The Impact of Covid-19 on the Moving Industry

The COVID-19 health crisis has affected our lives in significant ways, and has disrupted many habits and behaviors, both at the personal and collective level. We wanted to know how did this major event impact Canadians regarding their moves, starting from the establishment of public-health restrictions on March 13, 2020. Has the confinement incited them to move? Or, on the contrary, has the pandemic discouraged them from going about their future moving plans?

We then conducted a study to determine in which ways the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted Canadians’ moves, and to see if the confinement gave them new desires in terms of moving. A total of 1821 persons who have moved in the past year responded to our in-house survey. It represents a considerable sample of the Canadian population that was affected by the sanitary measures in 2020.

people moving

Results of the study

The study reveals that in 2020, 1 out of 10 moves has been caused by Covid-19, and that nearly 1 out of 5 will be in 2021. Actually, 85% of Canadians said having had to precipitate their decision to move because of the health crisis. It is also demonstrated that 50% of the moves that occurred in 2020 were induced by a desire to change the environment where respondents live. Furthermore, the study shows that 67% of Canadians have experienced stress while moving during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Still interested in moving?

Despite the obvious drawbacks associated with the health crisis, the survey analysis confirms that Canadians still show willingness to move. In fact, 22% say that they would like to move in 2021, and half of them plan to do so in the next 6 to 12 months to come. 

Among these moves planned for the year 2021, 20% will have been motivated by Covid-19. The study shows that 33% of Canadians between the ages 18 and 30 feel the desire to move shortly. 

What prompts Canadians to move

Among the most telling revelations of the survey, we learn that 10% of the Canadians who moved in 2020 did it because of the health crisis. What were the other reasons why Canadians moved in 2020?

  • 75% → Personal reasons (new environnement, mariage, important purchase, etc.)
  • 15% →  Professional reasons (professional opportunities, relocation, etc.)
  • 10% →  The Covid-19 pandemic

This way, apart from personal and professional reasons, which are common reasons for most moves, the Covid-19 pandemic becomes a new important factor in moving decisions. 

Going into greater depth, the survey also interrogates the nature of the reasons that are due to the pandemic, hence the 10% category above. We observe the following:

  • 38% →  Reduce rent cost
  • 32% →  Move in with close ones
  • 26% →  Get a larger dwelling
  • 23% →  Leave the city / move to the suburbs
  • 12% →  Optimize working from home conditions

On this matter, Renaud Thibault, owner of RE/MAX D’ICI in the region of Lanaudière (QC), saw the total value of properties sold by his agency grow by 36% in 2020, compared to 22% in 2019. Beyond the increased demand for houses in the suburbs of Montreal (QC), prices have surged up by 20%, compared to a 6% growth in the previous year in Repentigny (QC).

“More transactions in the suburbs, and more expensive.”

According to him, the increase in demand for suburban houses motivates older sellers to sell their residence, in order to benefit from Montreal buyers’ overbidding. According to the businessman, they leave the city in the hope of living in a larger property, better suited to working from home.

“People need more space to breathe, and houses in Lanaudière can provide that.”

At Local Logic, an urbanistic platform that analyses qualitative data on cities, changes also have been observed. The following insights were produced by Local Logic by analyzing Canadian rentals data for the last year:

  • Due to the pandemic, renter lifestyle preferences have started shifting. Interest in rental units close to parks increased by 8% from Q1 2020 to Q4 2020 Canada-wide while public transport witnessed a drop of 24%. It is too early to tell whether these changes will be temporary or not. 
  • Montreal witnessed a significant increase in the supply of rental listings of all sizes in the past year as short term rentals returned to the market, remote work became more popular and less students moved to the city. Smaller units saw a particularly important increase in availability which translated into a consequent price decrease during that period.

A new obstacle in the moving procedures

The health crisis has inflicted new impediments on Canadians’ moving projects. Indeed, we observe the emergence of a new obstacle in the moving process; Covid-19, which becomes one of the main obstacles in 2020. 

According to the respondents, 40% of the moves that were delayed in 2020 were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, while 15% were delayed due to the stress caused by procedural burdens. 

In light of the survey’s responses, we can see that the principal fears associated with moving are 30% due to administrative tasks (paperwork, lease cancellation, etc.), and 30% due to logistics (boxes, furniture to disassemble, etc.). Actually, 76% of Canadians have declared that among the administrative tasks that come with moving, changing addresses comes as the most painful one. 

Seeking assistance from professional movers

As we just saw, a move is an event of great importance, which is why many associate with a stressful and tiring experience. Is that the reason why Canadians seek the help of professional movers for their move?

Our survey allowed us to learn that 4 out of 10 Canadians call upon a professional moving company for their move. The main reasons why people have recourse on professional help are the following:

  • 70% → Move heavy furniture and appliances
  • 57% → Save energy
  • 54% → Reduce stress

67% of Canadians describe moving during the Covid-19 pandemic as a stressful event. 

The assistance from professional movers, however, is not the only resource for Canadians. In fact, 60% of them seek the help of close ones for their move: 68% rely on family members, and 49% on friends.

Conclusion

The survey that we conducted was designed to evaluate the degree of influence that the 2020 confinement had on Canadians’ behavior towards moving. As demonstrated by the results presented above, the survey’s responses allowed us to draw meaningful conclusions regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the moving industry in Canada. Thanks to our sample of 1821 persons, we were able to conclude that 10% of the moves in 2020 were caused by the health crisis, and that 20% will be in 2021. Also, 85% of all moves were precipitated by Covid-19, a pandemic that is now a new obstacle in moving procedures.

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