GTA out-migration fuels population growth in Brantford area

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The exodus of people from the Greater Toronto Area and elsewhere is pushing up Brantford’s growth rate, according to figures recently released by Statistics Canada.

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The population of the region, which includes Brant County and Six Nations of the Grand River, increased by 5,150 people in the 12 months ending July 1, 2021, with most coming from other parts of Ontario.

Brantford’s net gain of 2,097 people from elsewhere in Ontario came as Toronto saw a net loss of nearly 65,000 people, according to Statistics Canada.

Overall, the Brantford area grew by 1.8%. This is well ahead of the pace of the country, with Canada’s population growing by only 0.5% over the same period.

This brings the total population of the census metropolitan area of ​​Brantford to 154,483, according to the federal agency.

Other nearby cities are also showing growth, including Guelph (1.1%), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (1%) and London (0.9%).

Jason Dean, assistant professor of economics at King’s University College and instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said he was not surprised to see the intraprovincial growth rate, even during a pandemic.

“Toronto ranks 98 and most expensive city in the world with an average single-family home price of around $1.6 million,” Dean said. “It encourages the thousands of young families, who have been excluded from the market, to move to more affordable areas nearby.

“COVID has been like a catalyst since it forced companies to experiment with working from home for their employees. Now that concerns about lower productivity have been dispelled, I think for many this will be a more convenient arrangement. permanent because of the significant cost savings that employers can achieve.”

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In addition to young people leaving the GTA, retiring baby boomers now have the opportunity to take advantage of the sale of their expensive homes and move elsewhere, Dean said.

“The more they move away, the more they will have to spend on their retirement. In the years before the pandemic, Hamilton was a great place. But home prices there have doubled since 2015. It’s no surprise that Brantford, the next big city on the 403, is seeing an influx.

But the large number of out-of-town buyers has helped push home prices in Brantford to record highs. Home sales in the area set an annual record in 2021. A total of 2,758 homes were sold through the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association’s MLS system last year, an increase of 7.6% compared to 2020.

Demand for homes and a low inventory of homes for sale also helped push prices to record highs. The average price of homes sold in December was $832,184, up 39.6% from December 2020. The fuller annual average price was $721,573, up 31.6% from 2020 .

As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced immigration to the country. But Brantford held firm, with 968 people coming from outside the country.

On the other hand, population growth by natural birth decreased between 2020 and 2021 (-62), while the region recorded a net loss of 201 people who moved to other provinces.

“Housing affordability seems to be becoming an issue everywhere,” Dean said. “It’s even more pronounced in smaller towns where incomes are much lower than in Toronto. Increasing the supply of housing to accommodate newcomers to the city could certainly mitigate the price spike.

“But it also increases costs for the city because these new homes need plumbing, electricity and water. The growth could lead to necessary and costly upgrades to water treatment plants, large schools and other facilities. In addition, new roads will need to be built and existing roads may need to be widened. At least in the short term, it is possible that migration will lead to higher property taxes.

With files from Postmedia Network

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