Oh Look, Another Reason For Toronto House Prices To Soar

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We’ve heard all the reasons for Toronto’s house price boom before: Interest rates are super low; foreigners are flooding the market with cash, job creation is super strong; home-buying millennials are an unusually large population group.

Well here’s a new one: Canadians are flocking to Ontario at the fastest rate in 29 years, according to Statistics Canada data.

Not since Whitney Houston professed that she wants to dance with somebody and George Michael told us we’ve got to have faith has Ontario been such a large draw for Canadians in other parts of the country.

george michael 1988
If you remember this, you remember the last time Ontario was this hot among Canadians. (Photo of George Michael circa 1988: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Getty Archives)

“If that pace persists, it will add more than 0.3 percentage points to overall provincial population growth, nothing to snicker at for one of Ontario’s size,” said Robert Kavcic, a senior economist at Bank of Montreal.

ontario interprovincial migration
Chart: BMO

The reason? Jobs, of course. Until recently Toronto was one of only two cities in Canada seeing any net job growth (though momentum has shifted to Quebec recently).

houses toronto
Billboards surround a row of houses set to be demolished to make way for a condominium development feeding the real estate market of Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 3, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Chris Helgren)

And the oil price bust has something to do with it too.

Ontario lost people to other provinces for years until the oil slump hit Alberta (though its population kept growing thanks immigration from abroad). But Kavcic says Alberta’s wage advantage is now disappearing, pushing people to move to Ontario instead. Alberta is now losing people to other provinces.

provincial migration ontario alberta

And all of this comes at a time when the supply of homes for sale in the Toronto area is sinking.

If this keeps up, the question on new Torontonians’ minds might soon evolve from “how will I afford a house?” to “is this bridge comfy enough to sleep under?”

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