Toronto Sees Surge in Garage Demand as Car Thefts Continue to Rise

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In Toronto’s bustling real estate market, garages have become a sought-after commodity, with recent trends indicating a heightened demand driven by concerns over car thefts. As the spotlight shines on Canada’s auto theft crisis, homebuyers are increasingly willing to invest more in properties that offer private, secure spaces for their vehicles, whether it’s a driveway or a garage.

According to Barbara Best, a seasoned real estate agent at New Era Real Estate, the allure of garages extends beyond mere convenience. “People want (garages) for a number of reasons: safety, security, but also the convenience of not having to scrape the ice off your car,” she notes. With the escalating number of car thefts in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including incidents from driveways and carjackings, the necessity for secure parking options has become a significant consideration for prospective buyers.

Last year, auto thefts in Toronto hit a two-decade high, with over 12,000 reported cases. Linda McLellan, a realtor at Keller Williams Portfolio Realty, emphasizes the deterrent effect of street parking’s lack of security on her clients. She observes a growing preference among buyers for homes equipped with private driveways or garages, even if it means paying a premium, particularly in downtown areas where the additional cost could range from $50,000 to $100,000.

While Joshua Raxlen from Homewise Real Estate hasn’t observed a surge in clients prioritizing garage security, he acknowledges the mounting concerns surrounding car theft risks. He notes clients resorting to various theft deterrent measures, including steering wheel locks and installing metal bollards in driveways.

Bryan Gast, vice president of investigative services at the Équité Association, highlights the evolving tactics of car thieves, who have become more audacious and efficient in their operations. He underscores the effectiveness of garages as a primary safeguard against theft, recommending multiple deterrents for vehicle protection.

In light of prevailing market conditions, where buyers are afforded more time and choice due to prolonged periods of high interest rates, safety considerations like garage availability have risen in prominence. As Best aptly puts it, “I think buyers are really looking for value right now,” underscoring the shift towards prudent purchasing decisions aligned with buyers’ priorities, such as security.

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