I’ll detail why homebuyers will want to move out of the city and into the burbs, even if they have to commute downtown.
If you work in Toronto, you might want to live in Toronto, but the increasingly elevated home prices in Toronto are keeping many buyers out of that market. Moving to the suburbs is definitely a viable alternative for those who can’t afford the city, but many worry about the commute. Markham is its own little city, rivaling Toronto in terms of urban infrastructure, jobs and transit, but without the hefty price tag. It is also not as bad of a commute as many urban dwellers like to believe.
With the 404/DVP running through Markham, this is an efficient way to drive downtown. This highway takes you right to the Gardiner Expressway, where you can make your way west through the city to your destination. The highway can get congested during rush hour times, so if you need to drive, plan your commutes earlier (before 7am/3pm) or later (after 10am/6pm). Even in traffic, the commute from Markham shouldn’t take more than an hour each way. Using the highway 407 will also cut down your commute time going east or west through Markham. This is a toll road, but by buying a transponder, you’ll save on this cost.
If you can get another passenger, you can use the high occupancy lanes, located on the 404 highway. These are essentially carpool lanes, which allow you to bypass the traffic of other commuters who only have a driver in the vehicle. If you need to find someone to carpool with, Smart Commute has a great online tool that could potentially match you with someone who needs a ride or can give one.
Using the GO train is a very efficient way to get to downtown Toronto. There are four GO Transit train stations located in Markham, along the Stouffville line. Leaving from the Markham station, located at 214 Main Street in Markham, your commute will take less than an hour. If you are leaving from the more southern Unionville Station, located at 155 YMCA Blvd., your commute will be approximately 45 minutes. What’s great about taking the train is that you can rest during your travel by reading a book, napping or even playing on the iPad. All stations have free WiFi, which is definitely a perk while you wait for your train. All stations have parking, bicycle racks, a kiss and ride and transit that connects you to the station, so getting there to catch your train is very easy. You’ll also get a tax credit for your transit pass, putting money back into your pocket.
Riding your bike from Markham is very possible, even if you going all the way to downtown Toronto. Plan your route with Ride the City to find the safest or the most direct route.
If you are looking to buy a home in Markham, but work downtown, there are other ways that you can make your commute less of a hassle. A compressed workweek, where you work 4 longer days and take one day off a week will greatly reduce your commute time, by both getting you to leave outside of rush hour times and taking one day off your commute. Telework or working from home is becoming increasingly popular with many employers and the more you can do it, the less you need to commute.