Top 10 Real Estate Markets According to Don R. Campbell, REIN President
Home of Blackberry's Research In Motion and Open Text, Waterloo is the high-tech twin to Kitchener. 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, cautions REIN president, Don Campbell. For that reason, Waterloo is in tenth place, well behind Kitchener.
9. Red Deer
Because of its position between the growth spots of Edmonton and Calgary, it is impossible for Red Deer not to become a great place for real estate investment. The area has seen a lot of growth in the last seven years, becoming a hub of commercial and retail activity for central Alberta. Better transportation has meant job and population growth, drawing people from all over. REIN predicts growing pains, and suggests investors carefully review city plans for opportunities.
8. Simcoe Shores (Barrie & Orillia)
It used to be the gateway to Ontario's cottage country, but Simcoe Shores has developed into an economic force of its own. With the expansion of post-secondary institutions in the area, the job base is growing, and so too is the need for student housing. There is also a strong new housing market and demand for condominiums as the population ages and downsizes. That means a wealth of opportunity for investors.
7. St. Albert
You might not have heard of St. Albert, Alta., the little area in the northwest corner of Edmonton, but it offers great investment potential. The suburban city is enjoying the spin-off of Edmonton's current economic boom, which will only get better once the city's Ring Road is completed. It will translate into better airport access, more jobs, more commercial and residential growth, and a flourishing economy for a town that has a generally well-educated population. The town has also developed a major retail centre for the northern region, and will continue to draw new companies.
6. Kitchener & Cambridge
The high-tech industry in Kitchener means jobs, which mean residents, which mean growth. Major companies like Google and Christie Digital have been the catalyst for other high-tech companies. As a result, there is a $35 million redevelopment of old downtown commercial property underway, with Facebook rumoured to be one of the tenants. The charm of heritage housing just adds to the appeal of a region that is ideally situated because of key transit links that include the GO train, Highway 401 and easy access to the airport. There is also a progressive economic development team in the region that helps to foster growth.
5. Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows
For a place whose development was stalled by a lack of connecting highways and bridges, the pastoral suburb sure has transformed itself. Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows has secured the No. 2 position on REIN's top 10 regions of B.C., and that's for the next five years. Companies and residents are moving into the region because of infrastructure that includes the Golden Ears Bridge and Pitt River Bridge, and the upcoming Port Mann Bridge. The ease of access to downtown and affordable housing is a major plus for commuters. There's also a major new mall, an indicator of growth. 'For a district of that size, I've never dealt with a more professional group,' says REIN's Don Campbell. 'That means they are working hard to bring companies in. The Port Mann Bridge is set to open in 2013, meaning the region will continue to have strong investment potential.
British Columbians are well aware that Surrey is a success story. The second largest city in B.C. has totally transformed its image from mere suburb to one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. In the next few years, it's forecast that Surrey will overtake Vancouver as the largest city in the province. It is an excellent investment region because of two border crossings to the U.S., infrastructure that includes links to five major highways, four railways, sea docks, a population boom and a strong rental market. As well, under the helm of mayor Dianne Watts, the city has dedicated itself to reducing crime and improving its overall image. The REIN report advises that investors look at neighbourhoods on a micro level, even looking at a street's characteristics before deciding to buy.
This former steel town is now the No. 1 investment town in Ontario, according to REIN. The town is enjoying a bit of a renaissance thanks to forward-thinking government and an economic development team, as well as expansion by way of a major industrial park and at McMaster University, not to mention industrial, commercial, residential and recreational developments throughout the city.
Edmonton scores points for having a 'perennial over-achieving market,' as well as neighbourhoods that are affordable, central to jobs, and easily accessible by transit. Job growth is on the way, which will draw more migrants to the city, says REIN president Don Campbell. 'We will begin to witness market norms and balance being achieved in the coming years, without the frenzy of the last boom, or the fear of the last downturn.' Edmontonians will be pleased that the forecast is for the city to be at the top of the country's list, in terms of economy, resale housing and rental stock. As well, infrastructure improvements, including a light rapid transit line, mean positive investor potential.
In the aftermath of its real estate boom, Calgary has now entered a stable and more realistic correction phase. The Real Estate Investment Network sees the provincial economy about to enjoy another growth spurt, which means, coupled with this phase of affordability, Calgary is an ideal city for investment right now. And when the growth spurt does happen, it won't be the crazy unstable boom of that recent real estate peak. It needed a correction, and it got it, which is a good thing for Calgary