The average cost of living in Toronto in 2021
Disclaimer: These numbers represent an estimate of what it costs to live in Toronto based on LowestRates.ca data, external sources as well as our writers' personal experiences. It’s entirely possible for people to live in the city for much less, while others may need much more to fund the sort of lifestyle they prefer.
According to a December 2020 report from Rentals.ca, the average cost of a one-bedroom unit in Toronto was $1,877/month last November. This represents a 19% year-over-year decrease. The average cost of a two-bedroom was $2,468, representing a 17% year-over-year decrease. For our monthly calculations, we are using only the average rental cost of a one-bedroom unit.
If you’re a renter, you may want to purchase renters insurance to protect your belongings. Using our tenant insurance quoter, we ran a test quote for a 30-year-old and their family renting in the Bloorcourt Village area of Toronto and found that tenant insurance would cost them $37.50 a month, which represents a roughly $2.43 increase from 2020.
It's no secret that the Toronto housing market is on fire. According to the most recent market data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, the average selling price for all home types in the GTA in the 2020 calendar year was $929,699.
In Toronto specifically, the average price was $894,576.
Assuming a down payment of 15% (which means we also need to include mortgage insurance through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation), that gives us a total mortgage of $781,681.
Going with a 25-year amortization period, and a five-year fixed rate term at an interest rate of 1.68%, monthly mortgage payments for such a home in Toronto would cost about $3,191.
Then, of course, buyers must also consider home insurance. While it isn't mandatory, most lenders won't give you a mortgage without it. Using our home insurance quoter, we determined that home insurance for a 30-year-old and their family living in the Bloorcourt Village area of Toronto in a four-storey detached home would cost about $154.33 a month.
There's also property tax to take into account, which is determined based on the following factors: Toronto's municipal tax rate, the education tax rate (determined by each province), the city building fund, and the value of your property. Using the City of Toronto's Property Tax Calculator, on an $894,576 home, you'd be paying $5,364.80 a year in property tax, which works out to about $447 a month. It's important to know that your property taxes will be based on your MPAC assessment.
Don't forget about land transfer tax, either — both municipal and provincial. Using the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)'s Land Transfer Tax Calculator, a home that sells for $894,576 would produce $28,733.04 in land transfer tax, which is paid in a lump sum at the time of the transfer. As such, we haven't included this in our monthly total.
- Mortgage payments: $3,191 (includes mortgage insurance)
- Home insurance: $154.33
- Property tax: $447
TTC/Presto fares have increased slightly since 2020. Here's a list of the latest fees.
- Single adult cash fare: $3.25
- Presto adult fare: $3.10
- Presto one-ride ticket: $3.25
- Presto two-ride ticket: $6.50
- Presto day pass: $13.50
- Monthly TTC pass (adults): $156.00
- Monthly TTC pass (students and seniors): $128.15
- 12-month Pass (adults): $143.00
- 12-month Pass (students and seniors): $117.45
Cabs/Uber/Lyfts: Maybe transit’s not your thing. If that’s the case, there’s an abundance of ride-sharing services to choose from in Toronto.
One UberX ride from Midtown to the Yonge-and-Dundas area costs about $30 round trip. Since there are those who never take Uber, and those who take it often, we've gone with four trips a month for our calculations.
Using the adult 12-month adult Pass ($143.00) as our transit option, in addition to four $30 Uber trips a month (for a total of $120), our average monthly transportation cost works out to $263.00.
The top-selling car in Canada last year was the Honda Civic Sedan.
We used our data and looked at monthly finance pricing for a 2021 four-door Honda Civic Sedan EX to calculate what it would cost to finance and insure this car as a driver in Toronto. Our monthly total works out to $577.99 a month.
Other costs to consider that aren’t included in the monthly total:
- Licence sticker renewal: $120 a year (this works out to $10 monthly but is paid as an annual lump sum).
- Parking permit: If you own a home, you might have a laneway (congrats!) but if not, you might need to park on the street. For your first residential on-street parking permit, where you have no access to on-site parking, such as a laneway of parking lot, it will cost you $113.94 every six months. (This works out to $18.99 monthly but is paid as a six-month lump sum twice a year.) If you want to park off-street, such as on your front yard or City boulevard, the costs rises significantly.
- Maintenance: This one’s tough, since basic maintenance is usually something that’s done a few times a year. But to offer an example, one of our writers spent $467.98 last year in basic maintenance fees.
The price of groceries for both male and female single folks has increased by about 17% from last year. This likely has a lot to do with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the cost of goods rising, as well as climate change.
According to the City of Toronto’s Nutritious Food Basket Calculator, a single male between the ages of 19 and 30 now spends $340.23 a month on groceries, and a single woman between the same ages spends $264.48, giving us on average of $302.35.
Food costs have also continued to increase for families. According to the latest Canada Food Price Report from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University, the average Canadian family will spend $13,907 on groceries (or about $1,158 a month) in 2021 — an increase of 5%, or $695 more a year, from 2020.
Last year, we included the average cost of dining out (whether that’s buying your lunch, getting takeout, going out for dinner, or even buying yourself a latte a couple times a week). While current lockdown restrictions are still preventing much of the city's residents from dining indoors, we'll assume all dining out is classified as takeout/delivery right now. We've increased the amount of times per month for dinner takeout since COVID has made takeout one of the only options for the city's restaurants and many customers are showing their love by ordering from their favourite restaurants. We've also lowered the cost of buying lunch since many Torontonians are still working from home these days.
- Buying lunch once a week: $10 each time = $40/month
- Getting takeout for dinner twice a week, or eight times a month: $20 each time = $160/month
- Going out for dinner once a month: $70/month
- Buying a latte twice a week: $4 each time, $32/month
Dining out: $232/month
Phone and Internet: $172.63/month
Unlimited data is still a hot commodity in the cell phone space. The most common plan option available right now from Bell, Rogers, and Telus is 30GB of data at maximum speed, with anything after running at a slower speed.
The pricing is competitive on this type of plan, with each major provider charging $80 a month, which is a $5 monthly increase from last year.
On the high-speed home internet front, however, things have gotten pricier again. This could be due to the fact that so many of us are working from home now because of the pandemic. Just like last year, we compared plans from two of the city’s larger providers, Bell and Rogers, and one smaller one, Teksavvy. We looked at comparable plans from each provider with healthy download speeds of 150 mbps and anywhere from 15 to 150 mbps upload speed. (Note: We don’t include one-time installation fees in our calculations.)
- Bell: $99.95
- Rogers: $99.99
- Teksavvy: $77.95
That gives us an average of $92.63 a month for internet and $80 for phone.
We've tweaked this year's entertainment options because we're not sure how realistic it is to still be going to the movies or out for drinks with friends given current public health rules and restrictions. So, we've eliminated these costs and instead just focused on streaming services.
Going out for drinks with friends twice a month: $0 each time, $0/month
Having drinks at home/friends’ house once a month: $0/month
Miscellaneous Outings (movies, events, shows, data, etc): $0/month
Because the pandemic has had us spending a significant amount of time indoors and in front of our screens over the past year, we've upped the number of streaming services in our calculation this year. Chances are good that most people pay for at least one, but sometimes many more streaming platforms. Of course, many people take advantage of their friends' and family's subscriptions as secondary users so this may not be reflective of everyone's streaming situation but this year, we've gone with Netflix, Crave, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
Note: we aren’t averaging the streaming services because it’s highly likely that people have more streaming services now than they did before, and are signed up for more than one.
- Netflix subscription (standard): $14.99/month (users have seen a $1 hike since last year)
- Apple TV+: $5.99/month (first year is free if you buy an Apple device)
- Disney+: $11.99/month (users saw a $3 hike in February 2021)
- Crave: $9.99/month
- Amazon Prime Video: $7.99
- Apple Music/Spotify subscription: $9.99/month
Health and Fitness: $63.32/month
We understand that a lot of people might be moving to free options in the interim while they wait for gyms to open back up. But with gyms still shuttered across the city due to the pandemic, virtual exercise classes have become the norm. This could change later in the year, but no matter what, fitness in Toronto won't look the same in 2021. It's likely that people will be slow to return to the gym and in-person classes, so we're doing our best to estimate what fitness costs in a virtual world.
Unfortunately, some gyms are still charging the same membership prices even if you're attending classes online. Goodlife Fitness, for instance, is charging $59.98/month for its lowest-tier "essentials" online membership (plus a $74.99 joining fee); Modo Yoga is sticking to their $115/month unlimited membership for online classes; the YMCA, however, is offering unlimited virtual classes for $14.99/month; and Planet Fitness — bless its heart — is offering virtual classes for free via its app or on Facebook. That gives us an average of $63.32 — a $1.43 decrease from 2020.
This is what it costs to live in Toronto in 2021
- Total: $3,008.74 monthly, or $36,104.88 annually (for renters who commute)
- Total: $3,323.73 monthly, or $39,884.76 annually (for renters who drive)
- Total: $4,886.57 monthly, or $58,638.84 annually (for homeowners who commute)
- Total: $5,201.56 monthly, or $62,418.72 annually (for homeowners who drive)
Based on the current tax rate in Canada and Ontario, renters who commute will need to be making at least $45,500 before tax ($36,280 after tax) to make ends meet in Toronto.
Renters who drive will need to be making $51,500 before tax ($40,199 after tax.)
Homeowners who commute will need to make $78,500 before tax ($58,709 after tax.)
And homeowners who drive will need to make $84,000 before tax ($62,522 after tax.)
Do you live in Toronto or want to move there? Check out the home and auto insurance quotes we offer.
Toronto car insurance
Avg. savings for Toronto drivers under 25: $1,477/yr
Avg. savings for Toronto drivers 25 and up: $754/yr
Compare auto insurance from more than 30 insurance companies serving Toronto and find your lowest rate. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you’re under 30: The average LowestRates.ca user in Toronto 25 and under saves up to $123 a month on car insurance, or $1,477 a year.
Toronto home insurance
Avg. savings for Toronto homeowners: $400-$600/yr
Did you know that the average LowestRates.ca user in Toronto saves up $50 a month on home insurance? That’s $600 a year. And that’s the benefit of comparing rates from 15 companies serving the GTA.
Fill in your address and we’ll pull add information you might not know offhand: your square footage, distance to the nearest fire hydrant, and even when the roof was last replaced. Our process is quick and easy — and accurate.
Avg. annual savings: $1,165/yr
Avg. lifetime savings: $28,471
Buying a home in Toronto is expensive enough. A savings of a few decimal points are worth tens of thousands of dollars over the years.
Our five-year variable rate mortgages are half a percentage point lower than our fixed-rate mortgages. On a mortgage of $400,000, that amounts to savings of $97 a month, $1,165 a year, and $28,471 over 25 years.
Connect with LowestRates.ca and instantly access to the best rates from lenders and mortgage brokers serving the GTA. Whether you’re looking short or long term, open or closed, fixed or variable, the best mortgage rate is at your fingertips.
Toronto renters insurance
Generating income from property is a popular investment strategy in Toronto. You may be renting the basement of your home to offset housing costs. Maybe you bought a condo as an investment — or maybe even a whole apartment building. Whatever the case, you need renter’s insurance to protect you from loss, damage and liability. Comparing quotes on LowestRates.ca makes the job of finding coverage faster and more efficient.
Toronto condo insurance
Condos are great options for younger people to get into Toronto’s hot housing market. They’re also an excellent choice for traditional homeowners looking to downsize. No wonder they’re one of the fastest growing real estate sectors in the GTA. Just remember: Condo insurance is different than home insurance. Shop for the best coverage at LowestRates.ca.
About the author
The LowestRates.ca writing team focuses on telling original stories and bringing you the latest news in the world of personal finance.