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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Maple Ridge city staff in Great B.C. Shake Out

City staff took cover under desks during province-wide drill

Vehicle of missing Maple Ridge man is found in Abbotsford

Barrie Holt, 63, is also known to frequent Chilliwack area

Maple Ridge council grills federal candidates

Poses 10 questions to six contenders in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

Hydro to lower Alouette Lake by six meters this summer

Planning seismic upgrades but no salmon passage, conservationists lament

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

UPDATE: Vehicle located and driver arrested in relation to fatal hit-and-run

Male pedestrian in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in Abbotsford

Most Read