Toronto Life’s most popular real estate stories of 2022
Market hacks, pandemic returners and dazzling new builds—2022 was the industry’s wildest year yet
This year was a rollercoaster for real estate in the city. Prices reached unprecedented highs before giving way to hiked interest rates and a buyer’s market. The cost of everything forced renters and owners alike to get creative: hacking the game with savvy moves, building new stock in laneways and backyards, upgrading existing homes with stunning design.
Still, the housing crisis persists with no end in sight. Inflation, landlord-tenant feuds, renovictions, loose laws and developer impropriety have pushed many Torontonians to the edge.
It’s enough to make any rational person pack up and leave. And plenty did. But, for the devout Torontonians among us, not for long. Indeed, 2022 was the year of the great return, in which many pandemic nomads finally came back home. Even in the face of real-estate market insanity, they missed Toronto’s energy, culture and, above all, its people.
Here are Toronto Life’s most popular real estate stories from the past year.
No. 10: This actor pays $700 a month for an apartment in Parkdale, but it’s only 184 square feet. How does he make it work?
Truro-born Wayne Burns faced an impossible task of transforming a doll-house-size unit into actual home. His strategy (with a little help from Mom): use clothing tubs, hang clothes in an exposed piping system and sell some records to buy a sleeper couch. | Iris Benaroia | February 10
Anjali Rego, Dickson D’Souza and their two daughters were sure they had found a great starter home by the Cooksville GO station—but it needed a lot of work. So, to save money, they did most of the reno work themselves on evenings and weekends. Here’s how that panned out. | Ali Amad | May 11
No. 8: A Toronto family knew buying in the city would leave them house poor, so they bought this $208,000 church in Paisley. Now they just need to renovate
Models Daniel and Madison Liu wanted to work in Toronto but also own a spacious family home. That led them to buying a quaint fixer-upper church in the southwestern village of Paisley. Here’s what happened next. | Andrea Yu | February 17
The newly legalized construction of laneway suites has been touted by housing advocates as an essential tool to conquer the affordability crisis. Retired event planner Kasey Watson saw the shift as a way to take care of her brother. | Andrea Yu | April 29
No. 6: This family had an initial home-buying budget of $150,000. Where did they end up finding a place?
As a working couple with three young children, Jessica and Phillip were desperate to find a family home. How about a three-bed, three-bath in Thunder Bay for $219,000? While tempting, it would mean leaving their friends and family in Toronto. | Andrea Yu | February 24
No. 5: This Toronto couple built a $550,000 laneway house as a place to retire. In the meantime, they’re renting it out for $3,200 a month
When planning retirement, many couples downsize to a condo or perhaps jettison to the suburbs. Karen Craine and Franz Hartmann instead chose a different route, building a completely new home in their backyard and renting it out as a pension. | Ethan Rotberg | January 27
No. 4: I never planned to buy a cottage. Then I saw my grandfather’s old property in Algonquin listed for $220,000
Kathleen O’Connor grew up in Oshawa without much money, yet she and her family cherished vacations in nature. So, one day, she bought her grandfather’s old Algonquin cottage as a new destination for her young family. | Kathleen O’Connor | May 20
No. 3: She wanted to downsize and live near her daughter. So she spent $579,000 for two condo units in a converted church in Brantford
Joanne Sparrow had enough of commuting downtown from Oakville and being away from her daughter. Then she solved both problems by landing a new home in a small-town church. | Andrea Yu | January 21
No. 2: The Homecoming Club: Five families on leaving Toronto, regretting it, and finding their way home
They traded city life for more square footage elsewhere. Then what? In a nutshell, they hated it—and they’re moving back. Here are their stories. | October 25
What happens when you flee Toronto for Alberta and then realize that everything you love about your life didn’t move with you? You move back home, just as Jackie Thomas did in 2022. | Jackie Thomas | December 13