The non-existent exodus from Toronto
The City of Toronto has always been, and will continue to be, a residential destination magnet
I’m sure you’ve heard about the ongoing pandemic-driven exodus of Toronto residents looking to the 905 areas to find larger work-from-home residences. Data indicates there is some pull to cities such as Pickering and Oakville, what we call 18-hour cities vs. the 24-hour City of Toronto – but not an exodus.
In fact, it’s the opposite – especially now that the average price of homes in the 905 has surpassed that of the 416 area. CREA statistics showed that in April, the average price in the 905 was $1,082,916, and in the 416 area, $1,028,662.
As the vaccine-receiving work world opens up again and commuting gets underway, people are looking at the suburbs thinking – do I really want to pay $60,000 more for a home and then drive an hour or two to work in Toronto?
Torontonians are deciding to stay where they are and enjoy the urban lifestyle. We also see buyers who want to live in Toronto but can’t afford a large home or condo, so instead opt for a 500 or 600 square-foot suite for now. They know they can move up when they gain equity.
These may also be second residences for those who live out of town. It gives them a pied-à-terre when they want urban life, and it’s a great investment for their financial portfolio. The result is that the Toronto condo market is still hot.
Right now, 25- to 35-year-old millennials represent up to 65 per cent of all real estate transactions – a huge driver for sales in the city. These buyers appreciate not having to own a vehicle. They want a “lighter” lifestyle than their parents, so they don’t want the white elephant of a house. They are trading the dream of owning a low-rise home for doing other things. Toronto has the life and vibrancy they want.
The other side of the coin are empty-nesters who have lived in the suburbs all their lives. Now that the kids are grown, they may choose to own a condo in one of Toronto’s great neighbourhoods and then maybe a smaller place elsewhere. Think the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, or even Blue Mountain and Collingwood, where values have doubled in the past year.
Another case for staying in or moving to Toronto is the fact that city workplaces are poised to open again. Although I believe companies may maintain flexibility about working from home, I see them having employees come back to the office, even for a couple days each week. In our company, our colleagues are excited at that prospect, because they miss the energy and collective brain power of interacting in person.
When immigration reopens, Toronto’s population will soar. Immigrants usually seek out large urban centres where they know they will find work opportunities. And Toronto was just ranked the fastest-growing financial centre in North America when it comes to attracting finance sector workers!
The point is, we will come out of the pandemic way of thinking. Toronto has always been, and will continue to be, a residential destination magnet.
Source: Toronto Sun
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