This is a chart from a recent blog post by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. It shows net intraprovincial migration across the regions of the Greater Toronto Area. And what you are seeing here is people moving from expensive and built-up areas like the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel to lower cost areas further outside of the city.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it’s very much a natural market outcome. Many people tend to “vote with their feet” and look for greater housing affordability. And two, this is a trend that existed prior to COVID-19. It is not the death of cities. In the words of Ryerson’s CUR, it’s about people looking for more affordable lower-density housing.
But to what extent is “lower density” the key deciding factor? In other words, how much of this is consumer preference and how much of this is people being forced out by a lack of infill housing supply?