For a long time, the city of Windsor has been seen as a one-trick pony from an economic point of view, with a persistent sentiment of Windsor as a city purely concerned with auto manufacturing and not much else.
However, this seems to be an increasingly outdated idea, with the city showing huge growth and diversity in the local economy in recent years. As the city grows and diversifies, it becomes not only stronger economically but also more appealing to residents and as a result, offers major opportunities for real estate investors – especially as markets in other cities remain highly competitive and even hostile to investors.
The importance of strong underlying economic fundamentals can not be understated when it comes to real estate investing. To help shine a light on why Windsor is gaining popularity, we spoke to Rhys Wyn Trenhaile, a local agent and investor, and leader of Windor’s Vanguard Team.
Trenhaile speaks fondly of his city, with a soft spot for local culture and history that he believes makes the city unique. At the same time, he highlights some important economic factors that make investing in the city stand out.
Firstly, the city is no longer simply the “car town” you may be familiar with. Thanks to the city's many options for commercial real estate and a great position on the US border, Windsor has been able to expand far beyond the automotive industry. Now, the city is seeing big growth in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agriculture, education, and more. On the municipal side, new infrastructure is being developed to meet the needs of a growing population and encourage the city’s growth.
“They’re currently building a $4.1 billion International Bridge, they just finished building a $1.5 billion freeway and are going to be building a $2 billion mega-hospital,” explained Trenhaile, listing the many improvements bringing Windsor into the future.
“They’ve been working towards a new battery factory that's going to cost $5.9 billion and is going to create thousands of jobs. Between all the new business interest we’re adding about 30,000 employees to a city of 330,000. Underneath all of these big announcements is the fact that Windsor has worked really hard to become a logistical hub which makes sense given the location. We're on a peninsula in Canada surrounded by over 80 million Americans within a four-hour drive. The bridge is the busiest international trade route in the world and the reason they’re building a second International Bridge is that they expect international trade through Windsor to increase by 30%. What they don't tell you is that 60% of those trucks only go a maximum of 20 kilometres into Canada. In other words, 60% of that international trade of the biggest international trade route in the world is staying in the Windsor area.”
The other side of things is that the success of real estate also relies on the people who buy, rent and live in these properties. Windsor has been doing well here too, steadily growing and attracting more residents every year.
For one, the city offers a great quality of life thanks to its warmer weather compared to the rest of Ontario, proximity to the border, and many recreation, education, and job options. These appealing features are drawing many from outside the region, especially in demographics like immigrants, students, and retirees. Finally, the large amount of well-paying jobs leads to a general high household income in Windsor, which when paired with lower home prices leads to one of the most affordable cities for home prices when compared to household income.
“Windsor has the highest net disposable incomes in Ontario making us the major city with the most affordable housing in the province,” said Trenhaile. “That also means people living down here have a lot of money left over, which adds to the quality of life and helps the local economy.”
This is all great for residents, and when things are good for residents, they are often good for investors as well. The appeal of the growing city means that rental demand is steady, and while home prices remain affordable, Windsor is one of the few cities where investors can find reliable cash flow. Finally, as the city develops, investors can count on property values to increase even further.
“We are one of the last remaining cities where you can employ certain options that just aren’t profitable in other cities anymore. One of those is buying an income property for cash flow: You can still pull that off in Windsor.”
This is in contrast to an area like Toronto, where though rental demand is high, home prices and supply issues make buying and cash flowing a property quite difficult, and development in the city has slowed to a crawl. On the other hand, there are areas where average home prices may be cheaper, but these areas tend to be more remote, with fewer jobs and lifestyle options.
In the last 5 years, home prices have more than doubled in Windsor, yet still remain well below the provincial average price for a home. In June of 2022, the average home in Windsor cost $557,989, while the average provincially was $831,473.
Overall however it is important to understand when choosing where to buy an investment property that price is merely one factor to consider. Many larger economic factors and trends will also play a large role in your investment success. Understanding these factors can help a wise investor to find even greater success. For those in the know, Windsor presents a great opportunity, and the future is bright for the city, according to Trenhaile.
If you are interested in investing in the City of Windsor, Rhys Wyn Trenhaile and his team are eager to help you make the most of your opportunities. With decades of combined experience and hundreds of sales a year, their team is trusted by investors and regular homebuyers alike to help achieve their real estate goals. Contact them at https://thevanguardteam.com/ or [email protected] and schedule a call today to learn more.
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