Once again, another survey shows that the "drive 'till you qualify" approach to buying a home no longer appeals. Joel Kotkin can suck on this: A new BMO (big Canadian bank) survey shows a wide disparity between what older repeat homeowners are looking for and what younger first time buyers want.
Jennifer Pigg in the Toronto Star writes that after being in a safe neighbourhood,
the No. 2 priority for first-time buyers — which has helped fuel the boom of downtown cores and condos in Toronto and other major cities across the country over the last decade — is being near transit, according the BMO survey.
The actual data are a lot more nuanced.
In most Canadian cities the downtown areas are among the safest, so given the overwhelming importance of "safe neighbourhood" the relevance to US cities might be skewed right here. When I asked my wife about her opinions about why quiet streets and good neighbours were less important to younger, first time buyers, she said "that's because they're first time buyers." She has a point.
But nobody can dispute that access to public transit and a short commute is a lot more important to first time buyers, generally younger people, than it is to the national average. Interestingly, the bigger the city and the worse the commute, (look at Toronto and Vancouver numbers) the more important it is.
There are fascinating regional differences. Maritimers love good neighbours and couldn't care less about transit; Quebecois want quiet as much as safety; Vancouverites really like to shop and party. But there is no question about the over-arching trend: short commutes and good transit are driving the bus.