Factors to consider before fleeing to the suburbs - The Canadian
Tuesday, December 1

Factors to consider before fleeing to the suburbs

Does the pandemic push you to want to leave the city to buy a house in the suburbs or in the region? Watch out for head shots.

Several city dwellers have recently made the choice to settle in a region where there are fewer souls per square foot. The need for space, “peace”, the fed up with confinement: these are the reasons that push people to desert the city for the suburbs, or even the countryside.

This might sound like a good idea, but beware: it could be a huge upheaval when it comes to your personal finances.

Here’s what to consider:


Are you about to pay too much?

Outside of town, houses are less expensive, but the market is to the advantage of sellers. In many regions, the inventory of homes for sale is low, demand is high and prices have increased significantly in recent months. It is not uncommon to see cases of overbidding.

For example, the median price of homes sold in Laval in September was $ 430,000 (according to APCIQ data), which is a 23% increase over last year. On the North Shore and the South Shore, you have to pay $ 365,000 and $ 429,950, or 28% and 20% more than twelve months ago.

On the Island of Montreal, the median price remains higher than in the suburbs ($ 630,000), but prices have increased “only” by 18% in recent months.


If you are telecommuting, make sure your employer wants to continue this practice when the pandemic is over.

If you can’t telecommute and live in a small apartment in town, ask yourself the following question, “Would I rather be stuck in traffic or be stuck at home?” “

Remember to compare transport costs. Payments for a car can be like a mortgage over $ 100,000 if you consider all of the associated costs.


A house with land will cost more to maintain than an apartment in the city. And unless you pay to entrust certain tasks to experts, you will have to spend your time mowing the lawn, removing snow from the driveway, cleaning the gutters, etc.


Financially, not all cities are created equal. First, the tax rate varies from city to city. Also, home values ​​do not necessarily increase at the same rate from city to city.

For example, suppose you have a budget of $ 300,000. If house prices rise 3% per year in City A and 5% in City B, the price differential will be $ 35,000 in just five years.

♦ Ghislain Larochelle is a professional registered with the Order of Engineers of Quebec and with the OACIQ.


  • Make a budget and revise it at least once a year. Set limits for yourself: your maximum purchase price, travel time, etc.
  • Don’t forget to calculate the starting costs: inspection, notary, moving, new furniture, transfer taxes and renovations. In short, you need to provide a small cushion of about 3% to 5% of the purchase cost.
  • In the end, there is a good chance that the cost of living in the suburbs will be similar to that of living in the city if you go for a large house. So it is better to make a choice according to your needs.


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