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What Attracts First-Time Buyers to a Neighbourhood? Transit!

Homes are our safe haven, and so it should come as no surprise that safety is the top factor when home buyers, first-timers or otherwise, use this as their key deciding factor in where to buy. In fact, 62 per cent of first-time buyers consider safety to be the most important factor when deciding on where to buy, just below the 63 per cent where the national average sits. But aside from safety, what are first-time buyers really looking for when it comes to choosing the location of their home? It’s proximity to transit!

According to a recent BMO survey, proximity to transit and to being in a central location are the top priorities for today’s first-time buyers, and it certainly explains the booms happening in downtown cores all across the country, especially in Toronto. And those same buyers are even willing to give up those prime locations, as long as they’re located somewhere close to subway stations and bus stops. While 19 per cent of the nation’s buyers said that this is most important to them (or second most important, after safety,) 28 per cent of first-time buyers said this was one of their top priorities when choosing where to live.

But while first-time buyers may be willing to edge out of those downtown areas a bit, as long as they’re still close to transit, it doesn’t mean that they want to move too far away from those areas. 34 per cent of first-time buyers said that short commutes were also important when choosing a home, higher than the national average of 28 per cent.

And in keeping with short commutes and still always being somewhat centrally located, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that according to the survey, being close to amenities such as shops and restaurants is also important for today’s first-time buyer – or at least 28 per cent of them, compared with the 23 per cent of the national average.

With all the hustle and bustle of a central location, you’re not likely to find a quiet street, and that’s why the survey’s next findings are somewhat surprising. While first-time buyers do want the short commute that’s close to work and everything else, as well as being a prime stop on all transit routes, 30 per cent of them still want to find a home on a quiet street. That’s compared with the national average of 43 per cent of other buyers; but those other buyers also didn’t place central locations so near the top of their priority list.

With all of these priorities on buyers’ lists, what aren’t buyers looking for? Being close to their friends and family. According to the survey, only 20 per cent of first-time buyers listed this as a priority, while only 25 per cent of all national buyers placed this as a priority. However, because employment and other factors may take some family members away from others, this may be one area in which buyers have very little control, anyway.

Are you a buyer on today’s market? Are you a first-time buyer or have you made a purchase before? What are your biggest priorities when deciding where to live, and do they match up with the results of the survey?

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