Recent cuts to mortgage rates have spurred a new generation of buyers to jump onto the Toronto real estate bandwagon. With lower interest rates, it’s easier for first-time buyers to carry a Toronto loft. But buyers still need to come up with the initial down-payment and so clearly the lower the purchase price, the easier it is to get that first foot on the property ladder. As such, there are many buyers searching for lofts for sale Toronto under the $500,000 mark.

But here’s the thing to remember–a small budget doesn’t need to mean a sub-par property purchase. Quite the opposite. We’re spoiled for choice with the sheer volume and variety of Toronto lofts for sale and so there’s truly something for every buyer and budget.

It’s true that Toronto lofts typically come at a premium over Toronto condos because they’re rarer, tend to be larger (and therefore more expensive) and demand often exceeds supply. That said, there are some truly stunning Toronto lofts in great neighbourhoods at surprisingly affordable prices. You just need to know where to look.

Here are three of our favourite Toronto loft buildings where you can still find units for $500,000 or less. There are cheaper loft buildings to be found but these offer a quality of construction and design and a value for money proposition that’s hard to beat when compared to local area comps.

The Smart Investment: The Toy Factory Lofts

Buyers don’t typically think “affordable” when thinking about the Toy Factory Lofts. And while it’s true that you’ll be limited to a one-bedroom unit on budgets of $500,000, as seen in the data below taken from our sister-site, you are securing what’s likely to be a much better return on investment than other Liberty Village condos. This is a critical consideration for first-time buyers who want to keep moving up the property ladder. You have to think about your value appreciation. 

Data from reveals that the Toy Factory Lofts appreciated 9.5% in 2014 over the previous year. That’s 7.8% above average for a Liberty Village condo over the same time period. And it’s not just the value appreciation that’s tops at the Toy Factory–maintenance fees are extremely reasonable making carrying that new loft easier. You can read more about the Toy Factory’s fee reduction in this recent study on condo maintenance fees.

With a little patience, working with a member of our MrLOFT Team, you can find units in the Toy Factory around the $500,000 mark. Your best bet for investment purposes is to wait for a unit that doesn’t show well. Most units in the Toy Factory are well-designed and updated but there are some that just aren’t staged to sell and that’s good news for buyers on a budget.

Think of a starter-sized unit that lacks wow-factor as the equivalent of buying the worst house on the best block. Something as simple as a new paint job and better furniture placement can increase the perceived (and actual) value of your unit making that “worst loft in the best building” strategy pay off come re-sale.

The Swank Address: Madison Avenue Lofts

For some of the best entry prices in the city, check out the Madison Avenue Lofts. This loft conversion, completed in 2009, is a rare example of an affordable hard-loft. More often than not it’s the new build, soft-lofts that are most affordable (they’re typically cheaper to construct than a warehouse or factory conversion) but the Madison Avenue Lofts offer authentic loft spaces for less than $600/sq. ft. It is possible to find units up to 1,000 square feet for under $500,000 making it a great building choice for first-time buyers.

The statistics below show that it’s possible to find units up to a respectable 1,000 square feet for less than $500,000.

This building is a great choice for low- to moderate-budget buyers who are less concerned with investment growth and more concerned with having a comfortable living situation. Values have been relatively flat in the Madison Avenue Lofts over the last three years. So while you’re highly unlikely to lose money, you’re also unlikely to make the kind of dramatic profits come re-sale that we’ve seen in other lofts like the Toy Factory and the Broadview Lofts. What you are getting is a heck of a lot of bang for your buck in the here and now, on top of a coveted location near Casa Loma and streets filled with multi-million dollar homes.

If getting a lux loft, as large as possible, in an exclusive neighbourhood for $500,000 max is your priority, then you should definitely check out the Madison Avenue Lofts. 

The Overall Solid Choice: Sorauren Lofts

The Sorauren Lofts in Roncesvalles are one of our top, overall picks for affordable lofts, falling somewhere in between the value growth of the Toy Factory and the affordability of the Madison Avenue Lofts.

While units in the Sorauren Lofts appreciated well-above the Toy Factory Lofts last year, a whopping 19.6% increase in value on average, this is really a long overdue price correction. We see Sorauren Loft values as just now coming in line with what they’re really worth in comparison to local area comps and city-wide, Toronto loft market trends.

While the sharp incline in value appreciation we’ve seen here is likely to moderate, we do believe that this building will continue to appreciate at or above average for the city and so it’s still a solid investment choice. More importantly, lofts here are appreciating strongly while keeping entry prices reasonable for those on the purchasing end of the equation, particularly when compared with the nearby Robert Watson Lofts which tend to cost a lot more for a comparable location and aesthetic.

$500,000 or less will get you a small but lovely space in the Sorauren Lofts. Expect classic brick and beam construction and coveted hard-loft features that rival the more expensive loft buildings in the city.