The Rural Escape: How COVID-19 is Prompting Canadians to Renounce City Living and Move to the Country
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Whether it is living, working, studying, playing, or relaxing, our homes have become the focal point of our lives ever since the COVID-19 pandemic first forced us indoors. Over the months, we have made the necessary arrangements to equip our homes to function as offices, study spaces, recreation centers, and staycation hubs. However, many Canadians have started craving bigger spaces and better surroundings that can make up for the shortcomings of their current homes. Some people feel the need for more square footage to accommodate the family’s evolving lifestyles, while others are in search of cleaner air or serene, natural settings. Overall, current trends suggest that a large number of Canadians seem to be giving up city living, prompting a migration from urban to rural areas.
Did the pandemic accelerate relocation decisions that were already in motion?
There is no denying that the coronavirus crisis has radically changed the way people think, live, work, and socialize. In light of the emerging perceptions, priorities and lifestyle choices, there seems to be a rapid shift in housing preferences from urban to suburban or rural settings. More and more Canadians are flocking to the lakeside cottage communities, scenic farmlands, or stunning mountainous terrains in search of their forever homes.
However, there seem to be some disagreements about the reasons to move to rural areas and the ongoing urban to suburban migration. While some economic experts believe that these decisions were already in motion and the pandemic accelerated them, others are of the view that such shifts are happening because of the onset of the COVID-19 era. No matter what the reasons, the fact remains that the migration from urban to rural is leading to a reconfiguration of Canada’s social, economic, and political maps.
A recent housing market study suggests that 32% of Canadians prefer to give up big city living in favour of suburban and rural communities. Some of the key factors that are prompting this rural escape are:
- Wide acceptance of work-from-home and online schooling arrangements
- Greater appeal of expansive green spaces for pursuing hobbies, interests, or outdoor activities, without compromising work or study routines
- Heightened sense of security and relaxed pace of life in suburban and rural areas
- Comparative affordability for larger living spaces, along with the reduced cost of living
While some people decided to make full-time homes out of their seasonal properties, others have made a considered move outside the city to enjoy the advantages of living in the suburbs.
Canadian retirees may never go back to living in the big cities
In the pre-COVID-19 era, millennials with expanding families and baby boomers on the verge of retirement were all congregating in the big cities. There was a higher demand for the amenities and conveniences of urban condos instead of standalone suburban homes. However, eight months into the pandemic, there is a clear shift in strategy and priorities. Space has become the new luxury. Pools, big backyards, and at-home recreation opportunities take precedence over access to public transport or proximity to offices in the active downtown cores.
Retirees or Canadians aged 55 and over also tend to prefer independent homes with larger spaces that offer personal amenities and aging-in-place conveniences. There are numerous advantages of living in the suburbs or rural communities:
- Picture perfect neighborhoods
- Safe streets and lower crime rates
- Less noise and air pollution
- Reasonably good healthcare infrastructure
- Easy access to stunning lakes, mountains and sprawling green spaces
- Warm and welcoming vibe and community-living experiences
In fact, more than three-fifths of the top 50 Best Communities in Canada are small, supercharged towns with less than 40,000 people. These locations offer suburban amenities, big city-like opportunities and rural natural splendour all rolled into one complete package, making the urban to suburban migration an attractive proposition for older Canadians.
In the city or in the country, live your life your way with the CHIP Reverse Mortgage®
From remote working, virtual schooling, and online shopping, to physical distancing norms and limited socializing opportunities, numerous aspects have contributed to the shift from big city living to alternative lifestyles. Whether you are on the verge of a rural escape or are determined to make an urban to suburban migration, nothing can beat the charm of living in a comfortable place of your own. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank can help you to:
- Buy a second home or vacation property
- Upgrade an existing second home to make it suitable for aging-in-place requirements
- Make the down-payment for a new home after downsizing from your current home
- Meeting the shortfall of funds while purchasing your first home with your retirement savings
As a Canadian, aged 55 or over, you can get up to 55% of your new home’s value in tax-free cash through the CHIP Reverse Mortgage and live your golden years on your own terms. Using a reverse mortgage as a purchase mortgage would mean you do not have to make any regular mortgage repayments as long as you live in your home. Payments become due only when you decide to move, sell or if both homeowners pass away. It is important to know that a reverse mortgage does not impact your eligibility for other benefits, such as Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), or income from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).