toronto home prices 1970s

50-year-old ads for dirt-cheap Toronto houses show how far the city has fallen

Toronto home prices of yesteryear are almost impossible to comprehend in the frenzied real estate market of the 2020s, but vintage ads for housing serve as a painful reminder of just how much times have changed since the mid-20th century.

An advertisement for a home up for sale in the 1960s for under $17,000 generated some buzz in March, showing just how much inflation and the rising cost of a home in Toronto have moved the needle further away from affordability over subsequent decades.

Home prices were still astonishingly cheap well into the 1970s, as evidenced by an entire catalogue of houses for sale from 1973.

Urban planner Gil Meslin shared photos of a 51-year-old Toronto Real Estate Board (since renamed to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board) catalogue on X this week, showing home prices as they appeared in 1973.

Homes on the east side of the city could be scooped up for as cheap as the $30,000 range back in this era, though many houses were listed for prices north of $70k — which adjusts for inflation to $487,543.86 in 2024 dollars according to the Bank of Canada's inflation calculator.

That's still a steep price to pay for a home on a global scale, but compared to Toronto's average March 2024 selling price of $1,121,615, it's a steal.

On the west side of the city, you could purchase a one-bedroom condo for just $17k, compared to the average March 2024 condo price in Toronto of just over $700k Also pictured is a three-bedroom townhome priced at just $32k.

These prices seem like a fantasy in a Toronto where the cost of owning a home continues to increase. Locals now have to earn an average annual income of $214,100 to afford a home in the city, and even existing homeowners are feeling the burn through rising maintenance fees and changes to lending rates.

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