First National Financial LP

Residential Market Commentary - High costs chase some Canadians out of big cities

  • First National Financial LP

Canada’s big cities are getting bigger and more expensive even as tens-of-thousands of people leave them, for more affordable lifestyles elsewhere.  A key factor in the expense and the migration is the cost of housing.

According to Statistics Canada nearly 100,000 people left the Toronto area in the 12-month period from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.  Most of those people, 78%, stayed in Ontario.  The Montreal area saw an exodus of 35,000 people and 14,000 peopled exited Vancouver.

It is probably no surprise that Canada’s biggest cities come with the highest housing (or accommodation) costs.  As people are leaving they are more than being replaced by new arrivals from outside the country.  The data show that newcomers prefer large urban centers over rural areas.  The country’s biggest areas of population gained 600,000 people through international migration with nearly 220,000 going to Toronto alone.  By contrast, just 21,000 chose to settle in smaller centers.

Numbers crunched by the real estate web service Point2 show that, apart from Toronto itself, eight of the country’s highest priced cities are in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area.  Oakville tops the list with average costs of nearly $2,400 a month for homeowners and almost $2,150 a month for renters.

With the exception of Montreal, cities in Quebec dominated the list of lowest priced housing and rental accommodation in Canada.  Trois-Rivières came in as most economical with average monthly homeowner costs of less than $960, and less than $680 for renters.