Oshawa, Ont., one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, according to Statistics Canada

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Oshawa is continuing to see an influx of new residents, according to the latest statistics from Statistics Canada.

Over the past year, the city’s area population grew more than 2 per cent, gaining nearly 10,000 more residents. Experts say much of that has to do with the exodus from Toronto as people search for bigger homes outside the city.

And according to the city’s mayor, Dan Carter, that exodus has been expected for some time.

“I think our day has come and I think we’ve been building towards this for some time,” Carter said.

“We’re affordable, we’re a safe city. We have great amenities here. We’ve got unbelievable post-education.”

The Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), comprised of Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington, has seen a population boost of 2.1 per cent — from roughly 414,000 to 423,000 in just one year, and all against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers show that not only has the area seen a boost, it’s one of the fastest-growing CMAs in Canada. The increase outpaces the national average of just 1.3 per cent.

The jump doesn’t seem to be a surprise for some people in the region.

“They’re seeing that they want to have a different experience in their life,” says Mayor Carter of the city’s new residents. “They want to have more space, they want to be outside and enjoy the greenspace.”

Michael Watson, president of the Durham Region Association of Realtors, says the organization has seen a steady rise over the past several years.

“Durham Region is one of the fastest-growing regions, and this is something we’ve seen over the past several years,” says Watson.

In data collected by the association, 733 residential transactions were logged in the month of December alone. They say that represents a nearly 50-per cent increase from the previous year.

In Oshawa there were 184 transactions, Whitby had 109 and Clarington saw 96. Watson says the statistics show people are coming to the region.

“The’re looking for more space, bigger homes and a place to raise their families,” says Watson. “They’re looking further east and Durham is the perfect place to be.”