SW Ontario Retail Market Report
Metro’s More Suburban Nature Benefits Retail
Sector Amid Historic Population Growth
Record population growth aids retail activity. In 2022, Southwestern Ontario’s annual population growth hit a 20-year high, sitting just under 3.0 per cent. This was a result of the region welcoming 30,000 new permanent residents, which was nearly triple the pre-pandemic level. Southwestern Ontario also attracted a record number of temporary residents, due to the metro’s large university presence and the return of in-person learning. Consequently, the retail vacancy rate fell 30 basis points to 1.3 per cent. The ongoing shift toward hybrid work, along with the relatively lower cost of living, will likely further support elevated levels of intra-provincial migration. Also, with Canada’s immigration target of roughly 1.5 million new residents by 2025, the market’s consumer base will continue to grow, supporting retail leasing and investment activity.