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Heading to Canada for a new life

Soaring snow-capped mountains, azure lakes and forests stretching as far as the eye can see. If you are a fan of incredible scenery and the great outdoors, Canada could be the place for you, says overseas property and finance expert Simon Conn.

Every year, around 13,000 Brits emigrate to Canada for a new life. Indeed, it has been described as the country which offers the best quality of life for Britons abroad.

The country is home to incredible scenery and has one of the strongest economies in the world. Residents enjoy a slower pace of life than we have in Britain and it is home to an unspoilt environment and a range of wildlife.

If you are after a friendly welcome, Canadians are well known for this, and communication will obviously not be an issue as most of the population speak English, although you may not know that nearly a quarter speak French.

Canada has retained a great sense of community which perhaps we do not always feel in Britain these days and ex-pats can expect a high standard of living. Healthcare and education are often top of the list when considering a move abroad and these are both excellent in Canada.

Weather-wise, we are used to the temperatures going up and down with the seasons, but in Canada these extremes are even greater, with guaranteed snow each year. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, the world-class resorts such as Whistler and Calgary are a must.

Nature-lovers will get a buzz out of exploring a plethora of landscapes, including the Rocky Mountains, the Prairie National Wildlife Area and the Great Lakes. There are also national parks and the spectacular Niagara Falls which are worth exploring.

Considering the size of the country, Canada’s population is relatively small, with around 33 million inhabitants. The houses are much larger than the average Brit is used to and you will get a lot more for your money.

Popular cities to move to include Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in the south west – the latter is particularly popular with ex-pats. It has been described as a city unlike any other, with beaches to enjoy in the summertime and ski slopes nearby in the winter. It has a great night life, a range of shops and fabulous attractions.

In the south east, Moncton is a great place to live and work, especially for those on a tight budget as property prices are very reasonable. It has beautiful beaches and is a centre for sports tourism.

The criteria for moving to Canada are less strict than in some countries, although relocating there can take a while – up to three years in some cases as you need to secure an immigration visa.

The house buying process is different to the British system. Canada’s estate agents, called realtors, are more hands on than ours, and are permitted to carry out house viewings at any properties which are on the market with agents. You will also have to meet with a solicitor in Canada before a purchase can be completed.

Prospective lenders will need a letter from your current bank manager, confirming any borrowings and that all accounts have been repaid. You must also confirm the costs associated with your current personal residence, if applicable, and/or cost where employment is located. 

Interest rates start from 3.99 per cent fixed for five years and the maximum loan to value is 65 per cent.

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Details correct when this article was originally posted on November 19, 2014.