Business

Royal LePage sees surge of interest in Canadian real estate from Americans

One of Canada's biggest sellers of real estate says it is witnessing a surge of interest from Americans who are considering moving north as a result the U.S. presidential election.

Inquiries about buying homes in Canada have skyrocketed since U.S. election in November, real estate firm says

A flurry of traffic from the U.S. helped crash the website for Citizenship and Immigration Canada on election night, and a new report about real estate inquiries indicates a similar interest among Americans in moving north. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

One of Canada's biggest sellers of real estate says it is witnessing a surge of interest from Americans who are considering moving north as a result of the U.S. presidential election.

In a report released Friday, Royal LePage said visits to its website surged by more than four times the normal daily volume the day after Donald Trump's win on November 8th. That doesn't appear to have been a blip, either, as interest from U.S. buyers during the October-to-December period came in a full 40 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.

"The United States was already a top source for immigration into Canada, and now in the period following the recent U.S. election, we are witnessing a material bump in American interest in Canadian real estate," Royal LePage president Phil Soper said.

"Always a desirable destination for migrants, Canada's attractiveness as a country for international relocation has surged."

November and December are not typically strong months for home sales, but Royal LePage says nearly one in six of the company's realtors said they have "received inquiries from south of the border" since election day.

Canadian immigration website crashed

The real estate firm's findings are in keeping with other data that tells a similar story. The website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada famously crashed on the night of the U.S. election.

The ministry confirmed the next day that website traffic on election day was more than 10 times the usual level, and that more than half the visitors came from the U.S.

Few of the inquiries to Royal LePage's website are likely to have turned into concrete sales already. But it's not hard to see the potential impact for Canada if even a small percentage of those inquiries turn into future Canadian home owners.

"Given America's vast population, even a fractional increase in the number of households following through on this initial interest and successfully completing the demanding process of emigrating to Canada could drive a material increase in the number of home-buyers from south of the border," Soper said. 

Ontario was the most-researched destination, queried by 41 per cent of all Americans who reached out to the company during the period.

British Columbia came next, with 17.9 per cent of all U.S.-based inquiries, followed by Quebec at 13.9 per cent.

No other Canadian province was the target of more than 10 per cent of American inquiries.

"With the high value of the U.S. dollar increasing Americans' purchasing power, we may be seeing more moving trucks with U.S. licence plates in our future," Soper said.

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