The No. 1 community of Hills of St. Andrew in York Region is often described as the Forest Hill of Aurora, and many residents happily commute three hours to work each day rather than live anywhere else in the world.
Want to live in a fiercely loyal, fiercely proud neighbourhood? Check out the Hills of St. Andrew in Aurora. “This neighbourhood boasts ample, upscale amenities beloved by its residents,” explains Zolo agent and REMS broker, Steve Liu. It’s also the home of the famous St. Andrew’s College, one of the most prestigious private boarding schools for boys.
Turns out this pride could be fuelled by a little bit of international and hometown competition. Its twin city is the city of Leksand, Sweden—and the two communities have certainly bonded over their love of hockey. Hills of St. Andrew is also in close proximity to Newmarket and a long-time rival of nearby King City, another affluent community north of Metro Toronto. Homes in this community often boast space, with some offering acres of land and multiple-attached garages for work and play.
“It’s a neighbourhood where residents are known to take pride in their homes, cars and even their horses,” explains Liu. It makes sense, given the neighbourhood’s access to the Oak Ridges Moraine, a massive green space area that is considered sensitive and protected by government environmental watchdogs.
“It’s an understatement that Hills of St. Andrew is the Forest Hill of Aurora,” says Liu. “Many residents will tell you they’ll happily commute three hours to work each day rather than live anywhere else in the world.”
Prior to the pandemic and market slowdown, homes typically sold within 27 days in Hills of St. Andrew, Aurora.
Average Single-Family Home Price (2019):$1,535,092
2. South Richvale, Richmond Hill
South Richvale is a neighbourhood that attracts new families looking to buy a forever home, or families looking to settle long-term into a family-friendly community. Most properties here are home to at least one child under the age of 18—and, according to city demographics, most children in this community are younger.
This is definitely an affluent community with the average household income slightly above $150,000.
For those looking for an area that will withstand current and future price corrections, this is an ideal neighbourhood. While not immune from short-term price fluctuations, the desire for families to be in this neighbourhood helps keep the value for this community fairly stable.
Buyers looking for a little bit of help with the mortgage may not consider this community as a top spot to shop. Most homes are owner-occupied with less than 9% of residents claiming to be tenants. It’s also not an ideal neighbourhood for those looking to commute by public transit with less than 10% of residents biking, walking or taking transit to work.
Prior to the pandemic and market slowdown, homes typically sold within 19 days in South Richvale.
Average Single-Family Home Price (2019):$1,947,365
Last year, the top spots in York were dominated by Vaughan neighbourhoods including Vaughan Grove and Concord. This year, only one Vaughan community made it to the top of this year’s list: Islington Woods. (Vaughan Grove and Concord dropped this year to No. 34 and No. 98, respectively.)
One big reason for Islington Woods’ rise in our ranking is the ability of housing to maintain its value, despite price declines which were rampant in 2018 and 2019 in many other communities north of Toronto.
Located north of the busy commercial Highway 7 strip, Islington Woods is sheltered a bit from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The community boundary abuts the Boyd Conservation Park and is minutes away from the National Golf Club of Canada, considered one of the top 10 golf courses in Canada.
Buyers will be pleased by the eclectic mix of housing types available in this community. You’ll find a variety of architectural styles, sizes, and everything from modern multi-family complexes to custom-built detached homes.
Looking forward, home prices here should remain relatively stable, or rebound fairly quickly given the presence of new development. In early 2020, there was one new home development and one townhouse development under construction. Under typical conditions, new development helps drive up prices, since per-square-foot home costs for new builds are typically higher than per-square-foot prices for resale homes.
Prior to the pandemic and market slowdown, homes typically sold within 13 days in Islington Woods.
Average Single-Family Home Price (2019):$1,551,599
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