Ditching the city

Ditching the city

Young homeowners think outside the condo box and opt for the greener pastures of the suburbs. But is it worth the drive?

Forget urban living, millennials have eyes for greener pastures: specifically those outside Toronto.

This month, Angus Reid Institute shared the result of its survey on housing and transportation issues within the Greater Toronto Area. The report states that 45 per cent of residents 18 to 34 are “seriously” considering leaving the area due to the high cost of home ownership.

And 73 per cent of the millennials who have made the move beyond Toronto said they left to buy more space for an equal or lower price.

GTA realtor Kent Tran isn’t surprised. “A condo in downtown that demands $700 to $1,000 per square foot just doesn’t make sense anymore,” he says. “If they can buy (a house) outside of Toronto that’s a better price, then why not?”

But there’s a trade-off: longer hours spent commuting. We talked to millennials who have made the move outside Toronto about what prompted their decision.


Shortly after she started working, Maryanne McCollin, 28, bought a semi-detached house in Whitby, Ont., for $330,000.

McCollin opted to buy more space in Whitby, where her relatives live. “It’s mentally draining,” McCollin says about her two-hour daily drive to North York, where she works as a program co-ordinator.

Her social life has taken a nosedive. She often declines social calls and opts to stay home with her live-in partner.

The upside? Her house’s value has increased by over $100,000. McCollin is grateful for buying a house earlier when it was affordable.


Ryan Coleman, 32, bought a detached house in Innisfil, Ont., near Barrie, for $279,000.

“It’s relaxing living in the suburbs,” he says. “I get a backyard that looks on to a ravine. I have a dog, and she can run out and play.”

Coleman travels almost four hours daily to his job in security at Bay and Bloor Sts. “It’d be nice if I didn’t have to wake up at 5:30 a.m.,” he says. “I’m tired most of the time.”

Squeezing in a social life is also tough, but Coleman’s found a way to meet friends in the city during weekdays.


Bryan Jeresano, 30, and Janet Lorico, 27, moved into a new townhouse in Milton, Ont., for $490,000 last August after two years of house hunting.

“Janet was emotional that we had to move outside of Mississauga,” says Jeresano. “We grew up there. But, the houses were just too expensive.”

Owning a car means it’s only a 30-minute commute to Mississauga, where Jeresano works for GO Transit and Lorico for Canadian Pacific Railway. And if they were ever to work elsewhere in the future, they have GO trains and buses to rely on.


Lisa Dalicandro, 27, bought a new townhouse in Guelph, Ont. for $286,000. Her husband Anthony, 28, works nearby as an electrician. But, for Dalicandro, it takes four hours of daily commuting to downtown Toronto.

“It’s exhausting, especially when I work long hours,” says Dalicandro. “I wish I was able to join a gym or sports team.”

She says their living situation is temporary. The couple hopes to buy a detached house closer to Toronto and has already saved some money because of their low mortgage.


Banuga Sinnathurai and Suresh Subramaniam, 26 and 31, bought a semi-detached house in Pickering, Ont., for $389,000.

“This was a steal for us,” says Subramaniam, who works in Scarborough. While commuting is easy for him, it’s a challenge for his wife who takes the GO train downtown every day. On the weekends, the couple drives. “If we didn’t have a car, it would be hard to do anything,” Sinnathurai says.

The cost of living in Pickering equates to that if they lived in Toronto. But, they prefer it because it provides more space than a condo.

Source: Toronto Star

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