Loading articles...

Ditching the traditional Toronto, GTA housing market

Last Updated Sep 7, 2016 at 7:57 pm EDT

As housing sales in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area hit a record high, some people choose to not be fazed by the property wars and stress that comes with purchasing a home, but instead find unique ways to create their own definition of what a home is.

According to the Canadian Press, the Toronto Real Estate Board had 9,318 sales in August alone, up 23.5 per cent from the same month last year.

The average price for homes sold, regardless of type of property, was $710,410, an increase of 17.7 per cent. Detached homes in the city of Toronto proper cost on average $1.2 million, up 18.3 per cent.

But instead of the big back yard and wrap around porches, CityNews searched for people who take the home purchasing process a little differently.

Penny Barr stands in her float boat home located at Bluffer's Park Marina. CITYNEWS/Adrian Ghobrial
Penny Barr stands in her float boat home located at Bluffer’s Park Marina. CITYNEWS/Adrian Ghobrial


Penny Barr
$150,000 (2000)

For Penny Barr, nothing compares to the community that comes with living on a float boat.

“The community makes living here priceless,” she said.

Barr has resided on her float boat home in Bluffer’s Park Marina for 15 years and describes it as similar to living on a boat.

“It’s not for everyone but it’s an amazing place to live,” Barr said.

The home, around 1500 square feet, has its challenges space wise, but once you figure it out it has all the comforts and amenities of a house on land.

“Where can you live where you can feed swans out your balcony door,” she said.

Roy Cronnis on his deck of his float home. CITYNEWS/Adrian Ghobrial
Roy Cronnis on his deck of his float home. CITYNEWS/Adrian Ghobrial


Roy Cronnis
$600,000 (2015)

Roy Cronnis and his wife wanted to stay inside the city but when they started looking couldn’t find anything reasonable. Even when they did put an offer down, they wouldn’t get it.

“In our case we were looking in the city of Toronto and we couldn’t find anything,” he said.

That’s when they looked to Bluffer’s Park Marina and purchased their first float home, just last year.

Their new home is close to downtown – a 20-minute GO train ride.

“It’s perfect,” said Cronnis.

He described it as a reasonable priced option and he loves the lifestyle it gives them. Cronnis said they will stay on the float home all year round, like many of his neighbours.

“Great community, you’re always outdoors,” he said. “Paddle boarding, hiking and kayaking.”

One example of a shipping container home from Meka. Image courtesy: Meka World


Shipping Container Homes
$1,500 to $40,000

A Toronto based company called Meka is taking living, outside the box.

“People are actually building shipping container homes, which means those big shipping containers, they’re taking those cutting them out,” Romana King, senior editor at MoneySense Magazine, said. “Putting windows in doors, fabricating them and building homes.”

A shipping container can be purchase brand new for $5,000 – – or $1,500 for a used one – and turned into a living space.

Meka prefabricated the containers and will fully furnish the 350 square unit for $40,000.

“Put a couple of those together and it would make a lovely open concept space,” King said.

There are currently two float homes on the market at Bluffer’s Park Marina listed for $299,000 and $589,000, both a steal compared to the current housing prices in the city, GTA.

With files from The Canadian Press