Report suggests high housing prices could drive exodus out of Ontario

Photo from Flickr courtesy

Have you ever considered moving out of Ontario to buy a home?

A new poll by the Ontario Real Estate Association suggests almost half of prospective home buyers under the age of 45 either have considered it or are moving out of the province.

A third of those 29 and under say they would seriously consider it or very likely will.

It’s not just adventure and job prospects driving those numbers. With housing prices rising rapidly, they don’t believe they can afford to buy a home here.

The poll conducted by Abacus Data said 56 per cent of those polled are pessimistic about buying a home in the community where they want to live. The association believes unless the governments at both the provincial and municipal level address the issue, it will hurt future economic growth.

Last month, the average cost of buying a home in Windsor was $555,544, while in London, it was over $641,000.  Even in Chatham, the average price has risen to $405,533.

“The lack of housing supply is leading many to look outside the province for their first homes, and that will make it difficult to retain and attract talent in Ontario in the near future,” said CEO Tim Hudak. “The Government of Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act is an excellent first step, but if we want to reverse this brain drain, municipalities also need to deliver by opening up more housing opportunities.”

The poll suggests nine out of ten respondents would support a publicly searchable registry of who owns properties to prevent money laundering in the Ontario real estate market. That number is in favour of tax credits and incentives, especially for first-time buyers. About 87 per cent would also like to see surplus commercial properties converted to housing.

It may also be politically advantageous. The poll showed those who participated would support political parties and local politicians who run on an election platform of improving housing affordability.

“Governments need to act if we want to create future generations of homeowners, and that starts with pro-growth policies that could bring affordability closer to first-time home buyers and address the supply shortage,” said Hudak.