This Ontario city is conservative, safe – and poised for growth

The real estate market in London, Ont. has traditionally been conservative and safe, but recent significant increases in housing starts and home prices are signaling a land of opportunity for investors.

Housing starts were trending up at 2,048 units in February 2015, compared to 1,890 in January, according to new CMHC figures. Single-family detached starts were stagnant, but the starts for all other types of housing saw a giant leap forward.

“February marked the first month since last August that an apartment building with more than 50 units started in London," explained Anthony Passarelli, senior market analyst with CMHC.

"The building will be purpose-built for the rental market. Developers are anticipating stronger rental demand in London due to a growing number of households headed by persons aged 25 to 34 years old and 75 years and older, stable levels of immigration and greater employment."

The latest Canadian Real Estate Association figures also highlight opportunity for investors in London. Its January data showed that average home prices were up 2.5 per cent, from $245,416 in January 2014 to $351,501 in January 2015.

Residential sales were also up, by a year-over-year percentage increase of 23.3 per cent, from 395 in January 2014 to 487 in January 2015.

It's still too early to see exactly how these figures will impact investors in London. In the meantime, they are happy to be in a market with nice, gradual growth.

“If you’ve held any real estate here in the last 10 to 15 years, it’s probably doubled in price and you’re getting good returns,” said Joseph Battaglia, a broker at Mortgage Intelligence who invests in single-family homes in London.

“For some of us, we’re quite happy that we’re not recognized, that there’s no boom going on, because it really affects your real estate."

Find out more about median house prices, capital growth and demographics in London and other Canadian cities with CREW’s free online Investment Hotspot tool.

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