Access to transit increasingly important for homeowners

According to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report from PriceWaterhouseCoopersand the Urban Land Institute, tighter mortgage rules and increasingly cautious banks have helped flatten condo prices, especially in North America’s hottest condo market — Toronto.  But, cranes are expected to remain visible along major city skylines as projects already in the pipeline are fully built and the trend toward urbanization keeps demand buoyant.

The trend among young Canadians to live, play and work all in the same neighbourhood is driving a boom in both condos and urban office development.  The outlook for development of all types of property – from residential to commercial – is good in Canada, according to PwC partner Lori-Ann Beausoleil.

Transit is of increasing importance to all forms of real estate development,  she said.  “With challenging infrastructure in all major Canadian centres coupled with the urbanization trend, there will be a continued demand for retail, office and residential space in our urban centres where there is easy access to mass transit,” she said.   Redevelopment of urban areas and creation of mixed use real estate are key trends for the coming year, she said, especially in centres such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

But the report says real estate that is far from transit, or a long way from residential areas may become underused and is less likely to be redeveloped because of a significant shift in where people want to live.  Increased automobile commute times and snarled traffic are turning people off suburban living and many Canadians are choosing condo living over the house with a yard which comes with a frustrating commute.

These include the 20-somethings, who are establishing lifelong habits of urban living, and baby boomers, who want to give up snow-shovelling and be closer to the symphony,  the report said.

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