Canada's Condominium Magazine
Before Donald Trump won the November election, a lot of Americans, mostly celebrities, said that they would leave the US if he did win. Many were clearly not serious. Cher said she would go to Jupiter. Jon Stewart also mentioned moving to another planet. Then, on the night of the election as the reality sank in, the Canadian government’s citizen and immigration website crashed, overwhelmed by the unprecedented volume of enquiries from Americans. And the day after the election, realtor Royal LePage said its web traffic surged by 329 per cent as Americans explored real estate possibilities in Canada.
Traffic remained exceptionally high for the week after the election, coming in at 210 per cent higher than the same week one year earlier. Though the traffic did begin to calm down as time passed, it remained 40 per cent higher in the fourth quarter than in the same period a year ago. Three-quarters of all enquiries, said Royal LePage, were about residential properties. These numbers are from a survey of more than 1,200 Royal LePage realtors taken earlier this month.
Does this mean you should expect your new next-door neighbours to be expat Americans? It could be. But that would be nothing new. In fact, Toronto reportedly already has the third-largest population of expat Americans in the world, after Vancouver and Tel Aviv. According to one source, there are more US eligible voters living in Toronto than in Albany, New York, the state capital. Canada-wide, there are 660,935 eligible US voters, more than anywhere else in the world.
As Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage, said in a statement released today, we are next door neighbours with a long history of mutual admiration and cross-border contact. Americans have traditionally looked to Canada for recreational properties. Even the great Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America’s only four-term president, had a summer place in Canada.
Now, with Canada’s growing reputation “as a financially sound, happy and culturally tolerant place to raise a family,” Americans could begin to see Canada as a place to live and work, not just a place to play. The greatest interest in Canadian real estate was focused on Ontario, with 41.4 per cent of all enquiries. If even a small fraction of those expressing an interest in moving to Canada were to do so, there would be a “material increase” in the number of home-buyers from south of the border, Soper said. With the favourable exchange rate working for them, Americans have one more reason to think seriously about moving.
Of course moving to a foreign country isn’t without difficulties. Americans considering Canada are warned that they might have to pay taxes in both countries. While many things cost less in Canada, some, like housing in some cities and gasoline, cost more. Then there is the language question. Americans don’t have a word for “toque,” which they call “a knit cap.” They also don’t know that a “mickey” is a 375 ml bottle of liquor, or that a butter tart is a divine creation. Assuming that they can get past those stumbling blocks, they will find, according to expat website Expat Info Desk, that the city, and the country in general, is diverse, progressive, prosperous, welcoming of immigrants, and friendly. Living in Canada, it says, can be a “life-changing experience.” Which is, presumably, exactly what the Trump refugees are looking for.