Prices in Canada’s secondary cities continue to rise as buyers prioritize space and affordability in age of remote work
Since the late spring of 2020, Canadian home prices have been rising at historic rates, following the onset of the global pandemic. Widespread lockdowns suddenly forced millions of workers and students to conduct their daily business from home. While the trend of working remotely was gaining in popularity in the years prior, the seemingly unending health crisis accelerated the movement, driving many Canadians living in major urban centres to trade in their cramped quarters for more space in smaller cities and rural communities.
The latest Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Forecast shows price growth in Kingston’s single-family detached segment was the highest in the country, posting an increase of 46.5% year-over-year in the third quarter. Following Kingston, Ajax had the next highest year-over-year home price appreciation for the detached properties, rising 36.2% year-over-year; then, Langley (34.5%) and Greater Victoria (34.0%). Kingston also had one of the highest aggregate price increases nationwide (36%), second only to Saint John, New Brunswick (36.4%).
“Competition in Kingston’s housing market is incredibly high. Inventory has reached an all-time low, while demand gets stronger everyday,” said Bob Armer, area manager, Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty. “Today, there are even more buyers from out of town – namely from Toronto and the GTA – than there were a year ago. This migration continues to put a lot of upward pressure on prices, which is especially challenging for local buyers.”
Armer noted that Kingston’s proximity to Toronto has made it very popular among young people who can work remotely but may need to be in the office once or twice per week.
This is just one example of secondary cities that have grown in popularity and population over the last 15 months. Nationally, home price appreciation is being driven by the detached segment in secondary cities, like Kingston. Royal LePage is forecasting that the aggregate price of a home in Canada will increase 16% per cent to $771,500 in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the same quarter last year, putting real estate values on track to grow 33% by the end of the year from June, 2020.