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More Canadians are moving to the U.S. Here's one of the main reasons, according to an immigration expert

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Recent data from the U.S. census revealed that more than 126,000 people moved from Canada to the U.S. in 2022—a 70 per cent increase from the previous year.

Of the 126,000 people who moved to the U.S. in 2022, 53,000 were born in Canada, 46,000 were Americans returning home, and 30,000 had immigrated to Canada from outside North America and chose to leave.

The data marks a growing trend of Canadians settling south of the border, and according to immigration lawyer Len Saunders, the main reason is the cost of living.

“It is so much cheaper to buy a house, not in the big towns like Los Angeles, California, San Francisco, New York, but (in) 'Small Town U.S.A.,'” Saunders said in an interview on CTV's Your Morning Monday.

The lawyer said a lot of people are moving to border towns. Saunders, who resides in Washington state and says it takes him 45 minutes to commute to Vancouver, B.C., said his home is worth half a million dollars.

“That same house, five miles north of here in the Vancouver area, is $2 to 3 million,” Saunders said.

Housing affordability is an attractive point for young people, Saunders said, and one of the main reasons why this demographic is looking to move south.

“Young people realize they can’t get into the (Canadian) housing market. Or if they are able to, they’re buying a condo, whereas in the U.S. they can buy a beautiful house.”

Another demographic looking to take the move is older people, Saunders said, noting some overlap in the reasons why this age group is looking to move south.

“They’re cashing out. They're taking their equity in their house and they’re using that equity to buy clear titles so that they have no mortgage and using some of that for their retirement income.”

While many note cheaper cost of living in the U.S., there is still one barrier for many that keeps them in Canada: health care.

The immigration lawyer said the majority of his current caseload involves helping Canadians married to Americans move to the U.S., and noted access is a topic that comes up often. For those with an American partner, access to health care involves tapping into their spouses’ medical care.

Yet for older Canadian couples, access to medical care can be expensive, and sometimes cost-prohibitive, Saunders said.

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