Canada’s exurbs are increasingly popular affordability havens

by Ephraim Vecina28 May 2019

A new Royal LePage study has found that travel distance is not a factor for many Canadians, considering the growing popularity of exurbs.

These secondary municipalities, some of which are located as far as dozens and even hundreds of kilometres from the large urban markets, have become more viable purchase destinations amid high housing costs.

“If they choose community and lifestyle over ‘urban excitement’ and access to certain jobs, many of them are skipping the suburbs right now and going farther afield,” Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper told The Canadian Press.

A census analysis by Queens University supported these observations: As of 2016, fully three-quarters of Canadians are living in suburban communities. From 2006 to that year, exurbs saw 20% population growth, while auto-dependent suburbs had 17%.

A vast majority (eight out of the top 10) of the fastest appreciating exurbs nationwide are in Ontario, specifically in areas surrounding Windsor, London, Kingston, Hamilton, Guelph, and the Tri-Cities, among others.

In BC, secondary municipalities in the Hope Valley and Kamloops regions enjoyed greater traffic.

A 2018 analysis by the Angus Reid Institute found that elevated prices weigh the most upon the minds of young and first-time buyers. A large proportion confessed that their experiences in the hottest housing markets were “uncomfortable” to “miserable”.

“It is a progression of pain for both regions, where Vancouver really seems to be settling in, resigned to living with this chronic pain,” Angus Reid executive director Shachi Kurl said.

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