Is Toronto experiencing massive urban sprawl?

There’s never been more media frenzy around the Toronto real estate market than in the past few months.   As the GTA entered another red hot spring market, there have been many reports that sellers are cashing out, in droves and  moving to less expensive cities to live mortgage-free or retire early.

While it sounds like a reasonable thing to expect, are we seeing people moving out of Toronto and into the suburbs at a higher than average rate?

We analyzed over 2,000 moves in 2017 to see if we can identify migration patterns and put the notion of a massive urban sprawl to the test.

less expensive city to live mortgage-free


The most popular move was Toronto residents relocating to Barrie and taking advantage of Barrie’s (still affordable) prices.  These moves were an even split of downsizing, move-up buyers, and first-time buyers.

Despite rising prices, not everyone is cashing out and leaving town.  Moves within Toronto came in second and represent a respectable amount of first-time condo buyers getting into the market and those who are downsizing into a condo or smaller home.

Hamilton and Burlington were hot destinations for Torontonians, with move-up buyers and first-time buyers alike.

Mississauga homeowners saw Kitchener / Waterloo as a popular destination for first-time buyers and those downsizing.

Oshawa continued to be the hotbed of Durham region, with a strong mix of first-time buyers and move-up buyers making the city of Oshawa their home.

So is Toronto experiencing a massive urban sprawl?  The answer is still up in the air.
There’s no doubt that with rising prices, homeowners will choose to cash out and realize the dream of living mortgage-free or retiring early.   However, Toronto is still a major hub for employment and businesses and many people will choose to pay a premium to stay in or around the city, despite affordability issues.

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