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Canadians are Leaving Big Cities in Record Numbers, Report Says

Couple sit in empty living room on moving day.

It seems that spending insane amounts of time at home is leading Canadians to realize they need a new one. 

Canadian cities are seeing major population declines as the pandemic pushes residents to take a hard look at their living situations and search for affordable housing. A new Statistics Canada report found that Montreal and Toronto saw record losses from July 2019 to July 2020 as people moved from the city to suburbs and smaller towns. 

Oshawa, Ontario saw the fastest population growth in the country, seeing 2.1 per cent growth while Toronto lost 50,375 people. Oshawa’s mayor Dan Carter is optimistic about the news. “It really introduces us to greater opportunities: new families, new friends, new communities and it really adds to the wonderful fabric of the city of Oshawa,” he told CTV News. Quebec is seeing the same trend — Montreal lost 24,880 while smaller communities like Farnham and Hippolyte saw their populations increase.

Related: Amidst the pandemic, people are leaving cities, causing a price surge in suburban and rural areas.

As more employers pivot to a work-from-home model and first-time home buyers seek affordable housing, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing as bidding wars ignite in suburban areas. 

Despite the hot suburban real estate market, Robert Hague  senior economist at RBC   does see the trend coming to an end this year. “The very high levels of activity in the late stages of 2020 are probably going to settle down through the course of 2021,” he predicts. 

Related: Top 20 cheapest cities to live in Canada.

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