Canada is a prevalent choice when it comes to starting a life somewhere new. Not many countries have a socially progressive government, free secondary education, and healthcare, which are excellent factors to consider whether you’re moving alone or with family. With that in mind, it’s no wonder over 20% of the Canadian population are expats. Living in the Great White North provides fantastic job opportunities, affordable housing, and quality of life. It’s easy to understand why many expats become residents. However, getting around in a new country can be tricky, especially if you’re in the middle of a rent or buy dilemma. To help you on your mission, we have created a house hunting guide for expats in Canada.
What attracts expats to Canada?
When it comes to combining all life quality factors, Canada takes first place in North America and perhaps even the whole world. Wherever you look, you’re surrounded by breathtaking scenery, charming towns, and thriving cities. Canada also has one of the world’s strongest economies which offer possibilities in diverse job industries. Besides that, it provides plenty of other important factors for sustainability, like the low unemployment rate, safety, and healthy living. The cost of living and abundant housing options are why many people decide to move here. Still, becoming a homeowner in another country is not an easy process, which is why this house hunting guide for expats in Canada can help.
Prices of homes in Canada
Lately, Canada has been facing increased demand for housing due to its popularity amongst non-residents. The prices of homes have increased over 20% since last year, and they’re not stopping. So, if you’ve ever thought about investing in property here, now might be the right time. The global pandemic has influenced buyers to shift from urban centers to smaller towns and suburbs. However, some suburbs have managed to keep reasonable home prices, even with their rising popularity. When looking for the most affordable neighborhoods in different regions, you might start your search with:
- Thunder Bay, Ontario, $258,738
- Saguenay, Quebec, $206,242
- Regina, Saskatchewan, $273,885
- Saint John, New Brunswick, $199,853
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, $320,814
Popular expat destinations in Canada
Most people come to Canada searching for better living conditions. Therefore, it’s no wonder many of them live in Quebec, Ontario, Toronto, Alberta, and Saskatchewan – the most diverse areas in the North of America. Each of these cities offers exceptional opportunities that make them quite popular destinations for expats. For example, Ottawa has the highest educated workforce and service industry in the country, while Alberta has no provincial sales taxes and low gasoline and property taxes. Still, expats whose interests lay in entrepreneurship flock to Toronto. According to local experts from Movers Toronto, many of their clients moved there to start a business in one of the city’s many Fintech hubs.
However, Saskatchewan has the biggest community of expats from Germany, Spain, Ukraine, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines who look for jobs in the natural gas, farm, and agriculture sectors.
Restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land
If you want to purchase property in Canada, bear in mind that some areas have additional taxes for non-resident buyers. This law is meant to discourage speculation pushing up property prices. Therefore, it’s imperative to do a background property tax check in the area in which you’re interested. Other than that, there are no restrictions regarding foreigners buying property in Canada. Still, when it comes to buying recreational or agricultural land overseas, there is a limit in the number of acres foreign investors can buy. This law is not the same in all Canadian counties. Places like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, have land limitations for expats and non-residents. However, Ontario, British Colombia, and Quebec have no special laws, except some additional paperwork.
Relocation to your new home
After finding the perfect house in Canada, comes the equally stressful challenge of planning the relocation abroad. The moving process requires weeks of preparation and a great deal of research to make it safe and affordable. Finding a reliable moving company is essential for any long-distance relocation. However, we often don’t have the precious time to take it slow, especially if we have to organize a last-minute move. If you hire reliable movers, relocation can be organized in no time. With expert service, there is a solution to everything.
Buying a home as a non-resident
Canada welcomes every citizen of the world when it comes to owning property in the country. However, there are always procedures, and paperwork expats need tof go through before becoming homeowners. As of 2017, a 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax needs to be paid by non-citizen and expat homeowners. If you provide a minimum of 35% of the down payment on the house, you are eligible for a mortgage. Therefore, if you meet the mortgage criteria, you will have the same interest rates as Canadian citizens. Before you decide on a property, make sure to execute detailed market research. As mentioned before, prices may vary even within the same region.
Explore your options before you become a homeowner
Every good house hunting guide for expats in Canada can offer details on the process of becoming a homeowner. But, if you’re having doubts about investing in real estate right away, you might want to consider finding a rental. This way, you can try it out a bit, especially if you haven’t had the chance to live in Canada before. You will be able to experience all the great things the country offers and have a better look at the locations and housing opportunities.