FILE - In this June 14, 2006 file photo are U-Haul trucks sit on a dealer lot in Des Moines, Iowa. U-Haul has a New Year's resolution: cut down on hiring people who smoke. The moving company said that it won't hire nicotine users in the 21 states where it is legal to do so, saying that it wants to ensure a "healthier workforce." The new policy will start Feb. 1, 2020. and won't apply to those hired before then. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Do-it-yourself moves popular for Central Albertans in 2021

Plenty of Central Albertans were on the move in 2021.

According to U-Haul’s Growth index, a metric that tracks the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks arriving in a city, or province, versus departing from that city, or province, in a calendar year, Red Deer-Lacombe is eighth in Canada.

People using U-Haul to move to Red Deer-Lacombe in one-way U-Haul trucks nearly doubled, with a 92 per cent increase year over year. Departures rose 69 per cent from 2020 as overall moving traffic spiked significantly.

“Red Deer is quieter and less populated than its surrounding neighbors,” said Razmin Mansoub, U-Haul Company of Southern Alberta president.

“It’s a city rich in Alberta culture and is located away from the big cities, but close enough to still take advantage of everything they have to offer. Red Deer and Lacombe provide that big-city feel without the big-city population. With two major universities – Red Deer Polytechnic and Burman University – and an affordable cost of living, many people are choosing this region as their permanent home.”

In a press release, U-Haul noted that arriving customers accounted for 51.9 per cent of all one-way U-Haul truck traffic in the Red Deer-Lacombe market during 2021, compared to 48.1 per cent departures.

Three Ontario cities, North Bay, Belleville, Greater Sudbury along with Quebec City and Calgary are the top five Canadian growth cities of 2021. Fourteen of the top 25 growth cities are in Ontario. British Columbia claims six cities on the list, Alberta four and Quebec one.

Alberta is also the leading growth province for attracting U-Haul customers in 2021, followed by B.C.