Condo Market: Teaming Up with Transit
It’s a sign of the times
There is a famous old saying that endures forever; ‘time is money’. Perhaps because time is one of the things that money can’t buy And there’s simply not enough time in the day for us to keep up in the 24/7 world we work and live in.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, the world seemed to move more deliberately, distinctively more slowly. I remember my first position in the corporate world. Messages on pink pieces of paper on your desk. Regular mail would suffice for most of the business correspondence, a courier or taxi if something was really urgent. Gave us more time to think and correspond more accurately in some ways. No computers or internet; cell phones were only for the privileged and few. Rush hour was actually that; an hour at the beginning and one at the end of the work day.
Fast forward to today, and little remains the same. The expectation in business, for example, is much different; urgency prevails. The moment someone sends an email, it is a given that it has been accepted immediately. Time begins to tick. Everything is time sensitive – even if it isn’t. Texting while driving is a bad answer; highly irresponsible and expensive. And getting to meetings on time; that is always important; among other things, respect for others and their time.
If you drive in this town, you inevitably develop an understanding of timeliness. Rush hour has no boundaries. Construction (yeah) is everywhere. Parking lots have become scarce. Parking is often an adventure, a costly one at that. While better than many cities of our size in this hemisphere, we have our share of pot holes. speed bumps and closures. It never seems to end.
A new generation of city travellers, young and old alike, have become transit only travellers. Subways, buses, GO trains, streetcars; anything beats driving. Not to mention, there are few assets anywhere that depreciate as quickly as a brand new car the minute you drive if off the lot.
It’s no coincidence that public transit has a huge effect on home values in and around the GTA. Expect this to continue where the new subway stations, GO stops and LRT’s appear. This past December, the subway station at York University opened, satisfying the thousands of people who bought new condos and homes that aligned with this important stop. Similarly, thousands of new homes have been sold recently in Vaughan in anticipation of the expansion of the subway to Highway 7 and eventually beyond. GO expansion is active on both sides of Lakeshore to the south, and ongoing in northern locales like Barrie, Stouffville, and Richmond Hill. Watch Grimsby; it’s on its way.
I remember reading an article in the Financial Post. Avison Young’s study showed that condos downtown on the subway were worth 30 per cent more than others 500 metres away; that being the line where the walk to the station is outside of many’s comfort zone. Expect that trend to follow in neighbourhoods everywhere. Another reading I perused some time ago referenced the number of transit stops in different neighbourhoods of Toronto; this came out last year when Toronto’s system was noted as the best in North America by the American Public Transport Association. The best serviced neighbourhoods had upwards of 45 transit stops per square kilometre; areas to the east and west and north were in the mid upper teens. The cost of housing similarly decreases for every minute one travels away from core areas and away from public transit in many cases.
As the city and its outskirts continue to grow, expect this to continue. Access to public transit will help define what makes a location valuable and marketable. Expect that now and going forward. Very much a sign of the times!
MARK COHEN is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.