2022 Canadian Small Markets Report
In Canada, these small real estate markets are booming.
Price growth expected in all small markets analyzed, with average increases ranging from 3% to 20% in some areas:
- Quality of life factors, or “liveability,” are drawing many Canadian homebuyers to small markets (40 per cent); followed by housing affordability (37 per cent)
- More than a quarter of people living in larger markets (28 per cent) would like to move to a smaller market in the next two years
- A quarter of Canadians (25 per cent), have received family support to purchase their first or current home; this number is consistent in large and small markets
Residential prices in these communities have continued to rise as a result of low inventory and growing demand. RE/MAX Canada brokers and agents anticipate residential price growth across all small markets analyzed in the report, with expected price increases ranging from three per cent up to 20 per cent in some regions through the remainder of 2022. Unsurprisingly, some of these markets have already experienced significant year-over-year price appreciation in the range of 17 to 46 per cent.
Activity in these communities has been fuelled in part by the financial support that many Canadians have received from family, with 25 per cent of Canadians using financial support from family in order to purchase a home, according to a Leger survey commissioned by RE/MAX Canada. RE/MAX Canada brokers and agents in 83 per cent of regions surveyed have also witnessed this trend locally, specifically among first-time homebuyers.
However, the desire for liveable communities plays both ways, with 57 per cent of residents in small Canadian real estate markets voicing concern that the distinct liveability qualities of their town ─ its charm ─ may be eroded as a result of rising demand from move-over buyers. Another 43 per cent share the same anxiety about rising prices, feeling that they could potentially be priced out of their community, if the trend persists.
According to the Leger survey, during the pandemic, 23 per cent of respondents moved from a larger Canadian housing market to a smaller one, and 85 per cent are happy about their move; while 52 per cent of Canadians that moved to a small town believe their mental health has improved after moving.
This keen interest in small Canadian real estate markets doesn’t seem to be waning, as gathering and workplace pandemic restrictions continue to ease across the country, and more Canadians return to their office settings on a full-time or hybrid basis. According to the Leger survey, the ability to work from home has motivated 14 per cent of Canadians to move to a smaller community. Furthermore, 11 per cent of Canadians indicated that should their employer require them to return to work in-person, they would look for another job in order to stay in their small city/town/community.
*Liveability as defined by the Leger survey respondents, was based on individual subjectiveness for what liveability meant to them. Liveability as defined by RE/MAX is the quality of life that make up your neighbourhood, such as green spaces, transportation, etc. to name a few.
**Small markets were defined as those having the highest population growth rates in 2021, according to Statistics Canada, and population under 440,000, with a secondary criterion in order to ensure a good sample of national markets of those with a population of 100,000 or less.
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