Some of the biggest cities in Canada are seeing people moving out of the city in search of more affordable housing. According to data from Statistics Canada, Toronto recently saw a loss of 50,375 people, and Montreal lost 24,880 people.
Urbanites are moving to the suburbs, and the pandemic has only accelerated this shift. However, is moving out the right choice for you financially?
Weigh your options as we cover some of the most important factors to consider, tips on how to move out, and financial advice to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The Big Move: Moving Out of the City
Suburban areas, smaller towns, and rural areas in Canada are seeing an increase in population as people move from the big cities.
Although this isn't a recent phenomenon, the pandemic has played a big role in speeding up this particular trend. More people are starting to feel that smaller housing isn't worth it, longing for a larger and more tranquil home.
Although city life is undeniably convenient with many places within walking distance and access to public transportation, the cramped lifestyle and price of housing can take their toll.
So what are the reasons for the shift to quieter, less-populated areas?
One of the biggest reasons people choose to move out of major cities is because of the price of housing. Toronto is the most populated city in Canada, but unfortunately, it's also the most expensive.
For the rest of this article, we'll focus on moving out of Toronto specifically, although you can also apply these tips to a move from other major cities.
Housing Price and Cost of Living in Toronto
The average house price across Canada is $716,828, although depending on where you want to live, the size of your home can vary greatly across the nation.
The cost of living in Toronto is often more than people can afford. A condo alone averages $611,100, straining some people's budgets to the limit. Even smaller apartments can go for $2,000 a month or more.
According to information from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, in February, the average price of a home passed the $1 million mark. In fact, the average selling price for all types of homes went up by 14.9%.
With home prices skyrocketing, many people simply can't afford to stay in Toronto any longer. While some people choose to move to the suburbs, others are opting to leave the province.
In comparison, some of the most affordable places to live in Canada include many smaller cities in Quebec and Ontario.
Working From Home: The New Normal
The pandemic left many people switching to working from home. Remote working comes with many benefits, and the biggest perhaps is the freedom to work from anywhere and not have to commute.
Working from home has provided many companies with a lot of insight into what works and what doesn't in this age of "the new normal." For example, working eight-hour shifts aren't always the best schedule for your employees, and meetings aren't always necessary.
The shift from an office environment to a remote one has worked out better than some companies imagined, resulting in many choosing to allow more work-from-home opportunities. Big companies like Microsoft and Reddit are offering a hybrid approach—a mix between working remotely and coming to the office.
For many, this means they may not have to live as close to their job as they do currently. Companies that go full work-from-home offer the flexibility of working from anywhere.
However, even if you still need to commute to work for a few days of the week, you may be able to cut down on your commute time. If your company offers a hybrid working solution, talk to your boss about your options. Some days you could come in, and others you could work from the comfort of your home.
If you mention the fact you're moving, they may be able to come up with a more appropriate option or slightly altered schedule.
The Advantages of Remote Work Outside Toronto
If living in Toronto isn't an option due to financial concerns, there are many benefits to moving out of the city in search of somewhere with cheaper rent.
Lower housing prices and a lower cost of living are two major benefits. Another advantage to consider is how much quieter it can be.
Depending on your work, you may find the peace of the suburbs provides an environment that can help you focus more. You won't have to worry about the sounds of the city or noisy neighbours above or below you while you're on an important video call or trying to hear someone over the phone.
If you have kids or pets, moving outside of the city often means you'll get more space for your money. You can dedicate an area of your home as an office and close your door to prevent interruptions and noise.
These advantages and the flexibility of remote work have made the choice of moving from the city even easier for many people.
Aside from more affordable housing, there are also other benefits to moving outside of Toronto. Here are some of the many other ways you can save and other factors to consider before the move.
Parking and Public Transit
Making the move from a condo or apartment to a house in the suburbs can help you save big on the cost of parking. If you didn't have a car and you relied on public transit, that gets expensive as well.
Using the main public transport service, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), a monthly metro pass would cost $156. Even those one-way tickets can add up fast.
With your own car and a designated place to park you don't need to pay extra for, you'll see the savings add up quickly.
Save on Dining Out
Restaurants and eating out can quickly sap a budget as well, and food and entertainment are often more expensive in the city. Even getting delivery, something many people do weekly for convenience, can add up. Delivery minimums and taxes can make it almost as expensive to order in as it would be to go out.
A move to the suburbs could provide you with more room, a bigger kitchen, and more inspiration to start cooking at home. Even if you do decide to eat out or order in, menu prices tend to be lower.
Lastly, you can save on your groceries if you plan on moving out. The average spent on groceries is higher in cities where the costs of living are higher.
Markets in big cities like Toronto often have to charge more due to the increased retail rental rates and labour costs, after all. As a result, groceries can cost more than they do in more rural areas.
Tips on Moving Out of the City
So you've decided it's time to move out of the city to improve your financial situation and settle down somewhere quieter. You've reflected on what's important to you and your happiness, and you know it's the right choice, but how do you get started?
The first of our moving tips is to begin researching the best places to move. Where you want to end up depends on your budget, whether you have a job or not, and whether your job lets you work remotely.
Start by setting your budget, doing research on the areas you're interested in, and taking the time to visit and explore those communities. This way, you can get a feel for the area and see if it would suit your preferences and needs.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Compare costs of living
- Housing costs
- Nearby schools
- Grocery stores and restaurants
- Parks and recreational areas
- The median income for the area
Take time to walk around, talk to locals, and visit some interesting shops and restaurants. Consider your lifestyle and whether this is an area where you'd like to live.
If you don't already have a car, research the prices of vehicles you'd like to buy. Remember, you'll be adding in extra costs like car insurance and gas.
Take time to calculate and set a monthly budget. You'll also want to plan for moving expenses, such as hiring movers, buying moving supplies, setting up new utilities, and so on.
When you buy a larger home, you'll often need to buy new furniture. Don't forget you'll have to restock the pantry as well. Make a list of all these little expenses and budget for them before your move, so you're prepared.
Is Moving Out the Best Financial Choice?
Moving out of the city is a big step, but it also makes sense financially. You can save on housing costs, food, parking, and much more when you swap the city for the suburbs. Living in Toronto is expensive, and a move outside of the city might be exactly what you need to get your finances back under control.
Remember to use our tips for moving out, research the area you're interested in, and set a budget, so you don't overspend and wind up in debt.
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