As home prices remain high and interest rates continue to climb, an increasing number of Ontario residents say they plan to move to another province.

A new survey from found that 7% of Ontarians plan to move out of province within the next year. This is up from the 4% who did so over the past two years. Nearly half -- 46% -- of Ontario residents who plan to move say they will stay in the same town, while 32% plan to move to a different city or town but will stay in the same province.

Over the past two years, these numbers played out differently, with 61% of Ontarians who moved staying in the same city or town, and 36% having moved to different cities or towns within the same province.

“During the market’s peak, we saw a mass exodus from larger cities where homebuyers sought larger properties to suit their lifestyle," said Leah Zlatkin, licensed mortgage broker and expert. "Many buyers were priced out and moved to accommodate what was manageable within their budgets."

Although some Ontario housing markets have seen prices fall in recent months, Ontario real estate is far from affordable for the average homebuyer. According to the Ontario Real Estate Association, the average price of a home in June hit $881,475 -- a 2.8% year-over-year increase.

Affordability in general is a growing issue for Ontario residents, with 32% of those who plan to move within the next year saying they will do so to be able to afford a home. This is substantially higher than the 20% who moved for this reason over the past two years.

But affording a home wasn't the sole reason Ontarians are looking to move. Lifestyle reasons are a motivator for 22% of residents who plan to move, and 17% say they will move so they can purchase a larger home. This is significantly smaller than the 30% who moved in the past two years to purchase a larger home. Just 8% plan to move so they can downsize, and 3% say they'll move for employment opportunities.

As employees continue returning to either hybrid or full-time in-office work, Ontarians are once again prioritizing commute times when looking at where to buy. 

"If somebody needs to be close to work, they might sacrifice space in order to save on commute time," Zlatkin said. "If you can find a property located close to public transit like the GO Line or Metrolinx, then it might make sense to move further out.” 

Unless homebuyers have a job that is entirely remote, Zlatkin notes, "most Canadians don’t want to be on the outskirts until they are closer to retirement.”