Urban exodus: 4 fashionable places in Quebec

4 minute read

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that teleworking is a real possibility for a large majority of the population. What’s more, employers are beginning to understand that they can potentially save money by allowing their employees to work from home. This means that the comfort of our home has never been more important.

Clearly, many people have realized this and have reconsidered their location in recent months. The confinement has made a strong stratum of the population think and act.

According to data collected by Centris, August was a busy month in the real estate market, with a 47% increase in transactions in 2020, for a total of 10,274 transactions.

Although property sales have also increased in the cities, some regions are experiencing a real boom… and this has been going on since before the pandemic.

One of the trends that can be noticed is the willingness of young adults and young families to get closer to nature.


It’s no secret that the Laurentians are definitely popular… especially among Montrealers in search of greenery and fresh air. Highway 15 is full to bursting every Friday night heading North and even worse on Sundays heading South. In fact, let’s be honest, Highway 15 is always full. A nightmare.

But many city dwellers have decided to stop visiting on weekends and move there full time.

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Since mid-May, when we came out of lockdown, this administrative region has been breaking records in terms of property sales, as an article published in the Journal le Nord explains very well.

In June, a 51% increase in sales was observed by Centris. In July, a 96% increase was recorded and the trend continued in August. Demand is so strong that supply is no longer sufficient. As a result, real estate projects are abounding in the region.

From the Rivière-du-Nord MRC (Saint-Jérôme) to the MRC Les Laurentides, passing through the MRC Les Pays-d’en-Haut, new buyers have been turning up in great numbers since the price of houses is still much more reasonable than on the outskirts of Montreal or in the Eastern Townships. St-Adolphe-d’Howard, Saint-Sauveur, Piedmont, Ste-Agathe, Morin-Heights, Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs Sainte-Adèle and St-Donat were the most popular places for new owners.

But Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts is clearly a growing city since the beginning of 2020. During the first quarter of the year, a 52% increase in real estate sales was observed there compared to the previous year.

Why this region more than the others?

First of all, snowsports enthusiasts are extremely spoiled here. Monts Saint-Sauveur, Olympia, Avalanche, Gabriel, Habitant, Chantecler and Mont-Tremblant are the most popular… but half a dozen other mountains nearby are also open to young families and beginners.

Aquatic activities are also numerous in the Laurentians. More than 850 km2 are occupied by lakes and 8 rivers flow in all directions. Whether it is for fishing, water sports or relaxing by the water’s edge, the inhabitants of this region are spoilt for choice.


Real estate activity also experienced an impressive boom in Montérégie, particularly in the municipalities of Granby and Bromont.

In August, the Association professionnelle des courtiers immobiliers du Québec (APCIQ) reported a 182% increase in real estate transactions in Bromont compared to 2019, while an 81% increase was observed in Granby.

On the border of the Eastern Townships, Bromont is one of Quebec’s most popular destinations for skiers and snowboarders. But Bromont Mountain is also very popular among mountain bike enthusiasts. 

Granby is a little closer to Montreal, but is also very centralized in relation to many of Quebecers’ favourite places. In less than an hour’s drive, Granby residents can visit Magog, Sutton, Orford… and Montreal. A perfect focal point for city and outdoor enthusiasts.

Chaudière-Appalaches (South shore of Quebec City)

The phenomenon of urban exodus is also very visible in the Quebec City area. Both to the south and north of the city, real estate transactions have experienced substantial growth since the beginning of 2020.

In Beauce, the municipalities of Sainte-Marie and Saint-Georges have seen many real estate projects emerge due to strong residential demand. In general, the Chaudière-Appalaches region has been a popular destination for new buyers, so the price of building permits increased by 26% from January to June.

The Massif du Sud is certainly one of the motivating elements for newcomers. Anyone who has ever set foot there knows that the quality of the snow is unparalleled in this mountain. Powdery snow is a common element in this bump of over 900 meters.

Less than an hour from the bridges, the small municipalities surrounding the Massif du Sud have experienced this real estate boom and the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Portneuf and the surrounding area

To the east of Quebec City, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures is currently experiencing very strong growth. One of the main reasons? The construction of a building of 240 condos built for the coquette sum of 70M$.

The City is also preparing to build a new community and sports center that will open in the spring of 2021.

Not only is Saint-Augustin close to Québec City, it is the last municipality before entering the Portneuf RCM. The Vallée Bras-du-Nord attracted tons of outdoor enthusiasts this summer and obviously, some of them fell under the spell for good.

In Saint-Raymond, the APCHQ noted a 39% increase in housing starts.

Once again, it’s a destination close to a mountain that seems to attract new owners like magnets.

Copyright : Tribu

If the 4 regions mentioned above have indeed seen considerable real estate activity following the pandemic, many other parts of Québec could also have been mentioned. The Eastern Townships is a fashionable destination, just like the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord and Lanaudière.

But in the end, the common point of all these destinations remains the same: proximity to water or mountains. In fact, if you missed our portrait of those couples who chose to exile themselves far from the city, click here. If you don’t want to miss out on any trends in the world of outdoor and sports, subscribe to our newsletter right now.