Proximity becoming a less important factor in buyers’ decisions - observers

As reflected in the noticeable declines in recent sales volume, Canadian home buyers have become quite cautious of the staggering rates of price growth in the country’s most in-demand markets—a development that has led to many hopeful home owners purchasing properties even in relatively inaccessible locations.

ReMax Ontario-Atlantic Canada regional director Christopher Alexander stated that the blistering price increases in Toronto and Vancouver has essentially pushed away younger buyers to the peripheries of major cities.

“People want a back yard, a driveway and a stand-alone home so they can have the space for their families,” Alexander told

“If you’re commuting to the city and you're fighting traffic, that can be a challenge, but I think many people find the sacrifice worth it so they can find housing that suits their lifestyle needs.”

In its report last month, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. revealed that gradually strengthening price growth has been observed in Toronto’s outskirts locales such as Hamilton, Barrie, and Guelph, and in areas even as far as the St. Catharines-Niagara region.

In particular, Hamilton has immensely benefited from the windfall of price growth spilling out from Toronto. Conrad Zurini of ReMax Escarpment Realty noted that previously run-down areas in Hamilton have seen a kind of renaissance amid rising residential property values.

“You're seeing this whole metamorphosis of these neighbourhoods changing dramatically over short periods of time,” Zurini said.

Teacher and artist Jackie Levitt moved from Toronto to Hamilton over two years ago, and while he expressed regret for the fact that he can’t use his bicycle to go to work anymore, he said that the stark differences between the two cities have made themselves felt in the much-improved quality of his life.

“I’ve gotten more cash flow in my life, which seems weird as a homeowner, but that’s how it’s worked out. I've got more space in my home. Even out in the city there’s more space. You're not fighting for a spot at the park or in the bike lanes. You’ve got room to breathe on the sidewalks,” Levitt explained.

Related stories:
Fiery Toronto real estate heats up surrounding markets
RBC: Government intervention in Toronto more likely by the day

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