TORONTO, ONTARIO, May 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new report released today by Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada brings into focus the importance of commuting issues for urban families, and uncovers trends relating to public transit and transportation that have potential implications for local real estate markets. The report also uncovers new information about the neighbourhood characteristics that young families value most when buying a home, highlighting new priorities amongst this increasingly influential cohort.

Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s Modern Family Home Ownership Trends Report: Neighbourhoods “in Transit” found that 28% of “modern family” homeowners in Canda’s major metropolitan areas reported that a neighbourhood’s transit-friendliness is one of their top three priorities when purchasing a home.  This exceeds the 17% of families who identified car-friendliness as a leading priority for their home location, and significantly surpasses the 4% who reported a neighbourhood’s  cycling-friendliness as a top consideration.

“Metropolitan areas across Canada have been grappling with balancing the needs of growing populations, and various priorities in transportation, ” says Josh O’Neill, General Manager of Mustel Group. “This report sheds light on the specific needs and priorities of young urban families when it comes to the neighbourhoods in which they live and buy real estate, with findings that highlight the importance of the issue of transportation for this cohort.”  

According to survey findings, 57% of modern family homeowners purchased their home within a half an hour drive or commute to their workplace or school. 84% of modern family homeowners are satisfied with the length of their commute.

Survey findings also revealed that when purchasing a home, the leading neighbourhood consideration for modern family homeowners in every region surveyed is safety: 48% of  young urban family homeowners ranked this as one of their top three neighbourhood priorities.  Other location priorities for families when home buying include proximity to work (ranked by 38% of families as being one of their top three neighbourhood priorities), proximity to family (30%), being close to parks and nature (24%), and living close to an elementary or secondary school (24%).

“Transportation and housing have always been inextricably linked. Investments into any transportation infrastracture, whether rapid transit, bus lines, roads, or bikelanes, not only have a direct impact on a community’s quality of life, but often, real estate values,” says Brad Henderson, President and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “The importance that many of today’s young families are placing on neighbourhood public transit access 11when home buying reflects changing attitudes and values, the strains of cost of living, as well as improvements to transit infrastructure made to date. These priorities also point to what this influential group of buyers will deem prime real estate locations in the future.”

Neighbourhoods “in Transit” is the latest report in a multi-part series focused on the home ownership trends of young urban families. It is based on findings from a survey of 1,743 families in the Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal Census Metropolitan Areas, with a focus on ones where the adults are between the ages of 20 and 45.

National Highlights

More Families Prioritize Transit than Neighbourhood’s Car- and Cycling-Friendliness
Across Canada’s key metropolitan areas, young urban family homeowners are more likely to prioritize neighbourhood transit-friendliness over neighbourhood car- or cycling-friendliness when buying a home.  Overall, 28% of modern family homeowners reported transit-friendliness as one of their top three location priorities in a home purchase, exceeding the 17% of families who reported car-friendliness and 4% who reported cycling-friendliness as dominant considerations.

Transit-friendliness is a leading location priority for 30% of modern family homeowners in Vancouver, 29% of families in Toronto and Montreal, and 21% of families in Calgary. In comparison, neighbourhood car-friendliness, including access to major arteries and parking, was cited as being one of the top three location priorities for fewer families. Neighbourhood car-friendliness was reported as a leading location factor by 13% of Vancouver families, 17% of Toronto families, 19% of Montreal families and 20% of Calgary families.

When buying a home, neighbourhood cycling-friendliness is considered a leading location priority by 5% of young families who are homeowners in Vancouver and Calgary, 2% of families in Toronto, and 7% of families in Montreal.

Commute Concerns Supercede Social Support and Other Amenities
The Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada survey revealed that while  neighbourhood safety is the top priority for modern family homeowners, transportation and commuting needs are critical considerations.  According to survey findings, buying a home close to work is a leading priority for 38% of modern family homeowners across Canada’s largest metropolitan areas when purchasing a home. Behind only neighbourhood safety, this factor was most likely to be reported as being amongst this cohort’s top three location priorities, cited at rates of 33% and 45% in Vancouver and Calgary respectively, and 37% in both Toronto and Montreal.

Notably, modern family homeowners are more likely to report proximity to work as a key location priority compared to being close to family and friends, or being close to other community amenities, including parks, schools, shopping and entertainment.

Commute Times and Commuter Satisfaction
Findings from the Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada survey reveal that the majority of modern family homeowners choose to purchase their primary home within a specific commute limit to their workplace or school: 57% bought their home within less than half an hours’ drive or commute to these destinations. More specifically, 15% live within less than 10 minutes, and 42% live between 10 to 29 minutes from work or school.

This trend varies slightly between the major metropolitan areas surveyed, however, more than half in each region choose to buy within this half an hour radius. Young families in Calgary are the most likely to have a commute of less than half an hour, with 69% living within less than 30 minutes drive or commute to work or school. 59% of modern family homeowners in Vancouver, 58% in Montreal and 52% in Toronto share this commute time.

Young urban families living in Toronto and Vancouver are the most likely to have purchased a home with a commute time of over an hour, at rates of 12% and 13% respectively.  Only 6% of modern family homeowners in Montreal and 1% in Calgary bought their home over one hour’s distance from their place of work or study.

Of the metropolitan areas surveyed, families in Calgary and Toronto have the highest level of overall satisfaction with their commute, with 87% of Calgary families and 84% of Toronto indicating that they are either “very” or “somewhat satisfied”, compared to 82% in Montreal and 81% in Vancouver.  However, Montreal families are the most likely to report that they are “very satisfied” with their commute, at a rate of 46%, compared to 41% in Calgary, 38% in Vancouver and 32% in Toronto.

Neighbourhood Selection: Safety First
Despite the importance placed on commute times and transportation when buying a home, the top location priority consideration for modern family homeowners in every region surveyed is safety. Overall, 48% of  young urban family homeowners ranked safety as one of their top three neighbourhood priorities when buying a home.  Neighbourhood safety is a key priority for 45% of modern families in Vancouver, 50% in Calgary, 51% in Toronto and 46% in Montreal.

About Mustel Group
Mustel Group has been a leading market research and public opinion research firm in Canada for more than 30 years, trusted by a wide range of the country’s most esteemed public and private sector institutions to design and conduct qualitative research, quantitative research and omnibus surveys in order to understand the thoughts and motivations underlying peoples’ emotions, opinions and
behaviours. For further information, visit

About Sotheby's International Realty Canada
Combining the world's most prestigious real estate brand with local market knowledge and specialized marketing expertise, Sotheby's International Realty Canada is the leading real estate sales and marketing company for the country's most exceptional properties. With offices in over 32 residential and resort markets nationwide, our professional associates provide the highest caliber of real estate service, unrivalled local and international marketing solutions and a global affiliate sales network of approximately 990 offices in 72 countries and territories to manage the real estate portfolios of discerning clients from around the world. For further information, visit

The information contained in this report references market data from MLS boards across Canada. Sotheby's International Realty Canada cautions that MLS market data can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differentials within local markets. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by Sotheby's International Realty Canada or Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates for any loss or damage resultant from any use of, reliance on, or reference to the contents of this document.

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