A survey commissioned by Royal LePage says newcomers to Canada represent one in every five home buyers. If the current international migration level is maintained, Canadian newcomers are expected to purchase 680,000 homes over the next five years.
“In addition to supporting Canada’s economic growth, newcomers to Canada are vital to the health of our national real estate market,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “The combined demand for affordable housing among younger Canadians and new Canadians can be met through housing policies that encourage smart and sustainable development, with a focus on protecting and developing green spaces in our urban centres. Canada’s economy and labour markets are expanding and it is crucial that housing supply keeps pace.”
For the study, Royal LePage defined newcomers as those who have moved to Canada within the last 10 years. Respondents included immigrants, students, refugees and those who are in Canada to work. Nationally, the average duration of time respondents spent in Canada is four years.
Newcomers are likely to be a family with children (31 per cent), a student (25 per cent) or a sole applicant (20 per cent). Eighty-six per cent see real estate as a good investment and 75 per cent arrive with savings to help purchase a property. The study showed the average duration of time before newcomers purchase a home is three years after arriving in Canada.
“It is not surprising that newcomers see a home in Canada as a good investment. Having lived abroad myself, I have seen first-hand the challenges of relocating a family to a new world. It takes courage and commitment. Newcomers are doing more than investing in Canadian real estate, they are investing in their family’s future,” says Soper.
Despite the desire to purchase a home, the homeownership rate of newcomers is only 32 per cent, says Royal LePage. The overall homeownership rate for all Canadians is 68 per cent. Of those who purchase a home, 51 per cent of newcomers buy a detached house, 18 per cent buy a condominium, 15 per cent buy a townhouse and 13 per cent buy a semi-detached house.
Nationally, 82 per cent of respondents remain in the region of their first residence. For those who relocate to a new region, a better job is cited as the most popular reason for moving (41 per cent), followed by lifestyle (13 per cent) and housing affordability allowing the respondent to purchase a home (12 per cent).
Upon arriving in Canada, 64 per cent of respondents rent their first home and 15 per cent purchase. Many newcomers choose to first live with family or friends at little or no cost (18 per cent). The most popular reason among respondents for moving to Canada is that newcomers see the country as a good place to live and work (54 per cent). Most newcomers do not consider moving to the United States (75 per cent) and the most popular response as to why they chose Canada over the United States was that they feel more welcome as an immigrant (31 per cent), followed by the belief that Canada is a safer place to live (26 per cent).
Ontario accounts for approximately 46 per cent of all international migration to Canada. The homeownership rate of newcomers residing in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa are both 32 per cent. However, the provincial homeownership rate of newcomers is lower at 29 per cent, three percentage points lower than the national average (32 per cent). The survey found that 84 per cent of newcomers in Ontario remain in their first city or region of residence. Currently newcomers in Ontario represent 21 per cent of all home buyers in the province and they are projected to purchase 286,000 homes over the next five years at the current rate of migration.
“Ontario, and more specifically the Greater Toronto Area, has greatly benefited from international migration to Canada,” says Chris Slightham, president, Royal LePage Signature Realty. “Neighbourhoods across the greater region are blossoming with the continued influx of newcomers who are looking for good schools and job opportunities in thriving communities.
While some newcomers are attracted to downtown living, there are still many affordable housing options for newcomers in vibrant communities outside of the downtown core.”
Newcomers to the province believe that homeownership is a good financial investment (88 per cent) and 82 per cent arrive with savings to help purchase a home. The demand for detached homes in the province is driven by the number of newcomers who arrive as a family with children (32 per cent). Of those who purchase a home, the average duration prior to purchasing is three years.
“Ottawa is a very attractive destination for newcomers to Canada. Similar to Canada’s other urban centres, the city offers best-in-class healthcare, great schools and safe, friendly communities but with real estate prices roughly half of the cost of Toronto and a third the cost of Vancouver,” says Jason Ralph, managing partner, Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa. “The demand from both newcomers and first-time home buyers has put considerable upward price pressure on inventory between $300,000 and $500,000.”
In the province, 60 per cent of newcomers rent their first home, 16 per cent purchase and 20 per cent live with family or friends at little or no cost when they arrive in Canada.
Quebec follows only Ontario in attracting newcomers to live and work (19 per cent). Currently newcomers also represent 19 per cent of all home buyers in the province and they are projected to purchase 102,000 homes over the next five years at the current rate of international migration. The survey also found that 83 per cent of newcomers in Quebec still lived in their first region of residence.
“Demand for real estate in the province of Quebec, and the Greater Montreal Area in particular, is healthy as newcomers settle here for our excellent academic institutions, great quality of life and relative affordability,”’ says Dominic St-Pierre, vice president and general manager, Royal LePage, for the Quebec region. “Quebec has a significant out-migration rate and its population continues to age. In addition to enriching the province’s social fabric, newcomers provide a population boost that supports both a healthy economy and vibrant real estate market.”
British Columbia is the third most popular Canadian destination for international migration, says the Royal LePage report. The homeownership rate of newcomers residing in Greater Vancouver is 32 per cent, similar to both the provincial and national average (32 per cent).
“Greater Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in the world to live and we attract newcomers who are optimistic about what the city has to offer in terms of both lifestyle and employment,” says Randy Ryalls, general manager, Royal LePage Sterling Realty.
In the province, 72 per cent of newcomers rent their first home and nine per cent purchase, while 13 per cent live with family or friends at little or no cost when they arrive in Canada.
The percentage of respondents who arrive in British Columbia as part of a family with children is 32 per cent. The second most popular response is student (28 per cent), followed by sole applicant (20 per cent), and couples with no children (14 per cent).
Eighty-six per cent of newcomers in British Columbia remain in their first city or region of residence. Currently, newcomers represent 15 per cent of all home buyers in the province and they are projected to purchase 91,000 homes over the next five years at the current rate of international migration.
Alberta attracts approximately eight per cent of Canada’s international migration. Newcomers have a significantly high homeownership rate with 45 per cent owning their home. They are the most likely to believe that homeownership is a good financial investment (90 per cent). Newcomers represent 18 per cent of all home buyers in the province and they are projected to purchase 76,000 homes in the region over the next five years at the current rate of international migration.
“Alberta is particularly appealing to newcomers from all over the world, and already established Canadians who wish to migrate to the province,” says Corinne Lyall, broker and owner, Royal LePage Benchmark. “Calgary has a truly welcoming attitude. It is a relatively young city so the majority of the population was not born here. There is a lot of support for newcomers, along with a real sense of community and love for the area.”
Upon arriving in Canada, 19 per cent of Alberta newcomers own their first place of residence, 55 per cent rent, and 13 per cent live with family or friends at little or no cost.
“Alberta supports entrepreneurs and people who are willing to work hard,” Lyall added. “The provincial government provides tax credits for small business investment and programs to help companies succeed on an international level. The lifestyle offered throughout the province, combined with the affordability of home prices, draws people to our part of Canada.”
The Prairies also attract approximately eight per cent of Canada’s international migration and 41 per cent of newcomers own their home. In the province, 62 per cent of newcomers rent their first home, 20 per cent purchase and 17 per cent live with family or friends at little or no cost when they arrive in Canada.
“Affordability reigns in this region of Canada,” says Michael Froese, managing partner, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate. “Newcomers come to the Prairies because the region can offer a great lifestyle on an affordable budget. It’s particularly appealing for newcomers who arrive as a family or those looking to start a family.”
Newcomers represent 41 per cent of all home buyers in the region and they are projected to purchase 71,000 homes over the next five years at the current rate of international migration. Of those who purchase a home, the average duration prior to purchasing is three years.
Atlantic Canada attracts approximately five per cent of Canada’s international migration. Newcomers living in Atlantic Canada have a homeownership rate of 44 per cent, 12 percentage points higher than the national average (32 per cent). Following the Prairies, it is the second highest percentage of all regions studied. Newcomers represent 31 per cent of all home buyers in the region and they are projected to purchase 43,000 homes over the next five years.
Newcomers in Atlantic Canada are most likely to be a family with children (39 per cent), eight percentage points higher than the national average.
“Surrounded by water and beautiful landscape, Atlantic Canada is the perfect place to raise a family,” says Rudy Chong, owner and manager, Royal LePage Prince Edward Realty. “Many newcomers are thrilled to discover that they can own a large home at an affordable price. Often newcomers arrive from big, metropolitan cities and are seeking the lifestyle the Maritimes offers.”
Of newcomers in Atlantic Canada, 81 per cent remain in their first city or region of residence. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents in Atlantic Canada believe that homeownership is a good financial investment.
In the region, 63 per cent of newcomers rent their first home, 20 per cent purchase and 18 per cent live with family or friends at little or no cost when they arrive in Canada.
Of newcomers who purchase a home, the average duration prior to buying is two years.