Hard-times city becomes hotspot

One housing market that has managed to stay under the radar in recent years is now moving up the priority list for Ontario investors.

“The recession hit Windsor hard, which left many people without jobs or forced to leave the city,” said Tyler Soulliere, investor and founder of TySoull Real Estate Group.

“However, it left a ton of affordable income properties, which allowed me to get in on the action, even more than five years later, without breaking the bank. 

“Average prices of real estate have gone up on average about $10,000 a year for the last five years.”

Indeed, figures released by the Canadian Real Estate Association last week showed that the average price of a home in Windsor is climbing – $193,722 in April 2015 compared to $186,651 in April 2014, which represents a 3. 8 per cent year-over-year increase.

House sales were also up, according to CREA figures, a significant 27 per cent in April 2015 compared to the same month last year.

Darcy White, an investor and owner of Rho-Orion Investments, likes the Windsor market for its positive price-to-earning ratio. “Rents in Windsor are not that far off cities like Toronto and Vancouver, but there is a better ratio because the prices are lower,” he added.

Soulliere typically targets cap rates between eight and 10 per cent, though the properties might not be in the best areas. “These cash-flowing properties provide an extra income, which in some other cities you just can’t achieve, as cap rates are so much lower, and appreciation is what the investment really provides, and that is not realized until you sell.” 

Windsor also has a lot to offer, including: a thriving student rental market around the expanding University of Windsor; a newly improved airport offering direct flights; and dozens of wineries within 30 minutes in Essex County.

“We have kilometres upon kilometres of waterfront with huge homes backing onto them,” added Soulliere. “There are shopping malls and outlet malls, and the 401 is easily accessible, plus a new bridge is being built that will bring more jobs and more people to the city.”

Detroit, a population of nearly 700,000, is just on the other side of that bridge, and the International Detroit Airport is just 20 minute from downtown Windsor.

“A lot of my tenants work or go to school in Michigan,” added White. “They just commute across the border every day.”

Find out more about the Windsor market through CREW's free online investment hotspot tool


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