A building wave of homebuyers moving to rural destinations, which started before the pandemic, has become a tsunami, the latest data confirms.
According to Statistics Canada, in the year leading to July 2020, more than 75,000 people moved from Toronto and Montreal, Canada’s two biggest cities, to smaller centres, the largest such migration in 20 years.
For the $1 million-range price of an average house in major cities, buyers find they can purchase rural homes on large acreages for much less, then use the extra capital to invest in a richer, more rewarding lifestyle.
National studies show that 5.1 million Canadians plan to move in the next five years. For many, that move is from the city to a smaller town or right back to the country.
B.C. real estate sales and tax data shows that back-to-the land is gaining traction in Vancouver in 2021.
“The persistence of remote work has major implications for the B.C. housing market, especially in markets more removed from major metropolitan areas,” the B.C. Real Estate Association noted in a June 2021 study of provincial sales trends. “Since the onset of the pandemic, markets outside of metro areas have seen surging demand for real estate.”
A recent survey by global tax services firm Ryan LLC confirms the trend.
“A large percentage of Metro Vancouver homeowners are considering cashing out their real estate gains and moving to more affordable markets – a staggering 34 per cent, which was the highest percentage compared to homeowners in other regions of the province,” the firm said.
Back-to-the land moves are not always altruistic.
Owning farmland can be a prime investment, especially in British Columbia, which has the highest-valued farmland with the fastest rising prices in Canada.
According to Farm Credit Canada’s annual report, B.C. farmland values increased 8 per cent in value, year-over-year, in 2020, after a 5.8 per cent increase the year before. Prices have accelerated even faster so far in 2021, agents say, due to unprecedented demand.
So, when two prime land parcels came to the market this summer near Prince George in northern B.C., and in the Kootenays region, they generated immediate excitement.
The first is 554 acres of freehold land just 15 minutes from Prince George, with two home sites in place. Priced at $850,000 – less than the cost of a house in the Lower Mainland and lower the average price of a downtown Vancouver condo – the prime land at 10650 Ensilwood Road, is not expected to last long on the market.
“Most of this property is cleared and awaiting your ideas,” said Tab Baker, the Prince George listing agent.
- Property type: Freehold land
- Location: Prince George, B.C.
- Parcel size: 554 acres
- Price: $850,00
The second comprises 295 acres of freehold land, which includes a well-maintained house currently rented to a responsible, long-term tenant, near the historic town of Midway, just off Highway 3 in the Kootenay region of southeastern B.C. The listing price is $1.1 million, which, incidentally is less than the cost of a detached house in either Metro Vancouver or the Greater Toronto Area.
- Property Type: Freehold Land
- Location: Midway, B.C.
- Parcel Size: 295 acres
- Price: $1,100,000 CAD
For complete information and photos of this land at 3055 Ingram Creek Road, Midway, B.C., contact listing agent Kevin Primeau, Primeau Properties, Osoyoos, B.C., phone 250-408-9093; email email@example.com.