To Suburb or Not To Suburb – Population Growth Raises Dilemma for Homebuyers

Toronto’s population will increase to 6,682,061 by the year 2025, which represents a generational spike of 59.2 per cent. This will make Toronto the 24th most crowded city in the world – a rank higher than New York City. This is a huge increase and, as per the Provincial Growth Plan, this extreme growth will be managed by (among other things) intensification. This creates a new dilemma for first-time and established homebuyers – do we move up or move out?

The implication is that depending on your preference, you can either live a condo lifestyle (full of urban opportunities) or move out – meaning outside of the city core. A 2014 Home Location Preference Survey (by RBC) revealed that the latter is becoming ever more popular with 42% of respondents indicating that home buyers (assuming equal home costs) would prefer a detached home on a modest lot, townhouse or condo in a suburban location (within walk or bike to amenities). They also indicated that they’re willing to commute 30 or more minutes as long as they had access to the GO. This number is an increase from 39% in 2012. This trend is also reflective of the economic reality as 82% said that affordability affected (or would affect) their purchase.

This trend can definitely be seen when you look at the immense interest in Queensville, a development project outside the GTA core that is heavy on amenities making it possible to do everything (even work) right within your community. As well, the recent opening of the 404-highway extension creates potential for quicker (than usual) commutes into the city. Likewise communities such as Sean Homes in Barrie is more than accessible by GO Transit, and offers home buyers an amazing value.

Buyers want it all – a suburban experience with the amenities of its urban counterpart. The Provincial Growth Plan is making this a reality as a way to manage the growth of our province. What are your thoughts? Click here to check it out the 2014 Home Location Preference Survey for yourself.

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