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Friday, April 19th, 2024

Searching for a home

By: Wayne Karl


November 4, 2011 – Ever notice how many developers boast their new community is “just minutes from shopping, schools and all the amenities!”? And that “Everything you need is right at your doorstep”?

This is not just marketing gimmickry at work. These factors really matter, as such attractions are critical in determining a development’s appeal to buyers – for lifestyle and comfort while living there, as well as resale potential down the road.

However, one of those factors carries a little more weight than the others: proximity to infrastructure.

The federal and provincial governments have been spending billions on infrastructure improvements over the last few years to upgrade highways, transit systems, airports and other services such as health care. For housing developments, this means more and better access.

In such cases, it’s no exaggeration to say the infrastructure developments have allowed new communities to literally sprout up along the way.

Numerous studies throughout North America and elsewhere show that proximity to mass transit and highways has the most significant impact on property values, since it improves residents’ accessibility to a city’s central business district and other areas with employment opportunities.

The greatest benefit, according to Cutting Edge Research Inc., a Vancouver-based real estate consultancy that examines housing trends across the country, is for properties located within 500 metres of stations along new transit lines. Value enhancements can be 10 to 20 per cent higher for homes within this distance than those outside of it.

Distance is now measured in minutes, not kilometres,” says Don Campbell, president of Cutting Edge, summarizing a principle that homebuyers can follow: as people increasingly consider commuting times in their buying decisions, proximity to transportation is a top determining factor for both convenience and resale value.

Consider the following checklist of key questions, from Vancouver-based real estate research and consulting firm Cutting Edge Research Inc., for analyzing the potential of an area. The more “yes” answers you get, the better the location.

12 questions to ask before you buy

» Is the area’s average income increasing faster than the provincial average?
» Is the area’s population growing faster than the provincial average?
» Is the area creating jobs faster than the provincial average?
» Does the area have more than one major employer?
» Will the area benefit from an economic or real estate ripple effect?
» Has the political leadership created an economic growth atmosphere?
» Is the Economic Development Office progressive and helpful?
» Is the area’s infrastructure being built to handle the expected growth?
» Are there any major transportation improvements in the works?
» Is the area attractive to Baby Boomers’ lifestyle?
» Is there a short-term problem occurring that is likely to disappear in the future?
» Is there a noted increase in labour and materials cost in the area?

Source: Cutting Edge Research Inc.

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