Apart from Halifax, NS, affordability is the most important factor for Atlantic Canada home buyers when choosing a neighbourhood. This is due to ongoing pressures of housing demand, as well as economic circumstances in St. John’s, NL, Charlottetown, PEI and Moncton, NB – albeit, overall, the region continues to offer pockets affordability, especially as compared to Ontario and Western Canada. Due to the large distances between homes and everyday activities in Atlantic Canada, proximity to schools (in 100 per cent of regions), public transit (in 50 per cent of regions), green space (in 50 per cent of regions), childcare and grocery stores (in 25 per cent of regions) are still a priority for prospective buyers. As such, residents in these areas have to rely on vehicles as the primary mode of transportation, making drive-ability between neighbourhoods and everyday necessities a strong consideration for prospective buyers. In general, these priorities are not anticipated to change significantly.
As Canada continues to grapple with a housing crisis rooted in a persistent inventory shortage, RE/MAX Canada explores possible solutions through the launch of its latest report, 15-Minute Neighbourhood: Lessons for Small Communities. The report, named for an urban planning concept that puts daily necessities within a 15-minute walk, bicycle or transit ride from home, attempts to highlight this pragmatic approach to building the right supply of housing for the greatest number of Canadians, in a way that delivers maximum liveability and affordability – particularly in smaller municipalities that are experiencing rapid growth.
Quality of life is considered to be very satisfactory in Atlantic Canada which can be attributed to the availability of family-friendly amenities, its relative affordability as compared to other provinces and proximity to parks, rivers, oceans and the like. One of the most common pain points for residents is the long distances they must travel to their workplace. Thus, closing this gap with neighbourhoods that offer greater proximity to work or improvements to public transportation (something that is already underway in cities like Charlottetown, PEI) would be key drivers to boosting liveability. Due to the over-reliance on cars that are needed because of the infrastructure of these regions, implementing neighbourhoods that are a 15-minute drive to amenities would be more feasible and a stepping-stone to achieving the ideal 15-minute concept where walking, biking and public transportation are just as reliable as the car.
In the 15-Minute Neighbourhoods Report, RE/MAX Canada examined a selection of large and small markets from coast to coast, with RE/MAX brokers and agents asked to share their insights into local liveability. Here’s what they had to say.