Aug. 9, 2009

Toronto's Transport system: Be Ready for Shake-Out

The transportation system is the crucial element of every big city in the world and Toronto is no exemption. In the last four decades, Toronto has faced a population explosion: nowadays it has almost five times more people than in 1970. That's why our transportation system needs to change in order to be able to satisfy the changing demands. Only improvised solutions have been provided by a number of minor improvements in the past. Nevertheless, in the upcoming years, the character of transportation in south Ontario will be totally changed by a project known as The Big Move. (picture by yjh)
MoveOntario2020 is the name of the key part of this overall transportation outlook. It has been announced in June 2007 (is that a coindicence that liberals were reelected just in October after that?) and people are now impatiently anticipating the new reality. $17.5 billion is the total budget set apart for the 52 projects of the total plan ($11.5 billion covered by Ontario’s budget). 1. GO Transit upgrades and extensions; 2. Major municipal transit expansions; 3. Cross-boundary subway expansions; and 4. Rapid-rail link between Toronto Union Station and Toronto

Real estate and transit system

The real estate in Toronto is a very complex industry and can be influenced by many different attributes, either only a little, or the impact may be bigger. It may often be difficult to identify the effect of a concrete change in the local or global economic environment, but clearly there are some factors that are more relevant than other ones. One of the key attributes is the transportation system.

You all can imagine the way in which transportation system positively influences the quality of living. For instance, the direct expenses on commuting are smaller, just as indirect expenses such as time consumption. Moreover, we can mention easier accessibility of public facilities or cleaner air and generally healthier environment, whereas there only a few minor negative short-term aspects.

There are a number of research papers attempting to quantify the effect of various improvements in transportation system. One of the papers from Tinbergen Institute, dealing with railways, offers a number of 25% - that is how much the positive effect of railway accesibility on house price can be. Every house's value can grow by 2.5% on average, provided that the public transport frequency is improved twice. This is valid just one year after the works are completed.

MoveOntario impact on the real estate in Toronto in upcoming years

Our expected outcomes can be based on a recent research made by REIN Canada. One of the key means of transport to decrease the commuting time is a rail commuting system, in Toronto represented by subway and GO Train system.

This kind of system has a positive impact on areas about 800m around from every station, with price maximization in 500m range. The areas that are impacted the strongest are older neighbourhoods or places where people earning less money live. Speaking about real estate prices effect, we can mention Toronto neighbourhoods around Spadina and Younge subway lines extensions. For GO Train it’s more complex; there are 17 projects involving capacity expansion, new lines and/or lines extension and there are 9 more projects involving GO Bus Rapid. In Waterfront and Eglinton neighbourhoods, we suppose a similar effect brought about by new light train transit lines.


All the effects of MoveOntario 2020 on Toronto real estate market are just not possible to be described in one text. The REIN study shows that the most positively affected areas will be around Vaughan, Scarborough and Barrie. Coming next should be the regions of Milton, Brambton and Uxbridge&Stoufville, these will also enjoy high influence. These regions can await 10-20% price rise. The third group is represented by all Toronto quarters which lie along the new lines or along the old lines, which capacity will be improved. Positive effect on real estate prices should appear 1-3 years after the particular project is completed.

And we still haven't described everything. With more neighbourhoods being easily accessible thanks to the new transport system, also the quality of life near the old parts will be better. Some 175 000 jobs are expected to be created thanks to MoveOntario, which may again positively impact the Toronto area real estate prices. With well-functioning transport system we are going to attract more people, more investors and more business. The whole Toronto will profit from the improved transport system and the house values in the area may grow for the next decades.


CoachingByPeter said...

Many investors have strong feelings about real estate either for or against. It's better to stay only in those markets that are liquid that are easy to understand and deal with, and that offer an attractive compromise between risk and reward.

Elli Davis said...

Depends! Niche markets can be dangerous, but you can make nice breakthrough even with little cash. But yes, most of the classic buyers and investors should stay with both feet on the ground, this is for crazy adventurers...