Have you put off moving? What was the reason? A new report suggests housing supply is tied to a decreasing mobility rate in some of Canada’s largest metro areas, including Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto.
The Centre for Urban Research and Land Development set out to discover what’s driving the population mobility rate downwards in the Greater Toronto Area. They did this by looking at a number of factors with data from 2006 to 2016.
During this time, the mobility rate fell 6.3% in Toronto. When looking at just homeowners, the mobility rate fell 7.6%, while the mobility rate for renters fell 3.9%. The report points out that people who rent move residences more because leases end, and they tend to have fewer children tying them to a location.
So, why are people in Toronto moving less? CUR looked at employment growth rates and found that employment growth was strong in many of the CMAs with no ties to the dropping mobility rate. A new job is a common reason to move, and even with strong employment growth, people moved less. This suggests people may be putting off accepting a new job because they can’t move.
CUR also looked at increasing housing prices, but there was no direct tie to the declining mobility rate. The greatest price growth in Vancouver did not equal the greatest drop in mobility rate, compared to the other CMAs. Calgary had the smallest price increase, but had a greater drop in mobility than Vancouver.
Since increasing housing prices did not impact the mobility rate, it’s not a surprise that affordability issues did not have any direct ties either. In all the CMAs, there was an increase in households spending more than 30% of their income on shelter, but there were no consistencies when compared to the mobility rate.
The only factor that seemed to have some sort of correlation with the mobility rate was housing supply. As completions decreased, the mobility rate decreased in every CMA except for Vancouver where completions increased 0.3% per capita while mobility rate fell 5.8%.
There are so many reasons to move into a new home; a new job opportunity, downsizing, need more living space, starting a family, moving into a better neighbourhood, etc. The results of CUR’s report suggests that a lack of housing supply could be postponing or preventing these decisions from being made.