housing preferences

Photo: AshtonPal/Flickr

GTA homebuyers want it all – a detached house in a walkable ‘hood with easy access to transit, shops and other perks of city living. According to a survey from the Pembina Institute and the Royal Bank of Canada, the most preferred type of home ownership would be a combination of the larger homes of the ‘burbs with the shorter commutes and amenities of the downtown.

Living in a walkable, transit-friendly suburb was slightly more desirable than calling its urban counterpart home.

If housing costs were equal, 42 per cent would live in a location-efficient suburb compared to the 39 per cent who would want to live in a location-efficient neighbourhood in the city (the remaining 19 per cent would choose a car-dependent suburb).

The amount of people leaning towards the location-efficient suburb edged up slightly from 39 per cent in 2012, the last time the survey was conducted. As the institute pointed out, respondents “want their suburban neighbourhoods to be more like the neighbourhoods of Toronto.”

Interestingly, GTA residents want rapid transit and pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods, but don’t want to necessarily give up their car completely.

If housing costs were equal among car-dependent suburbs, transit-friendly suburbs, and the amenity-rich city neighbourhoods, 56 per cent said they’d prefer to live where there’s an option to take good transit, walk or bike to work and most destinations, but still own or lease a vehicle.

The second most popular option at 27 per cent would be to keep the car and drive to work and other destinations, regardless of the other transit options nearby. Only 17 per cent would prefer to live somewhere and forgo having a vehicle.

Here are a few more interesting points from the survey:

  • Whether you have kids had a huge impact on where you want to live: 40 per cent of respondents with three kids or more would prefer to live in a larger home in a car-dependant suburb (down from 51 per cent in 2012).
  • 51 per cent of respondents with three or more children would choose a location efficient suburb, if costs were equal among locations.
  • When housing costs factored into the questions, the 35 to 59-year old demographic preferred buying a lower-cost, larger home in the car-dependant suburbs.
  • Those aged over 60 or under 35 were more willing to pay extra to live in a smaller home that was more location efficient.

For more details, check out the table and graph from the report:

GTA housing transit

GTA housing preferences

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