When it comes to people moving within Canada, Alberta looks like the place to be.
Recent numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show more than 31,000 people arrived in the province from elsewhere in Canada — mostly B.C. and Ontario — in the first quarter of 2023.
CREA said that is a rise of 44.7 per cent compared with last year.
Calgary real estate agent Curtis Prokopchuk with eXp Realty says around 25 per cent of his clients are from out of town — and they’re not investors, they’re moving here to live, a new trend he said he’s finding with most of his clients.
“Two years ago we were seeing a lot of investors coming into the market from Ontario and we’ve seen a lot of Calgarians frustrated with that because they were competing with those investors,” he said. “But now we’re seeing a lot of people wanting to move here. They’re looking to be part of the community. I think it’s a whole different scenario.”
Prokopchuk said his clients are looking for a more affordable home and lifestyle, and Alberta offers that. He admitted the migration is definitely driving up home prices in Alberta, but added he doesn’t think it’s fair to turn away people who want to come here.
“I think it’s really unfair to tell somebody they can’t move to a city,” he said.
“I understand the frustration with investment and having to deal with that competition – but these people want to be Calgarians and we’re very excited to welcome them here.”
Sudipto Chakraborty has lived in Calgary before back in 2013. He left for a job in Ontario. He and his spouse are now returning to Alberta, after finding Kitchener too expensive.
“The house prices are almost double what you have here. The price I paid for this house I’d have to pay double in Kitchener.”
“You’ll become house poor,” he added. “You buy a house and you spend everything on the house. You can’t do anything else.”
Chakraborty, who still works for a company in Ontario, said he can work remotely. He said Alberta and Airdrie just had too much to offer to pass up.
“You get all of the amenities of a big city here in Airdrie and Calgary without the big fuss of Toronto,” he said.
In what may also be the start of another new trend, the couple also bought the house virtually unseen, at least in person.
“It was all virtual,” Chakraborty said. “We didn’t see the house before coming here. It was all through WhatsApp and all through the six inches of my mobile phone.”
Prokopchuk said that has become the norm when dealing with out-of-province buyers. Clients reach out to him on his website, and they go from there.
“I’d say about 90 per cent of my clients have not seen the home, or met me, before we actually take possession of the property.”
“We do all our virtual showings, our virtual signings, and we finally get to meet each other on the day we take possession,” he added.
The couple bid on a total of six homes, with this latest one being the winner. Every home had multiple bids over asking.