Originally Posted by GlassCity
What makes the real estate in far flung suburbs like Vaughan and Richmond Hill so expensive? I can't imagine greenfield developments here going for those kinds of prices.
I think there's a few factors behind the pricing:
1. The central part of southern York Region is immediately north of some pretty nice Toronto neighbourhoods, so they are actually cheaper than what's immediately south of them. This isn't case on the western and eastern edges of York Region as there's some less desirable neighbourhoods to the south (the "doughnut" of the inner 416 suburbs), so in these areas prices tend to go up as you get further from the city (to a point). For example moving from Scarborough to Markham is generally seen as "moving up" to a nicer area.
2. York Region has some of the best schools in the country and there's very little crime, so some of this has to do with the quality of the suburbs themselves.
3. I'm not sure about Vaughan and Richmond Hill, but I know that Markham has more people commuting into it than out of it every day. It has a huge number of jobs for a suburb. If this stat isn't yet true for Vaughan and Richmond Hill, it will be eventually. For many of these folks, distance to downtown Toronto isn't a huge factor. For those that work in downtown Toronto, there are three GO lines in the region and there will soon be a subway in Vaughan. This is part of the reason house prices are more expensive in York than Oakville and other 905 suburbs now.
4. The area is a huge magnet for Chinese, Iranian, Russian, Italian, south asian and other communities. Many of these new immigrants are at least as rich as the "old money" in places like Oakville.
5. The only greenfield left in southern York is generally condos and townhomes, which has driven up the price of any existing detached home tremendously.