Skip to content
Sponsored Content

3 factors why people are moving from Toronto to Simcoe and Grey Bruce Counties

Owen Sound, Meaford, becoming hot targets for GTA buyers

It’s a growing trend in Ontario’s booming real estate market: after spending most of their adult life living in posh Toronto neighbourhoods like Rosedale, North Riverdale, and The Beaches, many homeowners are cashing out and leaving the GTA, heading for smaller Ontario towns like Owen Sound, Meaford, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood.

What are the major factors driving these city dwellers to leave amenity-rich suburbia behind in favour of more rustic settings?

“The number one reason is lifestyle,” said Max Hahne of Engel & Völkers and co-partner in the McGregor Hahne Group. “They’ve pretty much decided on a lifestyle change and are familiar with the markets they want to go to. Not everyone expects to see a Starbucks in every small town. As long as there are some great restaurants, a couple banks, a place for groceries and a decent hardware store, they’re okay with that.”

The second factor driving the wave of soon-to-be Toronto ex-pats looking to buy in the south Georgian Bay area is price – the selling price they’re getting for their current homes, and the rising purchase prices deterring them from buying in other major centres.

“Collingwood has gotten quite popular with the number of people that want to move out this way,” said Hahne, who in 2021 merged his Engel & Völkers Collingwood Muskoka Owen Sound brokerage with Toronto allowing him to be part of the McGregor Hahne Group. “$800,000 doesn’t buy too much in this market. Buyers are saying ‘hey, we have to go further afield to look for property,’ so they’re looking more to rural properties and further west in Simcoe and Grey Bruce. They’re also getting better value from the sale of their current home in the GTA.”

Hahne says the biggest challenge for potential buyers seeking to relocate to the area is a current lack of inventory. However, Hahne believes buyers will see a lot more properties entering the market in the coming weeks.

“All the data I see says 2022 will be a repeat of 2021, even with the lack of inventory causing a slow start to this year,” he said. “If interest rates go up in Canada and the U.S. which they most likely will, it’s going to make people a little more anxious about getting that next house. I also think this is the year that the people I’ll call ‘the stragglers’ – the people who have been hesitant to sell perhaps because of COVID or they’re waiting to retire – will be listing as well. There’s going to be a bit of a rush.”

Those rushing to communities in small-town Ontario have a third reason to make the move according to Hahne.

“People just want a change of scenery. They just get sick of the GTA and the block after block after block of homes in a grid of busy streets with no scenery. You come up here, the driving is easier, the scenery is better. And a lot of these small areas have come of age in terms of of art galleries, good restaurants and small business. You don’t feel like you’ve moved to a small town.”

With the month of January in the books, Hahne said he expects inventory levels to climb, which is good news to the long list of buyers he has waiting to make offers. Whether they’re recently retired baby boomers or young people who have the flexibility to now work remotely, these home buyers are going to have a big impact on Ontario’s small town real estate markets.

To start the conversation and explore the possibilities of moving to your new home, email Max at [email protected].