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Bye-Bye Britain! Brexit driving Britons to look-up moving to Canada!

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Bye-Bye Britain! Brexit driving Britons to look-up moving to Canada!
7 min. read

The Brexit wounds are still fresh, with almost half of the British population still reeling over the shock EU Referendum results last month. A whopping 52% of the population voted for the UK to leave the European Union, which resulted in a surge of Britons considering a move to Canada.  

With the UK facing political and economic instability, it’s not surprising that a move to Canada is more attractive than ever. Many “remain” voters are now seeking an alternative to what could possibly be a volatile future for the UK, and are turning their heads towards the dream of wondrous Canada.  An advanced economy, stable government, green-initiatives, and environmental appeal are just a few factors that support Canada’s glowing reputation. Hopping across the pond is seemingly a desirable option for Brits, and with such varied cities, landscapes, and housing markets, Canada has something for everyone.

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“Moving To Canada” Google Searches On The Rise 

Google experienced a huge surge of people searching “how to move to Canada”, no doubt inspired by the state of affairs in the UK and the impending exit from the European Union. This phenomenon mirrors the sudden spike of American searches about emigrating to Canada, after the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president became solid. More specifically, Americans researched moving to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – and Britons interested in leaving a chaotic UK could learn from their American counterparts.

Google Trends shows a significant spike in UK searches related to moving to Canada, obtaining a visa and job availability. Perhaps more interesting is that most of these searches come from Wales and England, where the “Leave” vote victory was overwhelming.

Google trends 90 days with regional

Real estate searches from the UK on Canadian search portal Point2 Homes almost tripled on the day of the Brexit announcement, rising by over 296%. They have remained significantly higher than average since then.

While geographically Canada may be a long way from the UK, practically speaking, things aren’t too different in terms of language and lifestyle. Canada has always been a popular choice for British expats who crave the landscapes, weather, activities, and nature that the UK simply doesn’t offer. That desire has been ingrained further now that the UK is set to leave the EU.

Is Canada Ready, Willing and Able?

In short, the answer is a resounding yes, especially in the Maritime regions. According to The Globe and Mail, this is the single most important key to revitalizing the Atlantic region of Canada. Even though the west coast cities have a white-hot real estate market right now, there are plenty of places in Canada that would dearly welcome an influx of immigrants.

The Maritime provinces are in dire need of younger residents and business opportunities, with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland suffering from declining population and economic weakness. Enterprising immigrants from the UK would not only find familiar natural surroundings, they would also have a close-knit and culturally compatible community to look forward to. Maritime province leaders are pushing for policies that encourage immigration, with former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna going as far as to propose that the capital itself should require immigrants to live in Atlantic Canada.

Current Real Estate Market in Canada

London (UK), which has been a hotspot for foreign capital for a number of years, is now a much riskier bet for investors. Press reports concerning investor withdrawals from the UK real estate market are becoming more common.

The Guardian reports that Standard Life property funds – a £2.9 billion commercial fund – have been closed, potentially the first of many real estate development projects to be frozen due to investor withdrawals.

At the same time, The Globe and Mail forecasts an exciting effect Brexit might have on the Canadian real estate market, citing a $443 billion commercial property capital that hasn’t yet been allocated, a large part of which might flow into Canada rather than London. After all, Canada is perceived as real estate oasis, even in the light of the overheated market in Vancouver.

It seems these global trends reflect the interests of the average person as well as large investor strategies. What does Canada have to offer for UK professionals and families looking to relocate?

Toronto, Ontario

For big-city folks seeking a Canadian alternative, Toronto is a great choice. With bright lights, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, and a very strong economy, life in this dynamic metropolis is no doubt appealing to those accustomed to London or the UK’s larger cities. In terms of real estate, Toronto presents a very hot property market and is a real estate magnet due to its diverse neighbourhoods and employment opportunities. Average house prices increased by 15.7% to $751,000 in 2016, with high demand yet low housing supply driving this steady price increase. However, the cost of living is roughly 40% cheaper than London (UK), which is a huge positive.

Montreal, Ontario

For those who don’t want to let go of European culture, Montreal may be a good match. It’s also the world’s largest French-speaking city, so bilingual Brits can make the most of having a second language. Montreal’s neighbourhoods all have their unique charm, with some that are predominantly English, and others that are more French. Rental costs are also the lowest here than in any other Canadian city, and house prices are lower than the Canadian average. Montreal’s real estate is much more affordable than cities like Vancouver, as the average home price is around $350,000, rising roughly 4.7% compared to the previous year.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Consistently ranked by The Economist as one of the best cities in the world to live in, Vancouver is an incredibly attractive destination. Vancouver’s appeal is reflected in the real estate market, as the average price of a home hit $1 million in 2016, up 16.5% from the previous year. While this does mean a slightly larger investment for buyers, it also means an enormous profit in the long-run. Millions of owners are watching their homes increase in value at a rapid rate, so many people outside of Canada are eager to join the merriment. The housing market accounts for around 20% of Vancouver’s economy and creates a number of jobs in construction, real estate, and other related industries.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

With Scotland also facing leaving the EU, Scots may find Nova Scotia, in particular, an appealing option. With a strong Scottish heritage and Gaelic influences that have played a huge role in defining the province’s culture, it’s not surprising that Scottish is the largest ethnic group (31.9%) in Nova Scotia. Housing prices in Halifax are steady and affordable, averaging at around $294,000. Land is relatively cheap, and there is particularly a high supply of condos.

Calgary, Alberta

As the largest city in Alberta, Calgary is a diverse metropolis with low living costs (and no PST), and a beautiful setting against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The housing market in Calgary housing market has remained fairly unchanged over the last year rising just 2.3%, with average prices hovering around $470,000. Despite the oil price collapse, housing prices are being propped up largely by foreign investors. High unemployment levels have contributed to a decline in home sales, but this does mean a higher inventory and cheaper market for new buyers. Calgary’s market is beginning a see a shift in a positive direction, so this is definitely a city to keep an eye on.

How To Move To Canada From The UK

Interest in hopping across the pond is at an all-time high, and Brits have a number of options in terms of moving to Canada. The IEC Working Holiday Visa is a great choice for those aged 18-35 who are looking to sample Canada’s lifestyle before making the full commitment to permanent residency. Work visas are another option for those with employer sponsorship, and permanent residency can be obtained through the points-based system, family visa, or through the Provincial Nominee System. More information on immigrating to Canada can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Is Brexit actually going to happen? Will „Remain” Brits actually leave and cross the Atlantic? Would Canada welcome them with open arms?

*  Average housing prices stats obtained from The Canadian Real Estate Association’s National Average Maps.

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