Living in a big city can get pretty pricey, especially when it comes to housing. That’s why more first-time homeowners are choosing to move away from these urban centres in order to buy an affordable home, the Canadian Press reports.
“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 CP.
This trend is quickly picking up steam, Soper said. But what’s perhaps most interesting is that these first-time homeowners aren’t expecting to commute into the city for work. Instead, they are committed to finding new jobs in their secondary municipality, also known as an exurb, in order to start a new life.
That's why Danielle Bacci moved with her partner from Toronto to Kingsville, Ont., where they now own a semi-detached home for less than a condo. “We decided if we're going to go somewhere far we wanted to kind of go somewhere dramatically far where we would change our jobs and everything because we didn't want to keep with our jobs and have a longer commute just for lower housing costs,” she told CP.
Ontario is home to eight of the 10 fastest appreciating exurbs in Canada, according to Soper. This includes Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Kingston, Niagara/St. Catharines, Hamilton, Belleville/Trenton and Guelph.
While it’s true that there is an influx of people flocking to some of Canada’s biggest cities, there is still a staggering outflow as well. RBC senior economist Robert Hogue wrote in a recent report that “the net loss in the GTA’s population (all age categories included) to [cities with long commuting distance] totalled 31,000 in 2017.”
Vancouver also saw a similar effect that year, with 5,800 people fleeing the big city for areas just a few hours’ drive away.
“While we don’t know for sure who is leaving and why, it’s reasonable to assume the search for more affordable housing is a big factor (job prospects in destination cities are likely also a draw),” Hogue reported.
Millennials are particularly drawn to the lower housing costs, Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president of ReMax, told CP. This isn’t surprising considering 84 per cent of millennials believe homeownership is an important life milestone, according to a 2018 Zoocasa survey.
“They're looking for whatever they can afford and the good news is a majority of millennials still see homeownership as a good investment and they're doing what they can to get into the market and start building equity,” Alexander said. “So if they can find work in another city where they can afford to buy they'll do it.”