Photo: Erik Mclean / Unsplash

Over the course of the pandemic, there’s been a lot of chatter about the urban exodus, the term coined for the pandemic-driven migration of city residents to the outer suburbs.

To understand how this trend is impacting new construction home buying, Livabl looked at BuzzBuzzHome visitor inquiry data from regions across the Greater Toronto Area to see which areas were seeing large spikes in interest from home shoppers browsing the online home search portal.

Many suburban GTA areas with new home developments saw a significant influx of home shopper interest this fall when compared to the same period a year ago. With the help of BuzzBuzzHome’s Data team, Livabl compiled a top 10 list of GTA suburbs that recorded the largest increases in visitor inquiries sent to new developments within their borders.

Visitor inquiry data used to compile the annual changes for each community were submitted between September 1st and November 30th in 2019 and 2020.

Data source: BuzzBuzzHome, created via Venngage

Smaller municipalities were among those that experienced the highest levels of annual growth.

Courtice and Newcastle, located east of Toronto, reported an increase in visitor inquiries by 844 percent and 854 percent, respectively. North of the city, in Uxbridge, a substantial rise in visitor inquiries resulted in annual growth of 1,000 percent.

Oshawa and Clarington, and other municipalities east of downtown, accounted for the majority of the communities that made up the top-10 list. Pickering and Bowmanville saw a 397 percent and 402 percent jump in inquiries between 2019 and 2020, respectively. Oshawa and Clarington reported annual increases of 437 percent and 621 percent, respectively.

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While it received a high volume of total inquiries, Brampton posted a relatively modest 420 percent increase in inquiries year-over-year.

With many urban residents now working from home and restrictions in place across Toronto and surrounding regions, single-family home sales in suburban and rural areas have dominated the market this year. Lockdown fatigue, and a yearning for more outdoor space and privacy, were a few of the reasons buyers have been flocking to the suburbs and farther out to cottage country this year.

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