As residents continue to work remotely from home, the need to be close to workplaces and urban centres is becoming less of a priority. In turn, this has led to more Canadians uprooting their lives to move out of the city and into the suburbs... and sometimes those suburbs are in an entirely different province.
Case in point, inter-provincial migration rates reached their highest level in over thirty years.
In fact, during the second quarter of 2021, inter-provincial migration advanced 55.1%, totalling just over 123,000 people, according to Statistics Canada. This was the highest change in residents relocating from one province to another since the third quarter of 1991, however, it was still below the record high of about 150,000 in the late 1970s, according to RE/MAX.
Of all the provinces, Ontario experienced the biggest population decline, with nearly 12,000 residents leaving the province. This marked the largest population outflow since the early 1980s.
And rightfully so, Ontario is home to some of the country's highest housing prices, and the cost of living also doesn't come cheap. Currently, the average price for a home in the province is $887,290, compared to the national average of $686,656, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
This comes at a time when Canadian homebuyers continue to take advantage of historically low-interest rates and, with limited supply in most large cities, buyers are turning to other provinces or smaller suburban pockets to buy real estate, raising the prices of once-affordable homes to remarkable levels in the process.
So, where exactly are residents migrating to? According to the Statistics Canada data, British Columbia attracted the highest number of Canadians in the second quarter, growing by more than 15,000 people. At the same time, the growth in Atlantic Canada has also been noteworthy, with the Maritime region experiencing its largest population growth since 1961.
According to RE/MAX's fall Canadian Housing Market Outlook, housing market activity in Atlantic Canada remained persistent year-over-year with Halifax and Moncton seeing significant price increases across all property types.
Single-detached homes in Halifax rose 24.3% year-over-year from $402,484 to $500,147. Meanwhile, Moncton detached prices gained 21.2% year-over-year, from $233,676 to $282,886.
Given that Atlantic Canada is home to cheaper living costs and lower real estate prices, it's no wonder that the region continues to draw in out-of-province buyers. Of course, the region's quaint charm and coastal views don't hurt either.
Despite Ontario recording the largest population loss, all is not lost. The Canadian government has pledged to allow approximately 1.2 million newcomers into the country over the next three years, with many expected to call Ontario home.
However, with an influx of new residents anticipated, a boost in demand can only be expected, putting further pressure on the already limited housing supply.
To keep up with population growth, including new young families, and to address current and future housing supply shortages, it's expected that Canada’s most populous province will need about one million new homes built over the next ten years.
Though, given the current draw of Atlantic Canada, perhaps cities like Halifax and Fredericton might serve as an ideal place for newcomers to call home, especially from an affordability standpoint.