/Listing Price) ratio in June 2016. Toronto East had an Avg. SP/LP of 108%, where Toronto West and Toronto Central had an Avg. SP/LP of 105%, and 104% respectively.
4) ‘There’s nothing to do in Scarborough’
There are plenty of activities to do in Scarborough, 24/7/365. Scarborough is known for its waterfront, which includes the scenic Scarborough Bluffs, Guildwood Park, Port Union Village Common Park, and Rouge Valley Beach. These places never fail to impress (also, many Instagram worthy pictures – another important factor for many millennials).
The list goes on, from the Scarborough Town Centre, Toronto Zoo, 24/7 restaurants, and Thursday Night Parties at the Stone Cottage Pub.
5) ‘Terrible commute’
Although Scarborough has less subway stops than other Toronto regions (such as North York), it is connected to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – one of the best transportation systems in Canada. Currently, there are plans to improve the transportation services for Scarborough, such as the Scarborough Subway. Aside from the TTC, Scarborough residents also have the option of taking the GO Transit, with stations throughout the region.
Even by car, Scarborough is relatively close to downtown – going via the DVP, or even going straight down Kingston Road would get you to downtown, Toronto in approximately 20 – 30 minutes.
Purchasing Real Estate is a big deal. Focusing on the location is a crucial factor. It’s always best to consider each area, compare the pros, cons, and the costs. In some under-rated areas, such as Scarborough, you may get a great deal. In fact, some new pre-construction homes in Scarborough are cheaper than the GTA average, although Scarborough is closer to downtown, Toronto.
You may also be interested in: How do RRSPs Work? – learn how to take advantage of the Home Buyers’ (HBP) plan to purchase your first home.
Writer: Jelani Smith
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