No Fixed Address: More immigrants ‘fleeing to the suburbs’ as Toronto housing prices keep rising

May 9, 2017

By Lauren Pelley, CBC News |

After Bassam Mansoob moved to Canada from Australia a year ago, he started hunting for a house in the GTA.

The high prices of both housing and insurance in Toronto were a “cultural shock,” says the 32-year-old software engineer, who works downtown in Liberty Village.

Even homes as far west as Burlington were too pricey, he says. So, despite the lengthy commute, Mansoob and his family — including his wife and five-month-old daughter — wound up settling in Stoney Creek, a suburban community in Hamilton.

The decision was mostly about affordability, Mansoob says.

“I can’t afford to spend that much living closer to the city, paying that much in insurance, property tax and whatnot,” he told CBC Toronto.

And he’s far from the only immigrant opting for the suburbs, rather than the core.

A new Statistics Canada study released on Monday shows the number of immigrants moving to the suburbs around Toronto, instead of settling downtown, is rising. And many experts say the high rent and housing prices in Toronto, where the average home now costs nearly $921,000, could be a big part of the shift.

Immigrant population living in suburbs up 10 per cent

More than half of the immigrant population in the Toronto census metropolitan area — which includes surrounding communities like Brampton, Oakville, Milton, Vaughan, Pickering and Ajax — was living in a municipality peripheral to Toronto in 2011, up from 40 per cent a decade earlier, according to the paper from Mireille Vézina and René Houle.

“Immigrants tend to move more and more to peripheral municipalities and new immigrants, even, tend to settle directly in peripheral municipalities, whereas in the past, immigrants tended to land in the core city centres like Toronto,” said Houle. “The pattern is changing rapidly.”

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