Industry veterans highlight the ongoing "urban exodus"

"The new normal is still being written"

Industry veterans highlight the ongoing "urban exodus"

The pandemic’s remote-work revolution has given many Canadians the impetus to move away from densely populated urban centres in search of more affordable housing.

“We’re seeing a lot of people making a move, and they all say the same thing to me: ‘Working from home is the new trend, and we’re going to make the move out there [to the suburbs] because we want the space, the backyards, and access to restaurants and stores that we don’t have in the downtown core,’” said Terry Kilakos, president and founder of the North East Real Estate & Mortgage Agency.

However, Kilakos stressed in a recent interview with Canadian Mortgage Professional that this trend might run aground of companies’ expectations of returning to the office in the near future.

“It’s interesting to see this kind of shift occurring. My concern is that I think a lot of times, people are living in a little bit of a pipe dream in the sense that they think that businesses are going to continue to allow them to work from home,” Kilakos said.

Read more: Commercial real estate: navigating opportunities and challenges in the year ahead

The rise of the urban outskirts market over the past two years has removed dependence on train lines as a deciding factor among would-be buyers. In the current environment, many Canadians have the opportunity to establish their roots in their preferred locales, according to Community Trust’s Lisa Abbatangelo.

“This environment is new for all of us in so many ways,” Abbatangelo said. “When location isn’t a factor, homebuyers can look beyond the city for more affordable properties and lifestyles. Remote work opens up a whole new world to Canadians when it comes to where they want to live versus where they have to live.”

“The new normal is still being written,” she added. “As [lenders], we’ve got to keep our eye on all the different variables that can affect price and ultimately how that affects the Canadians we are here to help.”