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Drive

Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

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Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

Drive

You may have heard the old real estate adage, “Drive till you qualify.” The idea being that buyers who can’t afford to buy a home in the city, should drive to surrounding areas to find more affordable and larger homes, with potentially more appealing lifestyle and environmental benefits.

At least that’s the idea.

In practice, however, such a plan may not be quite so simple. A new study from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) shows that increased commuting costs and time could offset any financial savings of buying a cheaper home in an outlying area.

“By assessing the combination of commuting costs and housing costs, one can gain a more comprehensive gauge of the total cost of location choices,” says Andrew Scott, senior analyst, economics, for CMHC.

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Source: CMHC

 

In 2016, there were approximately 2.6 million commuters in the GTA, with 1.3 million of them commuting to a place of work in the city of Toronto. This made it the most common destination for GTA commuters. Roughly two-thirds of these commuters lived within the cityitself, while the remaining commuted from the 905 areasof the GTA. Pickering had the highest share of people commuting into Toronto, at 52.6 per cent, followed by Ajax (48.4 per cent), Markham (46.9 per cent), Vaughan (40.8 per cent), Richmond Hill (39.1 per cent), Whitby (32.2 per cent) and Mississauga (26.7 per cent).

Most commuters to Toronto drove, at 49 per cent, while 40 per cent took public transit. Of 905 residents who commute into the city, 67 per cent drove a car, and 21 took public transport.

Areas with longest commutes

Average duration of commutes is clearly on the rise, CMHC says, particularly among those who commute 60 minutes or more, one way. Between 2011 and 2016, this was the fastest growing segment of the commuter population, growing by 16 per cent, followed by those who commuted 45 to 59 minutes (14 per cent). Areas with one-way commutes longer than 60 minutes include Aurora, Burlington, Milton, Newmarket, Oakville and Oshawa.

Lower home prices, increase commuting cost

The most likely home type to lure buyers to the suburbs is single-detached homes, CMHC says. However, when the estimated monthly mortgage carrying cost and monthly commuting cost are combined, relatively lower priced municipalities such as East Gwillimbury, Newmarket, Mississauga, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Caledon end up costing more than or nearly as much as the city of Toronto.

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Notably, some GTA municipalities did retain their cost advantage. Even with significant commuting costs in areas such as Georgina, Oshawa and Clarington, a large cost advantage remains due to the considerably lower cost of housing.

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Based on estimates of the cost of commuting to Toronto from municipalities in the GTA, areas with lower mortgage carrying costs for single-detached housing often had significantly higher commuting costs, CMHC says. In many cases, these increased commuting costs completely offset lower home ownership costs.

Bottom line

The bottom line? Do all the math, and make sure that if you’re considering buying outside the city, your decision is based on more than money. The savings might not be there.

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Hamilton

First-time homebuyers may catch a break in certain Ontario markets

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First-time homebuyers may catch a break in certain Ontario markets

Hamilton

Attention would-be homebuyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: Recent home price trends indicate the recovery is on, but there are still some opportunities for first-time buyers in certain areas.

According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast, year-over-year home prices made modest gains in many regions across Canada in the third quarter of 2018. The national trend was largely influenced by price appreciation in Greater Vancouver, while property in the Greater Toronto Area experienced continued year-over-year price declines, with modest gains in value when compared to the previous quarter.

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite shows that the price of a home in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $625,499 in the third quarter of 2018. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 1.4 per cent year-over-year to $736,337, while the median price of a bungalow climbed 1.5 per cent to $519,886. Condominiums continued to see the highest rate of appreciation nationally when compared to the detached segment, rising 6.7 per cent year-over-year to $441,240.

Looking ahead, Royal LePage projects a further uptick in home price appreciation in the fourth quarter, forecasting a 1.5-per-cent increase in the aggregate price of a home in Canada over the next three months.

ECONOMIC FUNDAMENTALS

“Positive economic fundamentals, supported by a new agreement on trade, should bolster consumer confidence across Canada and stoke demand in the nation’s real estate market,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “Dangerously overheated regions have cooled considerably this year, while home prices have remained remarkably resilient. This is the soft landing that policy makers were hoping for.”

“I am concerned that the slower market will cause housing supply issues to be shuffled aside for other priorities,” Soper adds. “The return of runaway home prices in the country’s largest markets remains a real threat. Not this year, but in the near future. Job growth is strong, Canada is attracting more of the best and brightest from around the world and the large millennial cohort is putting increasing pressure on our limited new housing stock. It is imperative that all levels of government address looming supply shortages, particularly in affordable housing.”

After a number of years where Canada’s major real estate markets were tilted decidedly in favour of home sellers, 2018 has provided relief for many purchasers, particularly first-time buyers. “The desire to own a home remains strong with younger families,” says Soper. “Single-digit price appreciation makes pursuing the dream of home ownership a realistic proposition for many.”

FIRST-TIME OPPORTUNITIES

During the third quarter, Ontario continued to see noticeable differences between appreciation rates in the GTA and surrounding Golden Horseshoe cities and beyond. Despite some price relief in the GTA, buyers – particularly young families – from the region are venturing out to other Southern Ontario cities in search of more affordable homes, where price points are still significantly lower.

In contrast, over the same period, the aggregate price of a home in the GTA remained relatively flat year-over-year, depreciating 0.4 per cent to $836,402. The City of Toronto maintained solid ground, increasing by a healthy 5.2 per cent, while nearly every suburban region studied, except for Mississauga, posted year-over-year price declines. However, quarter-over-quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the GTA rose 1.3 per cent. By the end of the fourth quarter, Royal LePage expects the aggregate price of a home in the GTA to rise to $853,097, a further 2.0 per cent over the third quarter of 2018.

“The GTA is emerging from a housing correction that was triggered by a combination of eroding affordability and government intervention,” says Soper. “The introduction of the mortgage stress test in particular slowed activity in Toronto’s ‘905,’ bringing lower prices to the over-heated suburban region. Quarter-over-quarter trends are pointing to the end of this correctional cycle and the beginning of a modest recovery in the region.”

HOTTEST 5 GGH MARKETS BY PROPERTY TYPE

Median price growth, year-over-year, third quarter 2017-18, Royal LePage

DETACHED TWO-STOREY

Niagara-St. Catharines
9.4%
$434,946

Kitchener-Waterloo Cambridge
6.5%
$541,134

Guelph
6.2%
$589,682

Hamilton
5.1%
$606,671

Toronto
4.7%
$1.268M

 

DETACHED BUNGALOW

Niagara-St. Catharines
7.2%
$394,337

Hamilton
5.1%
$509,384

Guelph
4.9%
$501,329

Kitchener-Waterloo Cambridge
3.5%
$458,370

Vaughan
2.3%
$1.279M

 

CONDOMINIUM

Toronto
9.3%
$561,733

Mississauga
9.1%
$415,733

Hamilton
8.9%
$344,422

Kitchener-Waterloo Cambridge
7.8%
$302,184

Scarborough
6.8%
$387,149

 

RELATED READING

5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

GTA housing market correction coming to an end, ReMax says

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

 

 

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GGH

National home sales down slightly but Greater Golden Horseshoe prices holding their own

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National home sales down slightly but Greater Golden Horseshoe prices holding their own

GGH

National home sales edged down 0.4 per cent between August and September, the first decline since April, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). While sales activity is still somewhat stronger compared to the first half of the year, it remains well below most other months since 2014.

Sales declined from August to September in slightly more than half of all local markets, led by Vancouver Island and Edmonton, along with several markets in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region. Activity declines in these markets were offset by monthly gains in the Fraser Valley and Montreal.

About 70 per cent of local markets were down on a year-over-year basis, led primarily by declines in major urban centres in British Columbia, along with Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

MORTGAGE STRESS TEST

“The balance between the number of homebuyers and suitable homes varies depending on location, housing type and price range,” says CREA President Barb Sukkau. “Differences in market balance will likely come into sharper focus as interest rates rise and cause this year’s new mortgage stress test to become even more restrictive.”

The number of newly listed homes rose three per cent between August and September, led by the Lower Mainland and the GTA. More than half of all local markets posted a monthly increase in new listings.

“Sales activity may get all the press, but it’s the balance between that and the number of homes for sale that sets the tone for pricing environment,” says Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “In markets with an abundant supply of homes and slower sales activity, buyers have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations over price. However, in places where buyers are keen to make a purchase but there’s a shortage of homes for sale, sellers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to price. It will be interesting to see how supply and demand respond to rising interest rates amid this year’s new mortgage stress-test.”

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in September 2018.

The Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index (HPI) was up 2.3 per cent year-over-year in September – in line with those posted in each of the two previous months.

Condo units posted the largest year-over-year price gains in September (8.4 per cent), followed by townhomes (4.5 per cent). Meanwhile, one-storey and two-storey single-family home prices were little changed on a year-over-year basis.

REGIONAL VARIATION

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the HPI. Among the markets in the GGH, home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (eight per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (6.1 per cent), the Niagara Region (5.9 per cent), the GTA (two per cent), and Oakville-Milton (1.4 per cent). By contrast, home prices slipped lower in Barrie and District (-3.6 per cent).

In BC, home price gains are diminishing on a year-over-year basis in Greater Vancouver (2.2 per cent), and Fraser Valley (8.5 per cent). Meanwhile, prices in Victoria were up 8.7 per cent year-over-year in September, and elsewhere Vancouver Island they climbed 13.2 per cent.

Across the Prairies, benchmark home prices remained below year-ago levels in Calgary (-2.6 per cent), Edmonton (-2.6 per cent), Regina (-4.7 per cent) and Saskatoon(-1.9 per cent).

Home prices rose by 6.9 per cent in Ottawa (led by an 7.9 per cent increase in two-storey single family home prices), by 6.1 per cent in Greater Montreal (led by a seven-per-cent increase in townhome prices) and by 3.4 per cent in Greater Moncton (led by a 10.3 per cent increase in condo prices).

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in September 2018 was slightly less than $487,000, up just 0.2 per cent from the same month last year.

The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in the GVA and GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $104,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just over $383,000.

RELATED READING

GTA housing market correction coming to an end, ReMax says

GTA new home market quiet in August

 

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