Category Archives: commuters

Beware of ‘transportation mortgage’ when moving to suburbs: planner

Port Mann Bridge

A new analysis of living costs in Metro Vancouver is raising serious doubts about whether opting for a cheaper home in the suburbs actually saves families money.

According to Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s city program, people who move out to the suburbs can end up spending far more on transportation than their Vancouver neighbours.

Using Statistics Canada data from 2011, Yan calculated that Langley residents will spend $563,755 over 25 years on transportation, while Vancouverites will spend $298,459.

That’s a difference of $265,296 over two-and-a-half decades.

“It’s the transportation mortgage. It’s the possible costs that could be involved in adding transportation toward your housing costs,” Yan said.

Factoring in those amortized transportation costs makes a dramatic difference in the million-dollar line, which separates the area of Metro Vancouver where most single-family homes are worth more than $1 million.

“The million dollar line is now somewhere on the border of New Westminster, Port Moody and Coquitlam,” Yan said.

In Langley, fewer than one per cent of single-family homes currently cost more than $1 million. If you include transportation, however, that number jumps to 73 per cent, according to Yan’s data.

But even if the moves don’t necessarily save much money, some who have headed to the suburbs argue they had few other options.

Jeremy Wee told CTV News he took the increased transportation costs into account when his family decided to move into a townhouse in Pitt Meadows, and they’re very happy with their choices.

“We found beautiful homes – new homes! – that we could actually bid on,” said Wee, who continues to commute into Vancouver.

“I love where I live, and I love where I work.”

Source: CTV Vancouver  Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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How transportation impacts real estate prices

Being around public transportation wasn’t always a good choice when it came to real estate. After World War II, downtown living was frowned upon and people flocked towards the suburbs in order to find larger and greener land. As a result, real estate prices rose outside the city.

Fast forward to today and we’re seeing the opposite effect. People want to live in the downtown core and public transportation is at the forefront of political debate.

Billions of dollars are being spent on new subways and streetcars in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Calgary and Ottawa are also beefing up its public transit service in response to a higher demand from residents.

In fact, every major city across Canada has plans to focus on public transportation. It’s a response to increased population demands, and on minimizing the cost of economic and environmental resources.


Increased housing prices are a result of higher demand. In terms of housing near public transportation, this demand has increased because people want the convenience of walking to a subway or streetcar. This is an advantage because there is no requirement to pay for parking.

The millennial generation (those under 30 years old) also prefers to live close to public transportation. This generation of the population has made a conscious decision to drive less and walk more, thus, making them more dependent on public transportation.

This is especially true in the rental market where many renters opt to live in housing that is walking distance to a subway or streetcar route.

Transit is vital for building communities. It’s an essential service that provides mobility, creates jobs and takes cars off the street. As a result, congestion is reduced, fostering economic growth in the economy.

In terms of real estate prices, property values that are located close to public transit increase at a higher rate and have been shown to be more resilient to economic downturns.

A study created by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) concluded that “property values with good access to public transit remained much closer to their pre-recession levels than properties without access, even within the same city.”

This can also be seen in the short-term rental market. Properties listed on AirBnB and VRBO yield a higher return when they are located close to public transportation and to the downtown core.

As cities across Canada become more developed, it will be more and more difficult to commute downtown via car. Thus, properties that are located closer to the downtown and have good access to public transportation will continue to see growth in real estate prices.

Michael Rix is a co-founder of TurnKii, a Toronto-based company providing an all-in-one tool and service to support everyday landlords/real estate investors.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth 25 Nov 2015

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Hamilton and Toronto are hottest housing markets in the country

Gurinder Sandhu, executive vice-president at Re/Max Ontario Atlantic, says more Canadians who work in Toronto and Vancouver are buying homes in nearby areas, like Hamilton, where they can get more for their money.

Source: The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 17, 2015 10:20 AM ET

The Hamilton-Burlington housing market joined Toronto as the areas with the largest house price increases in Canada over the first quarter of 2015.

That’s according to realtor group Re/Max.Realtor, which says the average sale price in Hamilton increased by eight per cent to $443,706 in the first quarter of 2015. That matches the percentage increase in Toronto and is one percentage point ahead of increases in Vancouver.

The Re/Max report says some of the effects of the increases in the larger centres is spilling over into nearby regions.

The average sale price of a home in Vancouver grew seven per cent year over year to $874,869, a figure that includes everything from condos to detached homes.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the average residential sale price grew eight per cent from a year ago to $594,827.

Gurinder Sandhu, executive vice-president at Re/Max Ontario Atlantic, says a growing number of Canadians who work in pricey Toronto and Vancouver are buying homes in nearby areas where they can get more for their money.

Victoria saw sales climb 23 per cent with average prices up two per cent to $569,070, while Barrie saw sales grow 11 per cent year-over-year as the average price gained six per cent to $365,201.

“Regions outside of Vancouver and Toronto, including Victoria, Hamilton-Burlington, Barrie, have all reported this spillover effect from Canada’s highest priced regions,” Sandhu said.

“These regions have seen more sales activity, as well as price gains, as buyers look to get more value for their money by expanding their boundaries. They’re willing to go for a longer commute and get larger properties for the money that they spend.”

In Toronto, more and more buyers are putting in offers on properties before they are even listed online, Sandhu said. Real estate agents are tapping into their networks to learn about places about to go on sale by word of mouth, in order to help clients secure purchases in a fiercely competitive market.

Price gains across the remainder of the country were more modest, in the low single-digit range, with a handful of regions registering slight declines.

The average sale price in Calgary slipped two per cent to $474,251, while in Regina, it fell six per cent to $308,355.

The number of single homebuyers has also been on the rise across the country, Sandhu said.

“This marks a shift in life milestones as previously home ownership often came after marriage,” he said.