If you're one of the many thousands of commuters currently trudging from destinations outside the city of Toronto to a place of work downtown, then this article's for you.
Sure, while the suburbs of growing cities like Milton, Burlington, Whitby or Hamilton can potentially offer slightly larger accommodations and lower price tags, none of these things come without a price. Whether it's wear and tear on the car or wear and tear on the body, the modern day commute to and from Toronto comes at a cost that all homebuyers must consider before opting for the suburbs.
Looking down Lakeshore Blvd. at Sunset by Halley Toft
To help you discover whether a "no-commute" downtown lifestyle is right for you – or whether it's even doable – you couldn't do better than seek professional advice from The Julie Kinnear Team. Experts in matching prospective buyers with the right Toronto home, The Julie Kinnear Team – based in the heart of Toronto – have helped countless first-time and already established homeowners "kill the commute."
"Far too many home buyers look to the suburbs in the bigger towns and cities outside Toronto without ever really considering the implications of such a move," says Julie Kinnear, leader of the Team and an agent with Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty. "I've had clients who have sold with us to move out to the 'burbs, and have regretted it and chosen to move back into the city. There are a lot things to think about before taking the plunge."
Suburban Skyline by Benson Kua
In fact, according to Kinnear, by the time such things as the cost of a daily commute – whether it's using public transit or a car – are factored into the equation, the supposed benefits of living outside the city soon start to pale in comparison.
"Public transit isn't cheap, and it can take a lot of time getting in and out of the city given the lack of smooth transit infrastructure beyond Toronto's borders," she says, citing the example of a client who was in Barrie and moved back to Toronto due to the more than 1.5 hour commute they faced each way. "That's three hours a day just getting to the Go Station, which was around a 20 minute drive from their house. Add it all up, and that's nearly four hours a day, or 20 hours a week! It certainly begs asking the question: is commuting really worth it?"
"What's more," adds Kinnear, "just think how much worse that commute is with the inclement weather we get during our long winters. Even if you're not relying on public transit, driving can be treacherous!"
The Benefits of Kicking the Commute
The following are some of the most important reasons why homebuyers – whether singles, couples or families – must first consider Toronto over the alternative in suburbia:
- Saving Time: The Julie Kinnear Team has helped numerous first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners who work in the city purchase the perfect Toronto home. Whether it's a condo in the downtown core that's just a few minutes walk to the office, or a house in an established neighbourhood that's only a bike, streetcar or subway ride away from your workplace, The Julie Kinnear Team will help show you how the hours saved by reducing the commute can quickly add up. Says Julie Kinnear: "The priority for our clients in Toronto is walkability. Imagine being able to walk to pick up groceries, walk to go out for dinner, walk to the park, or walk to school."
- Saving Money: Commuting doesn't come cheap. When the costs of a car, insurance, wear and tear, parking and public transit, (even just getting to and from your local transit hub and paying for parking there) are all factored in and added to the main commute itself, things start tilting in favour of opting for the Toronto lifestyle. As with so many international cities, people in Toronto are more and more opting to go without a car, preferring instead to use services such as Zip Car when a vehicle is needed. And those that do own cars in Toronto can save thousands of dollars a year by being able to avoid maintenance and wear and tear costs.
- Health and Sanity: Short commutes also mean less wear and tear on both body and mind. Stress is well known as a major cause of illnesses, and less time stuck in congested traffic or on crowded trains and buses means more time for exercise – and there's a lot to be said for a brisk walk or bike ride to work.
- Winter Blues: Southern Ontario is prone to long winters with cold, snowy, slick and dangerous driving conditions. Avoiding having to be on the highways and roads is a big concern, and on "snow days", if you're living outside Toronto, you might be forced to miss work, which is itself another cost to factor in.
- Social Life and Family Time: Just think of all the fun that can be had with all that extra time! For example, a commute of 2½ hours a day, five days a week is at least an additional working day per week – time that could be spent pursuing a hobby, or spending quality down time with your children, and friends.
- Going Green: Think about the future and our environment! All those cars on our roads and stuck in congested traffic produce a huge amount of smog and pollution.
Highway 401 at Yonge St. by Benny Lin
To learn more about how you can kick your commute, contact The Julie Kinnear Team for a free consultation and advice on finding the right commute-free home in Toronto.