Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Danielle Bacci’s favourite part of her move to near Windsor, Ont., is the lack of traffic along her 15-minute commute to work in nearby Leamington.

The 26-year-old bank employee and her partner left Toronto and bypassed the suburbs of the GTA for the affordability of Kingsville, Ont.

“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 said.

Bacci is among the growing number of first-time homebuyers relocating long distances to escape the high cost of big-city housing.

Kingsville’s 360-kilometre distance from Toronto allowed Bacci and boyfriend Andre Portovedo to put their savings towards a house instead of a one-bedroom condo.

“Here we got a 1,500 square-foot semi-detached house for less than what the condo cost,” she said in an interview.

While some friends have relocated to Hamilton or Barrie, others are renting in Toronto to save for the required large down payment.

Being the first in their circle to move to Windsor area has sparked some interest among friends and family.

“I think us moving put Kingsville on the map for some of our friends and I know Andre’s parents are thinking of maybe moving out here, especially because their house would get them probably three houses out here,” she said.

The move to towns near secondary municipalities — called exurbs — that are beyond reasonable commuting distances from large urban centres, has been gaining in popularity, says Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage.

“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,” he said in an interview.

Eight of the 10 fastest appreciating Canadian exurbs are in Ontario, led by areas surrounding Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Kingston, Niagara/St. Catharines, Hamilton, Belleville/Trenton and Guelph, he said.

READ ALSO: UBC prof says report citing $89B home equity loss a ‘grassroots movement of the rich’

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops regions outside of Vancouver.

Canada is a suburban nation with three-quarters of its population living in the suburbs in 2016, said a Queen’s University report based on a review of that year’s census.

Auto dependent suburbs grew 17 per cent between 2006 and 2016 and exurbs grew by 20 per cent.

Businesses are also accommodating this migration by opening offices and using technology that allows knowledge workers to locate just about anywhere, said Soper.

Establishing roots in a new hub comes as a recent survey found that a majority of buyers in the country’s three largest real estate markets worry that their down payment won’t stretch far enough.

Two-thirds of Torontonians say they feel the anxiety, along with 58 per cent of Vancouverites and 60 per cent of Montrealers, according to the poll released by residential mortgage insurer Genworth Canada in collaboration with Royal LePage.

High housing costs are also prompting more adult children to live at home, delaying downsizing by their parents.

Faced with high costs to relocate in the city, these baby boomers are also looking to follow their offspring to these secondary cities, he said.

“This is actually a very good thing because we’ve got housing shortages in our big cities like Vancouver and Toronto and it will provide something of a safety valve.”

Millennials are responding to the lure of lower prices, says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president of ReMax.

“They’re looking for whatever they can afford and the good news is a majority of millennials still see home ownership as a good investment and they’re doing what they can to get into the market and start building equity,” he said.

“So if they can find work in another city where they can afford to buy they’ll do it.”

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Virtual Qualicum school district meeting includes talk of return to class, masks and more

SD69 to hold town hall discussion featuring questions from parents

Couple gets surprise barbershop quartet concert in Parksville on their 60th wedding anniversary

‘Charisma Bypass’ shows up at their hotel to sing favourite tunes

Family decorates Parksville trails with fairy doors

St. John wanted to bring some joy to the area during COVID-19 pandemic

‘100 Oceanside Men Who Give a Damn’ donates $9,500 to hospice society

OHS provides services free of charge to palliative clients and their families

Parksville man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near city mall

Oceanside RCMP report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Most Read