My family is looking for a new home to move to, so we visited Queensville this weekend. We had planned to make the drive out to Queensville two times before, but in the last minute we thought about it, and agreed it was too far. We didn’t make it.
This past weekend, we finally made the trek. Third time’s a charm as they say. With house prices rising, and the low inventory of homes for sale in the current market, we figured we had a second chance at buying our ‘dream’ home… in Queensville.
We currently live in Cornell, Markham so the trek to Queensville took about 35 minutes. We drove 16th avenue to hit 404, then took the highway all the way up.
We loved the vast green space, trees, farms — but as we were spending more and more time on the commute, we started to think.
Do we really want to live up this far?
Can we be this far from the city (Toronto)?
How about visiting our parents… would they spend the time to drive up this far… would we spend the time to drive down to them?
We committed to our journey to explore the new development in Queensville we were eyeing.
When we arrived, we were impressed.
We loved the community feel.
We loved the new houses.
Neighbours were outdoors, enjoying the sun and taking care of their weekend chores.
Kids were riding their bikes on the streets.
We drove to “phase 2” of the project we were interested in, and parked outside the beautiful model homes.
We loved the feel of the neighbourhood, the look of the model homes, and the price of the houses being sold… but did we love living this far north?
I grew up in Mississauga before marrying my wife and moving to Scarborough.
Having lived in Scarborough, we got to experience the city life.
Driving down to The Beach (our favourite weekend getaway destination) only took 22 minutes from Scarborough Town Centre.
The restaurants, the shopping mall, friends, work, places we visited frequently, and even our parents were not too far away.
But Queensville… north of Newmarket… north of Aurora… north of Richmond Hill and Markham where we currently live…
Was Queensville located in the ‘middle of nowhere’?
To residents of Queensville — it would be their centre of the universe.
And I get how they could feel that way.
In February 2015, Urban Toronto published this article (link: https://urbantoronto.ca/news/2015/02/new-urbanist-town-queensville-prepares-construction) about Queensville.
The plan includes building enough residences to house 30,000 people, and three builders were involved in the project: Aspen Ridge, Countrywide and Lakeview.
Unlike the homes in Cornell where the garage is located at the rear of the home where laneways run, Queensville houses were designed to have garages at the front of the house.
Queensville would have a town centre where high density condos and retail establishments would be located.
At the same time it would have parkland for the residents to enjoy.
The detached homes were were looking at boast a 36′ frontage, something you couldn’t find in Cornell for under $1 million. The price range we were interested in, for a three bedroom detached home, ranged from the low $800’s to the low $900’s.
As of this weekend, only two homes were available on the resale market. One was a fantastically decorated detached corner home priced just under $900k. The other was a mediocre detached corner home priced over $1 million.
We weren’t interested in any of the resale homes. We did love the model homes. And we were okay with the prices.
But then we started thinking…
Do we want to wait that long for development to happen in this area… grocery stores… restaurants… schools?
Were we okay with living this far away from the “GTA” and from everything we were accustomed to?
Did we want to leave our child’s current school and take her away from the friends she knows and the teachers who know her?
But I guess the biggest question to ask, above all else…
Would we be willing to spend $800k to $900k to own a detached home this far… instead of trying to get a detached home in Cornell… around the same price?
There are a few distinctions between the style of homes we would get in Queensville versus Cornell for the same price range.
Mind you, finding a detached home under $900k in Cornell (and Markham for that matter) is near impossible now.
But let’s just say I was able to get a $900k home in Cornell. What would it look like?
Well, the frontage would be 25′. Depth would be about 80′. Single car garage with an additional parking space outside on the driveway for a total of two parking spaces. Garage would be backing to the laneway so the backyard would be smaller. It would have three bedrooms. The home would be around 1900 sq.ft.
Now let’s look at what I’d get for $900k in Queensville.
The frontage would be 36′. Depth would be about 100′. It would have a double car garage with an additional double private driveway for a total of four parking spaces. Since the garage is at the front of the house, the backyard will be larger than a Cornell home. It would have three bedrooms (with the possibility of a four bedroom layout). And the square footage would be around 2200 sq.ft.
So the question between my wife and I was — do we move to the middle of nowhere, hoping that in a few years Queensville will become a hustling and bustling place to be… to live in our house hunting budget ‘dream home’?
Or do we buy a home in Cornell, where we’ve spent the past few years, established our roots, gained some familiarity with the area, stay at the school our child loves… and trade the two car garage for a single car garage… the larger backyard for a smaller one…the larger home for a slightly smaller one…
…just to be a little bit closer to the city… a closer drive to parents… not so far from the grocery stores and restaurants we frequent… and embrace the idea of buying into our Cornell neighbourhood rather than buying into our budget dream home?
It didn’t take us too long to realize that Queensville was far — relative to where we thought we wanted to live.
The schools haven’t really been established yet.
Grocery stores were a drive away.
And everything… was just… far from what we were used to.
On our drive home, we accepted the fact that we weren’t going to buy a home in Queensville.
Despite the sales centre having a lineup outside of it (perhaps more to practice physical distancing than a reflection of high demand).
Despite falling in love with the model homes, glitzy video walk-through and fancy builders upgrades (which probably would have added $50k+ to the purchase price anyway).
Despite the expansive green land, trees, forest, space, quiet… that being in the middle of nowhere affords you.
We drove home, back to Cornell, with our youngest child finally waking up and crying during the final ten minutes of our drive… we got back to our place, and accepted that Cornell was home.
We started to plan… to budget… to strategize… about buying our detached home… for hopefully under $900k.
But every so often, we look outside at the new $1.1 million to $1.2 million dollar homes being built outside where we currently live… we look at our small backyard… we think about having a two car garage… and we wonder…
…would we reconsider living in Queensville? Would we move out to the middle of nowhere?
The idea still comes to mind… it still comes up during discussions… it’s not quite ruled out 100% yet.
I guess time (and home prices) will tell.