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Thursday, 03 July 2014 04:19

Whitecourt, Alberta

Written by Vernon

With a zero per cent vacancy rate, it is clear that something is abuzz in Whitecourt. Its local economy thrives on the back of its oil and gas production, with three forestry-related mills also a major source for employment within the district.

The town’s population has been growing steadily over the years as more migrant workers choose to settle permanently in the community. Its central location in Alberta and proximity to urban cities such as Edmonton are vital for residents and investors.

Whitecourt offers a positive business environment – there is no Provincial Sales Tax, low municipal tax (amongst the lowest in the province), low utility costs, modern infrastructure and an abundance of natural resources. This young and vibrant community is continually expanding with the majority of its population between the ages of 25 and 44 years old, and an average family income of over $99,000.

With the average home selling for $391,460, the cost of market entry in Whitecourt remains an obstacle for many first-time buyers. As such, they remain in rental properties to save up for deposits, says Janet Kuehn, associate with RE/MAX Advantage Whitecourt.

“A lot of local people are also investing in the area, which indicates the level of confidence that they have for its long-term potential,” she adds.
Kuehn states that given the small area size, almost all of the high-density residential areas are a good investment choice. “It all depends on how much you are willing to invest, be that $200,000 to $450,000.”

Single-family homes dominate the property inventory in Whitecourt, with demand ‘exceptionally high’ for this type, explains Kuehn.
“When single-family homes come onto the market they tend to go quickly, so investors need to jump on the opportunities when they arise,” she advises.

Townhouses with three to four units are an alternative for investors, says Kuehn, especially for migrant workers.

Monday, 26 May 2014 14:36

Chomedy Northwest, Laval

Written by Jamie Henry

Located north of the island of Montreal, the city of Laval has experienced rapid population growth in recent years, a trend that investors are keen to tap into.

Despite being an island city itself, there is an abundance of undeveloped land in Laval. Most of this land is being converted into new residential developments to keep pace with that burgeoning population.

Laval is divided into a number of subdivisions, Chomedy being one. Situated near the centre of the island, Chomedy’s prices and population have climbed since 2012, particularly in its northwest corridor. There, the average price has increased by 3.53 per cent to $315,750, according to Brookfield RPS market data.

Chomedy Northwest provides residents with easy access to a number of key services and amenities. RE/MAX 2000 agent Anto Hindoyan notes that they include two major highways, several shopping malls, and a reliable local transit system. The bus network, in addition to several bridges, provides direct links to Montreal, the employment centre for Laval residents.

The relative tranquility of the neighbourhood also makes it both an ideal place to live and invest in. “The only people who drive into it are people who live there,” Hindoyan says. “In general, it’s a very calm residential (enclave).”

Investors looking to capitalize on the demand in Chomedy Northwest will find it rife with opportunities. Hindoyan believes the best profits can be made with a certain type of property.

“In this area, cottage-style single-family homes would be the best buy,” he says. “These (properties) were built between 1985 and 1990 and are generally well-maintained. They can be rented out for up to $1,200 per month.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:41

Dundas, Hamilton

Written by Vernon

Located northwest of downtown Hamilton, the town of Dundas is nicknamed “Valley Town” due to its location at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment.

That it is surrounded by the Bruce Trail with easy access to several waterfalls including Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls only adds to its growing appeal. It is a historical town with a population that has remained stable for decades, mainly because land, which is part of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area is protected. But change is coming.

Dundas’s population has experienced nearly 8 per cent growth over the last five years, and its average home prices are also trending upward. The average property price in Dundas is $403,360, marking a 4.11 per cent year over year increase.

Dundas’s property market has remained relatively stable over the years – a factor which may attract investors. Conrad Zurini, a broker with Record of RE/MAX Escarpment Realty believes that the time for investors to enter this sub-market is now.

“There is less than 3 per cent of land left to develop in Dundas,” Zurini reveals. “It’s a pretty mature city with one of the most thriving downtowns of all the neighbouring communities that make up Hamilton.”

Zurini notes that Dundas has inventory available for investors at all experience levels, ranging from mid-range residential properties to higher-end homes. For residents, there are direct links to downtown Hamilton via various public transit routes and major arteries.

Dundas is also located near McMaster University and houses many student tenants. Zurini advises investors to purchase single-family homes, if they are interested in tapping into the student-housing market. These properties have strong revenue potential.

“Because of its proximity to the university, I think [investors] should probably look at mid-range, single-detached homes that can be rented out to people who will only be there for a year or two,” says Zurini. “On average, you can rent these [properties] out for close to $3,000 per month.”

The high-rent expectations in this neighbourhood can easily generate up to $1,573 in monthly cash flow for landlords.

Sunday, 27 April 2014 23:34

Time to think of Terrace?

Written by Grainne Burns
Terrace may be a quaint city on B.C.’s Skeena River, but it is a regional and retail hub for the northwestern portion of its province.

The region is undergoing major economic transformation with billion-dollar investments in forestry, mining, smelting, hydroelectricity, liquefied natural gas, as well as infrastructure projects in the Kitimat-Terrace industrial corridor.

With increasing activity increasingly descending on the region, Westjet recently commenced a twice-daily flights from Terrace to Vancouver at the end of November. Direct access to tidewater has established the region as a vital freight and commodities corridor for the Pacific Rim while its location at the junction of three major roadways is also pivotal to the region.

With so much industry and infrastructure investment, Terrace is naturally expecting a significant inflow of skilled and highly paid workers to the region, adding to the area’s population of just under 20,000. Local investors are already tapping into this market with house prices rising, on average, by 16 per cent in the last 18 months.

“There has been a definite spike in sales in the last year,” says John Evans, an agent with RE/MAX Coast Mountains. “There is almost a zero vacancy rate here, so savvy investors are coming in now. A lot of construction work has already started so there is a demand for rental properties.”

The average price of a single-family home is $294,067, according to the latest statistics for the first three months from the Northern B.C. Real estate Board (NBCBEB).

In the first quarter of 2014, 101 properties were sold overall in Terrace, up from 60 last year. This year, the total value of these properties was $23 million – double the $11.5 million total for the first quarter of 2013. As of March 31, there were 121 properties of all types available for sale in the Terrace area over the MLS system, down from 184 on March 31, 2013.

While demand for housing is increasing monthly, says Evans, prices remain affordable for investors. “To date, house prices have remained relatively stable, but rents have actually increased by about five per cent,” he says. “With so little housing stock on the market, we are expecting this rate to continue at this pace.”

Mobile homes are a popular residential choice in Terrace, with prices starting at the $20,000 mark. “These are suitable for the smaller or first-time investor. Rents are less for this type of property but considering the amount of workers expected to come to the area in the future, investor can earn a healthy cash flow quickly.” Two-unit single-family homes yield better returns, says Evans. “Houses that are near the access routes and in ‘move-in’ condition will rent quickly, especially for those who are primarily coming here to work on a short-term basis.”

Thursday, 10 April 2014 18:21

East Central Saskatoon

Written by Grainne Burns
To say that Saskatoon has seen abundant growth over the last few years would be no understatement. Home to several burgeoning industries, including potash, oil and agriculture, the creation of new jobs in these sectors has had a strong effect on the city’s real estate market.

Market data from RE/MAX Saskatoon shows that the average price for a home has increased by 10.8 per cent since 2012, jumping from $398,000 to $438,000. The population has increased by just over 3 per cent, and is expected to continue its upward trend over time.

East Central Saskatoon often generates interest from student renters, given its proximity to the University of Saskatchewan. With many investors attracted to student rentals, this neighbourhood could potentially be a perfect match for them.

“This area is centered around the university,” explains Leslie Gallagher, an agent with RE/MAX Saskatoon. “It’s very attractive to students. We have students purchasing properties, which is cheaper than renting over several years.”

Aside from its proximity to the university, East Central Saskatoon is also a short distance away from the city’s downtown core, as well as various amenities and services.

The vacancy rate in the area is around 0.5 per cent, with the average rent for a house now at $2,000.

“Prices have been going up at a steady, gradual pace year-after-year for the foreseeable future,” she says.

Student rentals are the best buys in East Central Saskatoon. Specifically, a single-family home that can be rented out to one or more student tenants can generate some decent returns for investors.

“A house on a 50-foot-wide lot with a rental suite in the basement is a good example,” says Gallagher. “This is what you need if you ever want to split the title.”

Thursday, 27 March 2014 18:30

Bedford West, HRM

Written by Vernon

Located just north of the Halifax metropolitan area, Bedford is a small but vibrant community. Many of its residents commute to downtown Halifax each day for work or school, and direct links are provided via Highway 102 and Halifax’s transit system.

According to data from Brookfield RPS, the town’s average price for a house is $328,670, a 5.56 per cent year-over-year increase. Bedford’s population has also increased by nearly 12 per cent over the last decade.
Bedford may be a smaller district, but it has a lot to offer its residents.

“It’s definitely a growing community,” says Matt Honsberger, an agent with Royal LePage Atlantic. “It’s one of the areas within the greater HRM that has grown the quickest.”
Proof of this growth, says Honsberger, can be found in the high concentration of new developments in the area. A new high school is being built, as are a number of new houses and commercial properties.

Bedford will soon be home to a number of new residential builds, and Honsberger indicates that newly-built, single-family homes offer the best investment opportunity.  “The new constructions in Bedford West are particularly attractive,” Honsberger says. “There’s a condo development going up there, along with a few row houses, but for the most part, single-family homes are the best buy.”
Owning one of these new homes can prove to be very profitable for investors, as they command higher rents. On average, Honsberger says they can be rented out for up to $2,000 per month.

**Bedford West was listed as in the 2013 Top 100 Neighbourhoods listing by Canadian Real Estate Wealth. Subscribe here today.

Friday, 21 March 2014 05:01

Brossard South, Montreal

Written by Grainne Burns

A mid-sized city located on the south shore of Montreal, Brossard is gaining notoriety as both a great place to live and invest. It is also the home of Quartier DIX30, Canada’s first lifestyle centre, which features shopping, restaurants, entertainment and much more.

Prospective buyers are quickly taking note of the gains in Brossard, especially in the city’s southern district. Prices have increased by 4.36 per cent since 2012, and are currently holding at $390,000. Brossard has also seen significant population growth, as its population has jumped nearly 14 per cent.

One of the keys to southern Brossard’s success, says one expert, is its proximity to the island of Montreal, where many of its residents work or attend school. Montreal is accessible from Brossard using public transit and by three different bridges.

Newly-landed immigrant families, have been flocking to Brossard because “there is less crime, as compared to Montreal,” says Bernard Chan , an agent with Royal LePage Champlain, “and because of more affordable taxes.”

Investors looking to enter the Brossard market should consider looking at the city’s inventory of single-family homes. They are affordably priced, says Chan, and have the ability to produce some good returns.

“Single-family homes are the best buy in Brossard, and they generally rent out for $2,300 per month,” he says.
On average, rented single-family homes can earn investors $970 per month in cash flow, for a total of $11,640 annually.

 

**Brossard South was listed as in the 2013 Top 100 Neighbourhoods listing by Canadian Real Estate Wealth. Subscribe here today.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:24

High Profits in Hinton

Written by Grainne Burns

Located in Yellowhead County, Hinton is not an obvious investment choice with a population of less than 10,000, but the area is ready to reap the benefits of a proposed $1.5-billion thermal coal mine.

Monday, 10 March 2014 04:10

Condo cash in Winnipeg

Written by Grainne Burns

With Winnipeg’s downtown core undergoing redevelopment, investors have been flocking to Manitoba’s capital to snap up many of the new condo units that have popped up in the locality.

Tuesday, 08 November 2011 14:13

Spryfield poised for steady price growth

Written by Shane Buckingham
Spryfield: The first instalment of the top 10 investment communities Shane Buckingham surveys in our December issue
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Partner Resources

Calgary Rentals by Hope Street Real Estate Corp.