So you’re looking to buy a house. Good on ya. keep the economy rolling and all that. But you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by location choices. This neighbourhood has great schools but not much in the way of shopping. That one has great nightlife, but you’re a bit worried about crime. Then there’s the area where the prices are reasonable, but the commute — not so much.
So you check with your friends and family, but they’re not much help. Sure, they’re happy to extol the virtues of their own ’hood. The only problem is, they have kids and you don’t, or their budget runs to champagne and caviar, while yours is more of a beer and pizza thing.
Feeling frustrated? Fear not, intrepid homebuyer. I’ve crunched the numbers so that you don’t have to, to recommend Ottawa’s top five neighbourhoods (in alphabetical order) for four types of buyers: those for whom cost is no issue, DINKs (double income, no kids), families, and first-timers (and others on a limited budget). In doing so, I’ve made a few assumptions about my theoretical buyers. Yeah, they’re based on a few stereotypes. So sue me. When trying to impose order on a mountain of statistics, a girl’s gotta
Cost Is No Issue
For the cost-is-no-issue crowd, I tried to find a range of neighbourhoods — urban, suburban, and semi-rural — where money might not buy you happiness but could score you original Tiffany chandeliers, an indoor saltwater pool, or floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a Gatsby-like estate. Heritage house, mid-century modern pad, or 21st-century McMansion: there’s something for everyone in this category, as long as you have a million or more to spare. I assumed most folks in this crowd have kids. Heck, they can certainly afford them. Read Cost Is No Issue »
Appealing to the DINKs
DINKs were possibly the hardest group to classify. For every couple sans kids that fits the yuppie paradigm — lattes, yoga, art galleries, and posh restaurants — there are countless others who would rather be hiking, woodworking, or watching the complete works of Jim Carrey on DVD than at the symphony. For the purposes of this article, I focused on central neighbourhoods where DINKs’ extra disposable income could buy easy access to urban pleasures — even if they rarely take advantage of them. Read Appealing to the DINKs »
Hot real estate picks aimed at the family demographic
For families, my main focuses were good schools and community services. Neighbourhoods with arenas, pools, community centres, parks, a library branch, and other kid-friendly facilities scored highly here. Reasonably priced single-family houses also factored into the mix — I suspect most families of four aren’t interested in squeezing into a 600-square-foot apartment. When you’re paying for braces and hockey school, it never hurts to save a bit of money on gas, so I’ve also noted the percentage of people in each neighbourhood who go to work by private vehicle (the rest walk, cycle, or take transit). Read Hot real estate picks aimed at the family demographic »
First-timers, I assume, are concerned mainly about price. If a neighbourhood offers lots of housing close to or under the average February 2012 sale price, that caught my attention. But price doesn’t mean merely the price of the house. If it’s a steal but it’s so far out that you have to spend hundreds of dollars a month on gas just to get to work and the grocery store, it’s a bit of a false economy. So I also took into account such variables as car use and nearby amenities. Read First Timers »