Buying in Established Neighbourhoods vs New Developments

You’ve looked around at new developments. New subdivisions are alluring alright.

Do they match your vision of how you want to live? Actually, where do you find the home of your dreams?

When new developments wear thin, take a second look at older areas. Our guide to established neighbourhoods vs new developments can show you how to decide what’s right for you.

Quick Reads

Are neighbourhood and subdivision the same?

What is an established neighborhood?

How do you evaluate a new neighborhood?

What is a sub neighborhood?

Finding special pocket neighbourhoods

girl walking on the garden
Image by Jill Wellington| Pixabay.

Buying Into a Neighbourhood vs Subdivision 

When you think of new subdivisions, think of a parcel of land carved up to create mostly residential homes. Subdivisions are subject to zoning and bylaws, just like neighbourhoods. The difference is they are specific to the land, such as if you can build a single family home or condo tower. What happens to the deposit when buying a house.  

Neighbourhoods have a blend of properties, from commercial offices to industrial warehouses and places to live. The whole space around you, from the roads to GO stations, schools, stores, homes, and conveniences, are what make your neighbourhood a home. 

When It’s an Established Neighourhood…

…expect shady, tree-lined streets with a blend of historically interesting and new architecture. The landscaping alone may be worth the price. And here’s another thing: established neighbourhoods have an advantage over new developments because mature services have taken root as residents moved in. 

Walkability scores are higher (you can get more places on foot), and public demand for transit means it’s usually an easy hike from home or work. The more types of housing an established neighbourhood has, the more diverse your neighbours are likely to be. 

Schools and universities in established neighbourhoods have history — they or their detractors post their academic ratings online. Like so many things in an established neighbourhood, access is pretty well a sure bet. Pocket change. How an amazing Toronto neighbourhood is evolving

How to Evaluate a New Neighborhood

How new is a new subdivision? 

If Indie bookstores and coffee shops, or an abundance of leasable space but a dearth of big box retailers aren’t obvious clues, talk to the municipal office or go online. It pays to know how many taxpayers live there, when the municipality was created, and if major costs like underground electrical services and water line upgrades are paid for. 

New developments are expensive, and unless a larger developer has installed these already, you could be facing major expenses as demand for services in a new neighbourhood increases.

Your new subdivision may look impressive with its nicely designed plots and brand-new street lamps. Realistically, how far will you have to travel and what will it cost to get to shopping centres, food stores, child care, schools, a GO station, or your job? It’s just a matter of time until new developments are active communities. Be prepared to wait.

How to get a RRSP mortgage

The Sub Neighbourhood: Why to Move There

Urban neighbourhoods, with their all-night diners, splashy theatres, and hot nightspots, can be exciting, bustling places. If the constant noise and higher prices are wearing you down, a “sub” neighbourhood (no, we don’t mean The Sims) could be for you. 

Who Lives in the Suburbs, Anyway?

Suburbs give you space to stretch out, and pocket neighbourhoods can be even more enticiing. Sub neighbourhoods are close to urban areas, with larger lots and more spacious homes. The pace is slower and the prices lower. The suburbs’ reputation as family-friendly spaces still holds true, but that’s not all that’s going on. 

What’s There to Do?

Shopping, obviously, in sprawling malls or cute, streetside boutiques. Suburban playgrounds of all kinds (parks, pubs, or local hangouts) are a growing thing, and “recreationalists” will appreciate the quick jaunt to the beach or forest. What to know if you’re a first time home buyer (Ontario). 

Is Commuting Safe?

Commuting is a trade-off. Making the daily trek from Uxbridge or Clarington to downtown Toronto cost upwards of $800 a month when CMHC canvassed Ontarians in 2018. A 2022 University of Toronto survey discovered long commutes (60 minutes or more) can unsettle your day and even affect your mental health.  

Better Price, Better Life

Sub neighbourhoods are lighter on the wallet, giving you more money to spend your own way. Two-bedroom townhouses in Hamilton were going for $683,000 in fall 2022. That compared to $990,000 in Toronto. You could be bored at first, and walking to transit, a grocery store, or city hall takes getting used to. But then, bike lanes are less crowded and coffee shops can be a fun place to meet your clan.

Getting to Know Your Neighbours

For the ultimate in civility, look for a pocket neighbourhood. It could be a friendly cluster of homes sited along a narrow street, laneway homes facing on an alleyway, or new developments like close-knit townhouse projects with shared commons. Who’s up for community togetherness?

Asking help from lawyers

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Axess Law reviews offers to purchase a home or land to make sure yours protects your legal and financial interests. Plan for the real estate closing process (Ontario). 

Your Axess Law real estate lawyer looks for a professional home inspection clause. We negotiate with the seller’s lawyer if the inspector suggests minor repairs, or structural issues make a home worth less than you offered. We help you break your contract if the cost is more than you hoped to pay, and advise on what happens to your deposit if you cancel. Questions to ask your real estate lawyer

When finding the mortgage terms you want takes longer than you planned, your Axess Law real estate lawyer talks to the seller’s lawyer to amend your agreement of purchase and sale. We extend your completion date where possible, and tell you what the options are if the seller balks. 

Bring this to your legal appointment

When you’re ready to close your real estate transaction, Axess Law searches title to the property for financial claims or construction liens that could complicate your purchase. We transfer the title to your name, and can add a spouse to title before you close or after. 

Virtual Closings for Your Convenience

Closing real estate transactions is easier with Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyer services. Trust in our remote video conferencing services for secure, confidential real estate transactions. You can sign the closing documents and mortgage papers from any compatible home computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device, without leaving your home or office. We witness your signature, and email you a copy for your records. 

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Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.

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Go Online or Phone Toll Free to Book a Lawyer

Create legal appointments online with our handy web form, or call us toll free to 1-877-402-4277 (647-479-0118 in Greater Toronto Area). Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers can meet with you day or evening, anywhere in Ontario, by online video call. Regardless of how busy your schedule is, we can make time 7 days a week, or meet with you in person at any of our conveniently located Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices.

Axess Law has onsite parking, and easy transit access.