The Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) recently released a list of the top ten places in Canada to buy investment property. Waterloo placed 10th while Kitchener ranked 6th. Waterloo in previous surveys had ranked near the top of the list. What happened?
Don Campbell, president of REIN, had this to say about Waterloo: "It naturally attracts new immigrants and students to an area that is already a draw because of its post-secondary institutions. However, a proposed rental licensing system and tighter restrictions(which would result in higher costs for some landlords) could limit investment potential."
Amid considerable opposition, the City of Waterloo, as of April 1, 2012, is regulating residential rental units through bylaw 2011-047. The bylaw totals 29 pages. There are licensing fees as well as renewal fees. The City claims the program will be "revenue neutral".
So what is attractive about Kitchener? Campbell cites the growth of the high tech industry with Google and Christie Digital chief among them. He says they've served as a catalyst to attract other high tech companies and there's even speculation Facebook will soon have a downtown Kitchener presence. Other factors he deems attractive are the charm of the housing, the transit and transportation system and progressive economic development at the regional level.
I think the message is clear. Investors like free enterprise. The City of Waterloo's new rental regulations will hamper investment. We're seeing a flight of capital to downtown Kitchener where the city government is actively encouraging investment. That is how Kitchener has overtaken Waterloo as a better place to invest.
Century 21 Home Realty Inc. Brokerage
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