Migration out of cities could continue through 2021

by Neil Sharma on 13 Jan 2021

A trend that began last year in which Canadians moved further afield is showing no signs of abating.

According to an RBC poll, 59% of those surveyed said homes in their area are unaffordable, and with an average national budget of $445,237—the mean price of a Canadian home was $603,000 in November, reported the Canadian Real Estate Association— 45% of respondents would have to leave their cities for a larger home.

“During the last couple of months, I’ve seen more interest on the buy side from folks looking to get pre-approved and start shopping,” said Daniel Johanis, principal broker of Pekoe Mortgages. “People aren’t exactly expecting a downturn in the market, and when they look for affordability they have to look outside of their areas and consider moving elsewhere.”

Johanis added that functionality is driving people’s decisions to move into larger homes, and with another lockdown looming, he anticipates a flurry of activity in the housing market this year.

“We’re in our second major lockdown in Ontario and folks have to stay in homes where two people need separate spaces to work and for their children to learn. However, there are supply and demand issues that are forcing people to look outside of their general areas, and I’m seeing strong interest for detached homes.”

National housing trends indicate that Canadians aren’t done buying homes yet, and if there was any doubt, RBC’s poll revealed that 80% of respondents think homeownership is a solid investment. Moreover, 59% reported that the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t put them in financial straits.

Additional survey results: 52% of Canadians expect home values to keep rising; the pandemic impelled 55% of respondents to change their spending and savings habits; 85% are still able to pay their bills; 47% don’t believe it’s harder to save money now than before the pandemic; and 54% are confident better times are just around the corner.

“Many Canadians continue to be financially resilient in the face of the pandemic, and this has carried over into the real estate market,” said Amit Sahasrabudhe, vice-president of home equity financing, products and acquisitions at RBC. “Seen as a pillar of stability, Canadians continue to view homeownership as a worthwhile pursuit and are willing to shift their priorities in order to find affordable properties within their budget.”

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