The COVID Effect - Working from anywhere and the Migration to PEI

Dated: May 8 2021

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The move towards working from home is not something new. However, it has come to the forefront due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many industries are coming to accept it as a compelling path forward. As such, the trend of young Canadians choosing to live further outside of major urban centres has intensified. If you can work from anywhere, why not do it in a place like PEI, where homes are FAR more affordable for the average working family than they are in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver.

To more deeply understand the effect this will have on the real estate market across the country, Royal LePage conducted a survey of Canadians aged 25 to 35. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed who are employed or seeking employment said that the ability to work for an organization that allows the option of remote work is important to them. This is not surprising, given the high sales volume and growing demand from out of province buyers that we have seen on PEI over the past year.

In fact, 39% of this age group said they are considering a move from their current home to a less dense area due to the pandemic. It stands to reason that, given that moving is typically not something one does with great frequency, these respondents plan (or perhaps hope) to continue working remotely post-pandemic at least some of the time, if not all. More than half (51%) said the ability to purchase a larger home was an important factor in their consideration, while even more said lower home prices (61%) and access to more outdoor space (62%) were motivating forces.

As a result of this in-migration, home prices on PEI and all regions of the country have been steadily increasing at unprecedented rates over the past year. This is due to a combination of increased demand and a severe lack of supply. Much of that demand is fueled by younger buyers and first-time homebuyers who have been able to save more during the pandemic and are looking to take advantage of low borrowing costs. Unlike the buying habits of previous cohorts, these first-time homebuyers are not limiting their searches to small condominium units or apartments in major urban areas. Instead, they are expanding their search parameters to include places like Prince Edward Island, where their investment nets a greater return in terms of square footage and the natural beauty our island has to offer. 

The study found that 68% of Canadians aged 25 to 35 who are not currently homeowners plan to purchase a property within the next five years. As a result, it can be expected that while home prices may not continue to increase as fast as they have been, they will continue to increase on prince Edward Island for the foreseeable future.

For more insights into the home buying trends of Canadians aged 25 to 35, and to see the data chart, visit rlp.ca/2021demographicsurvey

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