Urban Exodus: Marketing New Homes as Canada Reopens

Urban Exodus: Marketing New Homes as Canada Reopens

With stay-at-home orders and curfews being implemented across the country, we will be entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic recovery upon re-opening. And this new phase will bring a shift in home buying guidelines that may signal a new urban exodus. 

A home is a visible display of one's vision of their future. The home buyer is making an investment on the life they want. 

And for many home buyers, the life they want to have has changed drastically due to the social and fiscal aftermath from the pandemic.

A survey* of 5,000 recent home buyers found that only 31% were planning to buy pre-pandemic. The other 69% cited a cause related to coronavirus including:

  • low mortgage rates
  • dislike of their current home 
  • need for a larger home

This trend is especially relevant among millennial home buyers who have been freed to work remotely and are reconsidering their choice of living in the city. 

Some want larger homes in the suburbs where they can manage the odd commute to the office. Others are abandoning packed urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver for the suburban halos surrounding cities like Squamish in the West and Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Windsor in the East.

We may be in the opening phases of a new urban exodus.

Our Tips on How to Sell and Market New Homes.

Although many Provinces are reopening, some home buyers remain cautious due to financial insecurity and the health risk of engaging with a sales person. At the very least, handshakes are not as popular as they once were.

A sales person that can calm consumers’ nerves and relieve them of any doubts will sell homes. Sales people that can’t, won’t.  

Here’s how to sell and advertise new homes during the post-pandemic urban exodus.


  1. Review and change your marketing assets to speak to new buyer priorities.

The 69% of home buyers who weren’t shopping before the pandemic want something unique. So give it to them! 

It’s time to examine your marketing presence to connect with buyers on more than just square footage and custom countertops by using methods like digital ads or physical signage.

Speak to the current circumstances and call out new, desirable features like home offices and in home workout areas.

Information kiosks are a great tool of communication if your sales office has reduced hours or you notice customers are hesitant to come inside.

  1. Get the right attention with environmental marketing. 

Environmental exploration is still the primary means of new home search and environmental marketing is the key to adding explorers to your funnel, even in a pandemic. 

Strategic route developments and information design all help your marketing convey your message and filter your audience so more of the right buyers come to the right place. 

Signage systems are the key to convincing hesitant shoppers that your community is the community that was made for them. 


  1. Embrace technological innovation like virtual home tours and AR to close leads. 

While physical marketing like your signage system is the key requirement to getting the right attention, recent Technological advancements can help you move engaged consumers from just attention to a sale. 

From virtual home tours to augmented reality showrooms and online home closing, the new home construction industry is doing what they can to adapt to the pandemic and accommodate any unsure or fearful customers. 

With your signage systems speaking to new buyer priorities and guidelines- and your sales team leveraging the latest technological advancements, you’ll be fully armed to capture the attention of home buyers who didn’t even know they’d be buying a home before the pandemic hit.

* Survey of 5,000 conducted June 5-9 by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

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