Why purchase a house in Waterloo?

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

A recent report by MoneySense magazine has declared the Tri-Cities of Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo as one of Canada’s best cities to buy real estate. The region was ranked 13th on the list of 35, surrounded by notable cities like Toronto, Saskatoon and Guelph.

The report focused on fundamental economic and real estate indicators, including average house prices, expected investment return and the unemployment rate.

“Our region, when you look at average sales price and the continued growth, it makes it a very attractive and affordable place to live, especially with all the economic diversity we have in the area,” said Mark Wolle, president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors.

One of the major indicators used to assess the real estate markets was the expected appreciation of homes, which is the amount a real estate asset’s price is likely to increase. The report listed expected appreciation over various time frames, including a one, five and 10 year outlook.

“One of the things we’ve seen over the last few years are increases in the range of around 3.5 per cent per year. For me, when you have moderate and sustainable growth, that lends itself to sustained markets,” said Wolle. “We’ve got a great tech sector, advanced manufacturing, financial services and three great schools. It makes for a wide range of buyers.”

A major trend that contributes to Kitchener-Waterloo’s future real estate investment opportunities is the intensification around the King Street corridor. The region has been working on urban intensification around the city centres of Waterloo and Kitchener and has focused on projects that enhance these areas, like the Grand River Transit expansion and ION light rail transit.

“We just don’t have as much land anymore, so they’re really pushing for developers to build up,” said Wolle. “I would say the trend that we’re seeing is investment along those LRT lines.”

A large contributor to Kitchener-Waterloo’s perceived market value is the overall economic health of the region. This includes quantitative data like unemployment rate and gross domestic product growth, as well as qualitative characteristics like lifestyle and critical infrastructure.

“We’re seeing people come from all over the world for jobs and investment, and there’s a lot of innovation here, but yet you still have a balance of rural and urban development,” said Wolle. “It’s a very unique kind of market, and a great place to live.”

Kitchener-Waterloo is also a unique market because of the amount of students who live here on a temporary basis. As Wolle mentioned, some of the homebuyers that are currently present in the region are former students who have decided to put down roots.

“I would probably consider buying a house in Waterloo in the future,” said Taylor Spencer, a second-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University. “It’s a great place to live and there are lots of opportunities that will probably be available here in the future.”

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