An increase in time spent at home in the last year may be to blame for many Canadians reexamining the decisions on where they want to live. Domestically, rising housing costs in major cities are causing many to look elsewhere, with Atlantic Canada seeing the biggest gains. Despite travel complications, many are still looking south of the border for their ideal home.
Ontarians, Albertan’s and more moving to Atlantic Canada in record numbers
While the larger and more populous provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and BC remain the most common choices for migrating citizens, Atlantic Canada has seen notable gains in the last year. Major sources of migration were Alberta and Ontario, which reported the largest number of departing citizens in the country last year.
According to stats Canada, Nova Scotia saw about five to six thousand migrants from Ontario every year pre-pandemic. In 2020 – 2021, that number rose to almost 10,000. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have seen similar gains in population.
Alberta saw a decrease in people moving to places like Quebec and Ontario than in previous years, and an increase or steady demand for the Atlantic provinces.
Why the big shifts?
There are a few major reasons for this shift we are currently witnessing. One major issue is the increase in home prices seen in the metropolitan areas of the larger provinces. House prices are up nearly everywhere, but relative to their starting point. A home in Ontario costs more to begin with, only now the difference is much more noticeable and it is growing ever more appealing for an Ontarian to seek more affordable lodging elsewhere. The average price of a home in Toronto, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, was over $1.1m. In Halifax, the average is approximately just over $470,000.
Another factor is the way our work habits have changed. One major impact of the pandemic was the move to work from home accommodations. With many people not planning to return to the office, the decision to move across the country no longer necessitates a job change as well.
Furthermore, for those concerned with COVID-19 safety, the Atlantic provinces have seen much lower case numbers than the larger cities to the west. This is due in part to lower population, population density, and popularity for travel.
Besides the financial, work, and safety benefits, the move provides city dwellers with a change of scenery after a year stuck in one place. The east coast provides an attractive alternative to older homeowners looking to cash out their homes in the city and retire away from the hustle and bustle.
Beyond the borders
A report from Point2 indicates that, despite global conditions making it harder for travellers, many Canadians are still looking to live and invest abroad. The yearly report uses internet search data to indicate the American countries of most interest to Canadians looking to buy a home.
The biggest winners
Of the most popular spots in this year’s ranking, some are familiar, while others are new to the pack. The most popular location for Canadian home buyers was by far Mexico, a position it has held since 2015 when the report first began. Also a popular vacation spot, the country is appealing for its climate, home prices, and development opportunities. The country garnered almost twice the search volume of the second on the list: the United States.
The U.S. is appealing to Canadians for it’s familiar culture and language, as well as proximity for those looking to move and still be able to visit family back home.
Other areas of interest
Third on the list was Costa Rica, a tropical Spanish speaking country in Central America. Other’s on the list include Barbados, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Panama. Though the methodology relies on online search data, the report clearly indicates that Canadians are serious about investment in the Americas.
Between this report and domestic migration data, it’s clear that Canadians are looking forward to new horizons in the near future – if not already making plans.