Proximity to transit among priorities listed by young family homeowners in Canada’s major cities

By Simon Druker, Hana Mae Nassar

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – When it comes to buying a home, how important is proximity and accessibility to transit?

According to a new report, it’s an increasingly-important factor for today’s “modern family.”

More than a quarter, or 28 per cent, of young, urban families — where the adults fall between 20 and 45 — identified a neighbourhood’s transit-friendliness as one of their top three priorities, according to the Modern Family Home Ownership Trends Report.

“Certainly in Toronto and Vancouver, transit is an important element,” Brad Henderson, the CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said. “There’s definitely a difference between the total time commuting on transit versus cars.”

That ranks ahead of the 17 per cent of families who said an area’s car-friendliness was their top priority when it comes to buying their next home.

The report looked at homeowners in the greater Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver areas. The findings, Henderson points out, did not vary greatly by market.

“The report found that while it did vary a little bit between markets, it wasn’t as pronounced as one might think,” he added. “I think Calgary would be, definitely, considered the more car-friendly market compared to the other three.”

Meantime, four per cent of those asked said cycling-friendliness was their top priority when buying their next home.

When it comes to commute times, Henderson notes many young families in the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas have said a commute of about 30 minutes or less was important.

The report found 57 per cent of modern families bought their homes within a half hour drive or commute to work or school. More than 80 per cent of these homeowners have said they’re happy with their commute.

“A lot of the times, we talk about people having to drive until they can qualify for a mortgage. If you look at some of the statistics, the average commute time is 45 minutes in Toronto and Vancouver, so to have people not only announce that 30 minutes is an important to them, but that also if they’re within that, it’s something that they’re satisfied with was not shocking, but something that was of interest to us in this research.”

Safety was also among the leading considerations for modern family homeowners in all of the major cities included in the review. Almost half of the young, urban family homeowners surveyed said safety was among their top three priorities when buying a home.

Other considerations included proximity to work, to family, being close to nature, and living near an elementary or secondary school.

-With files from Richard Dettman

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