Photo: James Bombales

Yesterday, a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute found that 38 per cent of Toronto homeowners are seriously considering moving out of the city, as housing affordability continues to deteriorate.

Another group likely to move? So-called “reverse-commuters” — residents who live downtown, but travel into the GTA for work.

According to Statistics Canada, 11 per cent of downtown Toronto residents leave the city limits for work, a number that jumps to 27 per cent near the city’s waterfront. Data from Metrolinx has found that the number of commuter trips out of the city has risen from 16 to 25 per cent over the past 30 years.

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Are these residents more likely to leave the downtown for more affordable options elsewhere? According to Zoocasa managing editor Penelope Graham, there’s a pretty clear case to be made for it.

“We can’t really say definitively if these particular homeowners are likely to move out of the city, but persistently high condo prices in the city core could motivate current homeowners to cash in and put their equity towards larger properties that are closer to their place of work,” she tells Livabl.

Graham says that findings from Zoocasa’s Housing Trends Survey, released earlier this year, shine some light on the situation.

“Out of aspiring buyers, 36 per cent said that commute time to work was ‘very important’, 26 per cent indicated ‘important,’ while 20 per cent indicated ‘somewhat important,’” she shares. “Only 18 per cent indicated commute time was ‘not important at all’.”

She also notes that 55 per cent of respondents indicated that their next home purchase would be a larger property, which could mean that they would be looking at more spacious suburban options.

That’s a trend that Fox Marin Associates broker of record Ralph Fox sees when working with first time buyers.

“I see it when I’m working with young people looking to buy in the condo market,” he tells Livabl. “Over time, when you look at people who are reverse commuters, when their families start to grow they’ll likely start looking outside of the downtown core, closer to where they work.”

Fox says that, aside from convenience, it often comes down to a matter of space.

“I see people come to the realization that there’s a big difference between 600 square feet, 1000 square feet, and a full house,” he shares. “If you want space, but you want something affordable, you have to look outside of the downtown core.”

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