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House hunters grappling with soaring real estate prices have another pain point to contend with: the cost to move their stuff to their new digs is skyrocketing.

During the last half of 2021, the rates charged by local and long-haul trucking companies for moving used household and office goods jumped as labour shortages and supply-chain disruptions upended the trucking industry.

The spike comes as more people are on the move than in decades. Last year, for instance, 356,000 people moved to another province, the highest number since the early 1980s and a 20-per-cent jump from prepandemic levels, an analysis of Statistics Canada’s latest demographic figures shows.

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At the same time, the sector is struggling with a dire shortage of drivers, with a record-high 22,900 job openings for truckers, according to the latest report from Trucking HR Canada, a trade group.

Rising oil prices are also making it far more expensive for trucking companies to run their fleets, a cost they are passing on to consumers. The data from Statistics Canada on freight rates predate the latest surge in gasoline prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, suggesting it’s only gotten more expensive to move house since then.

The jump in moving-company rates is a sign of how soaring inflation is no longer as limited to goods as it was in the early stage of the recovery, and is spilling further into the service sector. In other words, it’s not only costing more to buy stuff, but to take it with you when you move.

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