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    Riding The Value Wave: How Transit Infrastructure Is Shaping GTA Real Estate

    From GO Trains to bus systems, a deeper look at how commuter lines are transforming property values

    Written By Robert Van Rhijn

    When it comes to property values, it's not just about the granite countertops, soaring ceilings and open-concept layouts. It's really more about location, and part of what makes a location so desirable is the transit infrastructure.

    Imagine living in a bustling city like Toronto without reliable transit options. Horrifying, right? Luckily, the city's transit system is stepping up its game, and it's not just making commutes easier; it's also making properties more valuable.

    This phenomenon is not just seen in the GTA. Research from the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysisat George Washington University shows that transit investment in transit has spurred real estate growth in Detroit, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles, as well as revitalized suburban town centres.

    So let’s dive into the details as to how transit is transforming real estate values across the GTA.

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    The Subway Magic

    First up, let's talk about the TTC. The mere mention of a new subway line or station can send property values skyrocketing faster than a train leaving Union Station.

    Research has suggested that land value can go up as much as 120% because of transit. In Toronto, they haven’t found quite that much of an increase but studies have found that properties do go up in price when they’re close to a subway station.

    And it makes sense, the more convenient it is to get around from your house the more attractive it is for potential buyers.

    Take the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, for instance. This 19-kilometre, 25-station behemoth promises to cut travel times, ease congestion, and, yes, boost property values along its route. In fact, a study by Strata shows condo values along this LRT have exploded by 135%.

    The result is properties near the new stations are seeing a surge in demand, with buyers eager to snag a spot in these well-connected neighbourhoods.

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    GOing the Distance

    Next, let's hop on the GO train. The expansion of GO Transit services, especially the frequent all-day trains, has been a game-changer for the suburbs. Areas like Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham are no longer just bedroom communities—they're hot real estate markets.

    For example, East Gwillimbury, which is part of the York region, saw more than a 40% growth in population between 2016 and 2021 likely in part because it has a GO station.

    With faster and more frequent connections to Toronto, these areas are becoming increasingly attractive to buyers who want the best of both worlds: More affordable housing and easy access to the city.

    The Bus Boon

    Buses might not have the same pizazz as subways or trains, but don't underestimate their power. Enhanced bus services and dedicated bus lanes are influential. This is especially true in areas underserved by other transit options.

    One study looked at the impact of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems on property values. When looking at homes near 11 BRT systems in 10 U.S. cities — research found that multi-family residences saw a 41.5 per cent increase in price, compared to homes located in similar neighbourhoods farther away.

    Light Rail Love

    Light rail transit (LRT) projects, like the aforementioned Eglinton Crosstown, are popping up like trendy new cafes. The Finch West LRT and the Hurontario LRT are also set to make waves in GTA real estate.

    These projects not only promise shorter commutes, but also spur development and rejuvenation in the areas they serve. Property values around these LRT lines are expected to climb, as buyers also flock to these newly-connected locales.

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    The Future is Bright

    Looking ahead, the GTA's transit plans are ambitious and thrilling. With projects like the Ontario Line and the Yonge North Subway Extension in the pipeline, the real estate market is buzzing with anticipation. These upcoming transit lines are set to open up new corridors of growth, making once-overlooked areas the new hotspots for property investment.

    The Bottom Line

    So, what's the takeaway? Transit infrastructure is like the backstage crew of a rock concert — often unseen, but absolutely crucial to the success of the show. As the GTA continues to invest in its transit lines, real estate values are poised to ride this wave of connectivity and convenience.

    The more accessible a place is, transit-wise, the higher the rent goes. So whether you're a buyer, seller, landlord or just a real estate enthusiast, keep an eye on those transit maps. They're more than just lines on a page; they're the blueprint for the future of GTA real estate.

    Starting your search for a new home? Click on any of these links to access active listings, sold listings or contact a Strata agent.

    For any questions about this article or media inquires, please email media@strata.ca