From coast to coast, Canadians are flooding into cities to be close to work and live the urban lifestyle. How is this changing demographic affecting housing and rental markets?
All four Atlantic provinces saw declines in housing starts from 2013 to 2014, with Newfoundland and Labrador experiencing the largest drop (26%). Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick each saw declines of 20% while Nova Scotia was down 22%.
Housing starts in Atlantic Canada
Source: Statistics Canada
Housing starts by province
Guillame Neault, senior market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, says many retirees are selling their homes and leaving rural areas for cities, opting for higher-end rental apartments. “Our population is getting older. People who are preparing for retirement will consume less housing and that’s a trend we see from coast to coast to coast,” says Neault. Rental prices are on the rise due to the increasing demand for new, luxurious “condo-quality” apartments, typically containing five or six appliances, spacious layouts and top-notch amenities.
Average monthly rent for 2-bedroom apartment (CMHC, 2014)
Vacany rates for apartments in urban cities (CMHC, 2014)
Fact: Atlantic Canada’s rural areas are shrinking and urban centres are growing. And, with a less than one per cent shift in total regional population from 2010 to 2014, it’s clear that city gains are at the expense of their country cousins.
Atlantic Canada’s population drift, 2010-2014