2021 was the second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This has changed the way that Canadians live, and also has changed where they live. There are currently more than four million Canadian workers working from home. This change in work environment has given them the freedom to change their plans on settling in major urban centers. Persons are now looking to settle in smaller cities where they can afford more square footage for their money.
A recent report from Statistics Canada shows that people are migrating to the East Coast more so than the prairies and metropolitan areas. Another report by U-Haul based on its customers is showing Canadians moving to smaller towns like Alberta and Rural Ontario.
Alberta is the Top Province for U-Haul Movers
U-Haul’s report is based on customer data, and they are seeing a rise of 33% in one way U-Haul trucks arriving in Alberta. Within the province, the top city and destination seems to be Calgary. The arrival of new residents in the city has caused an increase in home prices, as the demand rises above the supply. In January of 2022, the average cost of a home in Calgary was $510,701. This reflects a year-over-year increase of 8%.
Most Moved to Cities in Ontario
Wild Alberta took the prize for the most moved province of Canada. Ontario was also high on the list. Here we saw smaller communities receiving the newest residents. We believe that in the sky high prices in the greater Toronto area, many homeowners move to smaller communities. In these smaller communities, individuals find more affordable homes and more square footage for their money.
There has been a change, you know what Canadians are looking for in your homes. People are moving away from open floor plans, I know, seeking homes with dedicated spaces for work, relaxation and exercise.
A recent Zolo survey showed that 34% of Canadians wanted a change in the size or layout of their homes after living through the COVID pandemic and its ensuing restrictions. We think this is one of the major driving factors in choosing where people want to move to. These smaller communities offer more square footage and space for their home offices at a more affordable price than their current place of residence.
Top Moved to Cities As Per U-Haul’s Data
|City||Approximate Average Home Cost||% More Affordable Than Toronto|
|North Bay||$478, 000||56|
|Owen Sound-Port Elgin||$555, 000||49|
|Sault Ste. Maire||$269, 000||75|
|St. Thomas||$707, 000||35|
Affordable Cities Seeing Home Price Increases
The search for more affordable housing has increased the demand in these smaller towns and cities, and so the house prices here are starting to crawl up as well. We are seeing this sort of domino effect in a lot of the smaller towns and cities, and coupled with high prices is a dwindling supply.
It is hard to predict the future, especially with the unknown of the virus and with the effects of inflation. What we do know is that cities like North Bay and Calgary are posting large year over year gains in prices. Other urban centers like Halifax and Moncton are seeing price appreciation as well.
With these significant price gains, these areas are still not as expensive as the Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas. With this, we believe that Canadians will continue to look to smaller cities, as their needs are not being met in these metropolitan areas. Cities like Alberta and Ontario will continue to see new families arriving in the search for more space and more affordability.
What are your thoughts? Are you in the market for a home? Can you afford one where you currently reside? Have you ever thought of building? If your answer to the last question is yes, give us a call and let us discuss your needs and your budget. We can build your home from the ground up, making your dream of owning a home a reality.