April 30, 2003

Study says it’s cheaper to live in the suburbs and commute

According to an analysis by Runzheimer International, a consulting firm that specializes in cost-of-living comparisons, consumers save considerable sums by moving to the outlying suburbs.

The living communities of Don Mills and Willowdale are close to downtown Toronto and pricey, averaging $475,000 with only a 16 kilometre roundtrip daily commute. Move to Agincourt or Scarborough and increase the commute to 64 kilometres per day, but decrease housing prices to under $300,000.

“You now live in a beautiful home that you can afford,” notes Dennis Taylor, Runzheimer relocation consultant and cost-of-living expert, “but your lifestyle has deteriorated considerably. And it doesn’t only affect the hardworking breadwinner/commuter. The amount of diminished quality family time impacts everyone from spouse to kids.”

“There are a number of acceptable alternatives to the commuting dilemma,” according to relocation expert Taylor. “Find a company that allows you to set up a home office. If they won’t agree to you working at home five days a week, try for two or three. Strike out on your own and set up your own business. Or, take a job with a company headquartered in the suburbs. Of course, many occupations do not permit this kind of flexibility, or the job in the downtown location is simply too good to pass up. In these cases, learn to enjoy the commute.”

Living Communities Home Value Roundtrip Commute to Downtown Commute Cost Per Day

Notre-Dame-De-Grace $235,700 3.2 kilometres roundtrip $ 1.33
Brossard, Longueuil, Candiac $181,200 16 kilometres $ 6.64

Don Mills, Willowdale $475,400 16 kilometres $ 6.64
Agincourt, Scarborough $297,500 64 kilometres $26.56

North Vancouver $376,500 16 kilometres $ 6.64
Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge $247,100 38 kilometres $15.77

Canadian home ownership is based on 1,700 sq. ft., 7-room, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in living communities where middle-income families reside. The cost of Canadian commuting kilometres is based on vehicle ownership and operating costs of 41.5 cents per kilometre between suburban locations and downtown and assumes a mid-sized vehicle driven 24,000 kilometres per year. Tolls and parking are not included.

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