The federal government intends to settle 1.2 million new immigrants over the next three years in a bid to catalyze economic recovery, and if there’s one sector of the economy that will benefit, it’s real estate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has stifled Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) ability to accept and process applications, resulting in a shortfall that’s left segments of Toronto’s once-searing condo market reeling. However, with 60% of these new immigrants touted as belonging to the “economic class,” which includes skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs, the country’s largest condo market should see an immediate surge in activity.
“To compensate for the shortfall and ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill crucial labour market gaps and remain competitive on the world stage, the 2021 to 2023 levels plan aims to continue welcoming immigrants at a rate of about 1% of the population of Canada, including 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023,” said an IRCC statement. “The previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.”
A third of Canadian business owners are immigrants, the statement added.
Davelle Morrison, a broker with Bosley Real Estate, noted that activity in Toronto’s rental market has been hampered by the dearth of newcomers to the city, although she says domestic investors have done their part to buoy the condo market.
“The real estate condo rental market is down quite a bit, as is the resale condo market, and I’d attribute those things to there being no immigration and no travel, which has affected Airbnb and other short-term rental operators. The lack of travel has depressed the rental and resale condo markets,” said Morrison.
“The other thing that’s interesting is, despite not having immigration, a lot of preconstruction condo projects in downtown Toronto have still sold incredibly well, even though they’re only appealing to domestic investors and not foreign investors. They have still fared quite well, even without immigrants.”
Canada welcomed 321,120 new immigrants to the country in 2019—a 116-year high that’s slated to be broken in 2021. Investors capable of carrying condos a little longer will doubtless benefit from the marked rise in demand that should cause market rents to surge.
“If the government’s plan is to allow more immigrants into the country over the next few years, then I’d say that’s great for both the condo rental and resale markets,” said Morrison.