Looking to Move Near Transit? These Are the GTA’s Most Affordable Homes. – 2024

The Greater Toronto Area takes up a significant portion of the Golden Horseshoe and is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. If you’re thinking about moving to the GTA, you’ll have the option of living in Toronto and its 25 surrounding municipalities.

As with any major metropolitan area, transportation serves as the backbone to the GTA, providing residents with a cheaper, environmentally-friendly and convenient option when it comes time for bumper to bumper traffic. 

At the heart of the GTA’s transportation is GO Transit, the fastest method to get in and out of Toronto. With increasing prices of condos for sale in downtown Toronto, many choose to live out of the big city and commute into work. GO Trains alone serve 215,500 people daily, and it makes moving near a train station a luxury.

Read on to discover where you can find the cheapest area in GTA to buy a house near transit that takes you easily to downtown Toronto!

Methodology

We ranked the 5 most affordable places to buy a property or to rent in Toronto (GTA) with convenient transit access to downtown Toronto on a weekday during evening rush hour. This ranking is based on three factors: the average property purchasing cost, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in December 2023, and overall quality of life. Data was sourced from Redfin Real Estate Housing Market Reports for property purchasing costs and Zumper for average apartment rental costs.

The “Best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we don’t only look for transit friendly options, but we also look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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Looking to Move Near Transit? These Are the GTA’s Most Affordable Homes.

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1. Oshawa

Oshawa
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,850
  • Average property buying cost: $740,000
  • Commute Time (by car): 45–70 minutes
  • Commute Time (public transit): 70–88 minutes

Our top choice is Oshawa, one of the cheapest places to live near Toronto. Located in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area along Lake Ontario, it offers a convenient and tranquil lifestyle. Residents value its proximity to downtown Toronto, easily accessible via Go Transit (train or bus) or Via Rail, with a 70 to 88 minute commute. Also, it is connected to the 401 highway, making a 45 to 70-minute drive easy.

Noted by many locals, it is advisable to avoid the downtown Oshawa area due to an increase in homelessness. Nevertheless, they appreciate the peaceful green areas, such as Lakeview Park and Lakefront West Park, which promote outdoor recreation and family-friendly activities.

Housing in Oshawa mainly consists of apartments and some semi detached homes. As of December 2023, theaverage price of a property is $740,000, while theaverage rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,850.

Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (2023)

Oshawa, Ontario

2. Whitby

  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $1,848
  • Average property buying cost: $957,000
  • Commute Time (by car): 45–70 minutes
  • Commute Time (public transit): 70–88 minutes

Located east of Toronto within the GTA, Whitby offers an affordable living option for those seeking convenient access to Downtown Toronto. Housing choices include single-detached homes, apartments, and condominiums. As of December 2023, the average property cost is $957,000, and the monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment averages $1,848.

Whitby’s charm goes beyond its real estate affordability compared to nearby GTA cities. Residents delight in outdoor activities within its green spaces, including parks and trails like Heber Down Conservation Area, Thickson’s Woods, and the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Thanks to its strategic location, Whitby offers easy access to Downtown Toronto through the GO train, connecting to Toronto City Hall with an approximate travel time of 70 to 88 minutes in rush hour. Driving, on the other hand, typically takes about 45 to 70 minutes via the ON-401 Express highway.

Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Whitby, Ontario

3. Etobicoke

  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $2,050
  • Average property buying cost: $950,000
  • Commute Time (by car): 14–30 minutes
  • Commute Time (public transit): 50–60 minutes

Etobicoke, located west of Toronto’s downtown core with Lake Ontario to the south, provides scenic waterfront views and recreational activities like walks and cycling. Residents love its green spaces, including parks like Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Centennial Park, and various golf courses. Etobicoke City Centre seamlessly combines city and suburban living, offering diverse dining, shopping, and local businesses.

The commute to Downtown Toronto is quick, taking just 14 to 40 minutes by car in rush hour via the Gardiner Expressway or Lake Shore Boulevard West. Alternatively, it takes around 50 to 60 minutes by public transit, using a combination of train and bus. Good news, it’s just a 10-minute drive to Toronto Pearson International Airport via ON-427 North.

Housing options include apartments with more than 5 floors and single-detached homes. As of December 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,050, and the average property buying cost is $950,000.

Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Etobicoke, Ontario

4. Ajax

Apartments in Ajax
  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $2,263
  • Average property buying cost: $925,000
  • Commute Time (by car): 35–60 minutes
  • Commute Time (public transit): 60–80 minutes

Ajax, a waterfront town located between Whitby and Pickering, offers many amenities despite its small size. Surrounded by nature, including Greenwood and Lynde Shores conservation areas, as well as Lake Ontario’s shores featuring Ajax Waterfront Park and Paradise Beach, residents enjoy different recreational activities.

The town has excellent connectivity with easy access to major transportation routes, allowing a 35 to 60-minute drive during rush hour to downtown Toronto via the ON-401 Expressway. Moreover, convenient public transportation is provided by GO Transit, linking Ajax GO Station to Toronto City Hall within 60 to 80 minutes.

As of December 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,263 and the average price of buying a home is $925,000.

Local Logic (Jan 2024), Town of Ajax (Nov 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Ajax, Ontario

5. Pickering

  • Average 1-bed apt rent: $2,350
  • Average property buying cost: $910,000
  • Commute Time (by car): 30–55 minutes
  • Commute Time (public transit): 65–95 minutes

Pickering seamlessly blends urban amenities with natural beauty, featuring a scenic waterfront along Lake Ontario and abundant green spaces. Ideal for golf enthusiasts, it offers over 6 courses, including Whitevale Golf Club and Pickering Golf Club. With easy access to major highways like the ON 401 Express and Kingston Rd, commuting to Downtown Toronto takes about 30 to 50 minutes by car departing from Pickering Town Center and 65 to 95 minutes by public transportation during rush hour.

It is an ideal family-friendly place to live in the Durham Region, characterized by its small-town charm and secure community, offering high quality services and programs for the whole family. As of December 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,350, and the average property cost is $910,000.

 City of Pickering (Dec 2023), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Pickering, Ontario

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Conclusion

As Toronto is often perceived as an expensive city, a good alternative is to explore living in nearby cities within the GTA that offer lower house prices without compromising on the quality of life. The places on this list provide such options, offering easy access to transportation, subway lines and buses, which can significantly impact your daily life by ensuring a quick commute if you need to travel to downtown Toronto.

Selecting the right place to live requires thoughtful planning, so make sure to review this list before making your decision.
Are you planning to move soon? Learn about the Best Toronto movers and read about the cost of living in Toronto!

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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