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The BMO Home Buying Report

Flickr: jrgcastro

According to a new report released by Bank of Montreal (BMO), 63 per cent of Canadians view neighbourhood safety as the most important location-related feature to consider when purchasing a home. Conducted by Pollara, the survey measured the level of priority homebuyers place on different location features. Aside from the top-ranking feature, neighbourhood safety, the results showed that other important buying factors related to location were: quiet streets, good neighbours, a short commute to work, and being close to family and friends.

The survey isolated different buyer preferences by region, while also comparing first-time homebuyers against experienced homeowners on a national level. The results indicated significant differences in buyer preferences between first-time homebuyers and experienced homeowners. Having a short commute to work and living near public transit was significantly more important to first-time homebuyers. In contrast, living on a quiet street and having good neighbours were more important to experienced homeowners. These differences demonstrate how buyer preferences change over time.

When comparing individual cities, the results indicated that there are some significant differences in preferences based on the region you live in. In Western Canada, 37 per cent of homebuyers surveyed in Calgary and Vancouver said they valued the importance of a quiet street. In comparison, only 28 per cent of homebuyers in Toronto valued living in quite neighbourhoods. The differences among these regions are also apparent when looking at the importance of short commute times. Homebuyers in Calgary and Vancouver looked for shorter commute times when shopping for their homes, compared to Toronto buyers.

Homebuyers need to prioritize their preferences when looking for the right home. According to BMO Mortgage Expert Laura Parsons, “Taking a practical approach to home buying is the key to preventing yourself from getting ‘swept away’ by the bells and whistles of a house. Homebuyers should make a list of needs versus wants and prioritize them in order of highest to lowest importance.” This is great advice for homebuyers, as this type of buying process will ensure consumers can find a home that meets their most significant needs.