Community safety and a location close to work, shopping or transportation, are the most important factors Ontarians consider when buying a home. But so too is buying a new home versus a resale for home buyers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
So suggests newly released research commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) that shows that 93 per cent of Ontario residents surveyed say safety (e.g. low crime area, building security) is important when considering properties; 85 per cent list perceived value of the home (i.e. considered a good buy based on market and amenities) as a top consideration and 80 per cent want the home to be close to amenities (e.g. shopping, transportation, etc.).
Part one of the OREA State of the Market survey focuses on what's on the minds of home buyers in the province, officials say. Part two will be released later this summer and it will focus more on the concerns of sellers.
"Almost all Ontario residents say safety is a primary importance," says Ron Abraham, president of the OREA. " Whether that's for your family or for yourself, a community, safety is an issue."
Most interesting was the finding that across Ontario, 19 per cent say they would want a newly built home; this number rose to 24 per cent for people in the GTA.
"What's interesting about that is, and according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 66 per cent of Ontario's new housing starts in the first quarter of 2012 are in the GTA," he notes. "I guess it's come to be expected in the GTA … I think they're expectations are higher than most. They want something new and that's the way it's going to be.
"It also says there's a big demand for housing in the GTA. It shows you the GTA really is the leading generator of the economy in Ontario with two-thirds of all houses being built here."
Other findings from the survey show:
- 65 per cent of respondents age 18-34 ranked quality of local schools as an important factor when buying a home
- 80 per cent of younger Ontarians (ages 18-34) say a property close to work is an important factor when buying a new home, dropping to 65 per cent for those in the 35-54 age group.
But the desire by younger home buyers to buy digs near their places of work may, in some cases, be wishful thinking. If you want to be close to work, it's going to cost you more money, Abraham adds.
"Certainly, younger people also want to work closer to home and spend less time commuting and more time with family and friends at home or in their community," he continues. "I think that's just wishful thinking in many cases because you have to combine what you really want in a house and what you can really afford … if you aren't close to work and you're not prepared to commute, you're going to have a problem. You're not going to get the home that you really want."
When asked which type of home they'd prefer to buy (new build, resale home that's move in ready, one that requires minor renovations, a fixer-upper that needs major renovations, or a buy, tear down and rebuild), more than a third said they'd prefer a resale home that's move-in ready (39 per cent). Twenty-six per cent say they'd like a home that only needs minor renovations and only 5 per cent say they would want a home that needs a major renovation.
"What's significant is a very small part of the population wants to buy a fixer-upper or a handyman special. That's consistent in the GTA and across Ontario," he says. "With not as much leisure time with the type of society that we live in, I think people want to buy a house, use it and enjoy it, rather than spending time fixing it up.
"I think the people that are buying the fixer-uppers are buying them to fix them up and resell them. It's an investment for them. They may buy one or two a year and then resell them and perhaps make their living doing that."