Exurbs Booming as Toronto Condo Dwellers Leave Town
The exurbs of Toronto, districts that go beyond the suburbs, are seeing an explosion in growth as a tidal wave of Toronto residents leave their downtown condos in search of more space and greater affordability. This is causing a domino effect across Southern Ontario.
The first domino fell in Toronto’s downtown core as swaths of residents left their condos behind in search of affordable homes with backyards and office space. Realizing that they’d be spending more time at home due to COVID-19 has changed what these condo owners valued.
It also helped that many no longer need to worry about a two hour commute as their jobs will most likely remain partially or completely home based. As a result, people are looking for more space now that a home has to be an office, maybe two offices, a classroom, a gym, etc.
That led many to Hamilton — a city just close enough to Toronto to still feel within distance and just far enough to make buying a detached home affordable. As more and more Toronto condo owners and renters, particularly millennials, headed for the exurbs, places like Hamilton felt the effects with homes selling for inflated prices and buyers having to forgo inspections to have a shot at landing a house. Sound familiar?
This caused another domino to fall as this market frenzy spurred many Hamilton residents to take advantage of the situation, cash in, and move farther east to the Niagara Region. As a result, prices are increasing in the more urban areas of Niagara and the third domino falls as people are now spreading to places like Erie, Ont., which sits right on the Canada-U.S. border in hopes of finding land for better value.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s condo market is finally cooling off — something that appeared improbable at best at the beginning of the year. Sales of units in the second quarter were down more than 50 per cent from the same time last year, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. The number of pre-sale condos has slipped further, falling 85 per cent because investors who are usually responsible for gobbling up two-thirds of these units, are playing it safe.
The allure of those properties always came down to forgoing space in favour of being in the centre of the city where restaurants, concerts, bars, subway stations and yes, places of employment, were a short walk away. But with offices shut down, concerts and sporting events not likely to return for months and restaurants and bars not yet feeling entirely safe, that deal is much less attractive.
As we continue to watch these shifts in migration due largely to economic reasons, one has to wonder how all of this will change once Canada's immigration opens up again? Stay tuned.