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- 2011 TD Canada Trust Condo Poll reveals Torontonians want a place that is close to transit and entertainment to call home sweet home…for now -

TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ - Torontonians enjoy the perks of condo life and say it is important for them to have attractive interior design, be close to public transit and entertainment and have amenities like a gym, pool or party room. According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Condo Poll, which surveyed Canadians who are thinking of buying, or recently bought a condo, Torontonians are willing to pay the highest condo fees for these perks. In fact, nearly half of Torontonians are willing to pay more than $400 per month in condo fees (46% versus only 22% across other cities surveyed).

While they are willing to pay for the perks of the condo lifestyle, condo fees could hold Torontonians back in their plans to eventually own a house. The majority of Toronto condo buyers plan to move within the next six years (54%); in fact, 15% plan to move in the next three years. Four-in-ten say if they had more money, they would buy a house rather than a condo (42%).

"Before making the decision to buy a condo and own it for only a few short years, calculate the costs that you will incur, such as condo fees, parking fees and moving expenses and work this into your budget," says Farhaneh Haque, Regional Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust. "Depending on how soon you plan to move, these costs could outweigh the equity you'll build and receive from the eventual sale of your condo." Nationally, the number planning for a short stay in their condo is highest amongst respondents under 35. Nearly one-quarter (22%) of respondents in this age group said they don't plan to spend more than three years in their condo and another 45% plan to move after four to six years.

Has the tightening of mortgage rules affected the condo market?

As the TD Canada Trust Condo Poll found younger respondents to be concerned about affordability, it is not surprising that for many in this age group (63%) the amortization change to 30 years for new mortgages had a significant impact on their decision to choose a condo over other types of homes. Lending law changes didn't influence Canadians over 50; three-quarters say the changes to lending rules had no impact on their decision to consider a condo.

Somewhat alarmingly, the poll found that more than one-quarter (29%) of those intending to buy a condo in Toronto were not even aware of the recent changes to lending rules. Nationally, this number was even higher (39%) among those under 35.

"If you plan to buy a home, it's crucial that you understand mortgage rules and options in order to make informed decisions about the mortgage you choose and the size of your down payment, possibly saving yourself a lot of money in the long run," says Haque. "Familiarize yourself with different mortgage options, so you can weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision. There are experts at the bank who can walk you through different mortgage options and help you find the right solution for you, including different flexible mortgage payment features, which is something you may need in the future."

Most important features in a condo

Despite being willing to pay higher condo fees than respondents in other cities, Torontonians named low condo fees as an important feature to look for in a condo (95%) - second only to attractive interior design (97%). Torontonians also look for good building security (94%), an energy-efficient building (92%), a balcony (91%) and parking (90%).

Of all cities surveyed, it was most important to respondents in Toronto to be close to public transit (91%), close to entertainment (87%) and have amenities like a gym, pool or party room (83%).

Condos popular with downsizing pre-retirees

Nationally, those over 50 are attracted to condos because they fit into their plans to downsize their home. Not surprisingly, when those over 50 move into a condo, 31% don't plan to move again. Since they plan to stay put, many over 50 are making their condos as comfortable as possible, with 53% planning to spend more than $10,000 on upgrades (compared to only 15% of those under 35).

"For many pre-retirees, moving to a smaller, less expensive home is 'right-sizing' and allows them to afford a bit more luxury in their new space," says Haque. "I recommend that homeowners make a budget for any upgrades and stick to it. This is especially important for those who are selling their home and downsizing as part of their retirement strategy. You don't want to get carried away and spend all the extra money you earned with the sale of your previous home."

Torontonians are the most likely of respondents to plan to make upgrades to their condo right away (57% versus 43% across other cities). More than one-quarter of Torontonians say they will spend less than $5,000 on these upgrades, 40% will spend between $5,000-$10,000, 20% will spend $10,001-$15,000 and 13% will spend more than $15,000.

About the 2011 TD Canada Trust Condo Poll
From March 25 to April 11, results were collected from 806 people in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal, through a custom online survey by Environics Research Group. 200 respondents were surveyed in Toronto. Respondents had either bought a condo in the past 24 months, intend to buy a condo in the next 24 months, or considered a condo when shopping for a home.

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

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