Canadian immigrants eye exit as housing costs soar

Two in five immigrants contemplate moving due to high costs

Canadian immigrants eye exit as housing costs soar

High housing costs are causing nearly two in five recent immigrants in Canada to consider relocating either to another province or out of the country altogether, according to new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute.

The study, conducted from June 14-20, 2024, among 4,204 Canadian adults, highlights a growing trend of relocation considerations across the country.

While 28% of all Canadians are thinking about moving due to housing affordability issues, this number rises significantly for those who have lived in the country for less than a decade.

Urban centers, which tend to attract newcomers, are particularly affected. In Downtown Toronto, 44% of residents are considering relocation, with 22% saying it's a strong current consideration. Similar numbers are reported in the surrounding 905 area code. In Metro Vancouver, one-third (33%) of residents are uncertain about their long-term future in the region.

“Canada’s newcomers tend to be urbanites with skills to quickly engage in the economy, and housing affordability challenges in these urban spaces are perhaps compounding their uncertainty,” the report noted.

The housing affordability crisis is not limited to major cities. In Nova Scotia, 25% of residents are considering leaving the province due to low vacancy rates and rising costs. Across the country, renters are feeling the pinch, with 38% seriously thinking about leaving their province for more affordable housing.

The study also revealed that younger Canadians are more likely to consider relocation. Two in five 18- to 24-year-olds (42%) are thinking about leaving their current province due to housing costs, with at least one-third of all Canadians under 55 considering the same.

Read next: What's next for Toronto's housing market?

For those contemplating a move, destinations vary. While 45% of those considering relocation would stay within Canada, 42% are looking at international options, including 15% considering the United States. Alberta (18%) and Atlantic Canada (10%) are the most popular potential destinations within Canada.

Despite these challenges, there is still hope for improvement. A majority (53%) of Canadians agree they are "hopeful that housing affordability will improve over the next few years," although 40% disagree. Quebec residents are the most pessimistic, with 58% expressing doubt about relief on the horizon.

The housing affordability crisis poses a significant challenge to Canada's reputation as a welcoming country for newcomers. As the Institute for Canadian Citizenship reported, fewer permanent residents have become citizens in recent years, dropping from 75% in 2001 to 45% in 2021.

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