Almost one-in-three Ontarians who’ve bought a home during the pandemic said they purchased a property in a place they wouldn’t have considered before COVID-19, according to a new survey released by real estate website Zoocasa.

Out of those buyers, 70 per cent said the home was further away than what they previously were looking for, while 53 per cent said the property was in a location that was in smaller population than what they would’ve preferred before the pandemic.

The survey, which was released Thursday, highlights how the rise in remote working triggered by the pandemic is changing homebuyer preferences, as Canadians living nearby major metropolitan cities continue to flock to the suburbs in record numbers.

Fifty-three per cent of buyers polled said the price of the home was the main reason behind their purchase, while seventy-three per cent said they intend to keep their property even after the impact of COVID-19 subsides.

Out of respondents still looking to buy, however, half said their plans to purchase a home have been set back due to the pandemic. Seventy-eight per cent of people polled said they believe COVID-19 has caused prices in suburban areas and smaller towns to rise at an unsustainable rate.

Eighty-two per cent of aspiring buyers said low interest rates have played a role in increasing home prices.

Zoocasa’s findings are based on an online survey conducted on February and which polled 2,307 Ontarians.