Investors Should Look West for Affordable Properties


It’s not late-breaking news to say that the GTA real estate market has overheated. With the shortage of houses for sale overall, and a bevy of hungry buyers, this means there’s a pent-up demand, which leaves investors requiring new strategies to be successful.

A new strategy to get affordable rental property today might mean looking outside the GTA to areas that have previously been overlooked. One such area is Niagara Falls. It’s within a two-hour drive of Toronto, with far lower prices, it’s well known, and it’s already showing signs of resurgence.

In Feb. 2016, the city had a total of 605 sales on MLS, according to the Niagara Falls Real Estate Board. Of these, 555 were residential home sales. The remainders were commercial properties and condos. The average sale price was $280,683 – 12.6% higher than Feb. 2015, when the average price was $245,274.

Compare the Feb. 2016 Niagara Falls figures to some of its neighbors.

St. Catharines - $249,785

Welland - $231,507

Port Colborne - $222,941

All were higher than the previous year’s prices, but still showed lower growth than prices in Niagara Falls.

Of the 555 residential home sales in Feb., the average number of days on the market for these was 54. Although this number is more than for the typical Toronto area home, less than two months has its benefits since it gives all parties time to prepare for a move, with less stress.

Given that Niagara Falls is a built-up city with existing services, it offers benefits for various groups. Tenants will appreciate the lower rental rates. There’s an abundance of elementary schools for young families; high schools and colleges for families with older offspring. There’s no shortage of services for seniors, either.  Low income seniors can apply for water and property tax rebates from the city. And Niagara’s scenic parks and trails are perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors, regardless of their age.

The fact that Niagara draws tourists from around the world adds to the uniqueness of the city with a ‘small-town’ atmosphere. Yet, aside from Toronto, it’s close enough to neighboring cities (including across the U.S. border) in case you ever feel the need for a quick getaway trip.

Smart investors know that real estate investment should be treated as a business. There are many things that go into making a successful business. Knowing the market, and having strategies that serve to make your business profitable is a sound step. The looming growth in the Niagara Falls area is one way to help make your real estate investments more profitable.  

Randy Ramadhin

Randy Ramadhin

CENTURY 21 People's Choice Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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