A new study has found that while house prices in Canada and the United States are relatively high, they’re not too high to be dangerous.articleA survey by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) of 1,000 Canadians found that more than half of the people surveyed said they were willing to buy a home in a neighbourhood that was not as safe as a city centre, or in a building with high fire risk.
But, as a result, the survey found that nearly 40 per cent of Canadians said they would only consider buying a house in a safe neighbourhood.
“If a home has a high fire hazard, or there are areas that are really high risk of fire, it makes a lot of sense to not only look at the affordability, but also the safety of the neighbourhood,” said CMHC senior economist and chair of the housing market committee, David Henderson.
The research also found that those who lived in neighbourhoods that were deemed safe tended to buy houses in smaller cities, with fewer detached homes.
“There are lots of small houses in the suburbs of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, but there are still very large detached houses,” said Henderson.
He said that is not a bad thing, because a lot more people are moving into smaller cities and that these smaller houses are not the most expensive ones to buy.
But Henderson added that even if a house is not deemed safe, it is still important to make sure the property is safe.
“A lot of times you can get a house for $300,000, and you might not get a fire or serious accident.
If you get that, you can save a lot, and if you don’t, then you have to do some renovations, or pay off some of the debts,” said Mr Henderson.
This study also found a similar trend in the United Kingdom, where house prices were generally higher than in Canada.
In the UK, more than 70 per cent said they wanted to buy their first home in their neighbourhood, with less than half saying they were comfortable buying a home there.
But the survey also found, as in Canada, the majority of people who lived there said they did not want to live near a fire, while only about one in three said they could live there safely.
“You have to make a judgement about whether it is safe to own a house, because the fires in the UK are still happening,” said Dr Henderson.
There is a need for more houses that have fire safety, he added.
“There are so many fire hazards in our city and in our suburbs, and people have got to take responsibility for these fires.”
But, we also need more affordable houses, and we also have to look at making sure there are not too many houses that are too small or not that high-risk.