Commute times are becoming key for first-time homebuyers, according to a new BMO survey.
Of course, finding a home in a safe neighbourhood is still the top concern, ranking as the first priority for 62 per cent of first-time buyers surveyed, just below the 63 per cent national average among buyers overall.
But 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.
Some 28 per cent of first-time buyers say being near subway or bus lines is a major driving force in their buying decisions, significantly more than the national average of 19 per cent among all other buyers, the report shows.
They’re also not keen to waste a lot of time just getting to and from work, with some 34 per cent of first-time buyers looking for short commutes, compared to the national average of 28 per cent.
That emerging trend has been playing out in Toronto over the last five years in particular, helping to fuel the explosion of highrise condos and the development of burgeoning neighbourhoods like Liberty Village, and also driving up prices and fuelling bidding wars for houses in coveted neighbourhoods within an easy commute of the core.
Being near family and friends, it turns out, is far less important for first-time buyers, with just 20 per cent expressing that as a priority, compared to the national average of 25 per cent.
Not surprisingly, a significant number of those childless young professionals looking to buy their first home are looking to be close to the action, with 28 per cent keen to find a place close to restaurants and stores (compared to the national average of 23 per cent) and just 30 per cent set on being on a quite street, compared to the 43 per cent of other buyers surveyed.