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A for sale sign outside townhouses in the Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, March 4, 2013.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Being close to good schools, parks and shopping have long been key to home buyers choosing a neighbourhood.

And now access to commuter trains, light rail or subways is quickly moving up the list when people choose a place to live, according to a new report on the Canadian real estate market.

Clogged highways and rush-hour traffic are adding to commuting times and helping to spur a move away from the car-focused suburbs.

"With challenging infrastructure in all major Canadian centres coupled with the urbanization trend, there will be a continued demand for retail, office and residential space in our urban centres where there is easy access to mass transit," said Lori-Ann Beausoleil, a partner at consultancy PwC, which wrote the report with Urban Land Institute.

Urbanization and immigration are expected to increase Toronto's population by more than 90,000 in 2013. Vancouver and Montreal are both forecast to gain about 40,000 people each, according to Conference Board of Canada.

"The choice to live in cities is no longer economic, but has now become cultural," the report said.

Smaller cities are also growing, as aging baby boomers tire of shovelling snow on long driveways and younger people move for better jobs and a vibrant nightlife.

Titled "Emerging Trends In Real Estate," the report is aimed at developers and real estate investors. It outlines the prospects for office and retail spaces as well as condos, houses and rental developments.

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