The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across the province, country and the world at large, as so many of us have pressed pause on routines, plans, businesses and even our short-term goals. What is just as important as keeping you and your loved one safe amid this unprecedented crisis, is remembering that this is temporary. Life will, eventually, start to regain some normalcy, and we’ll be able to breathe new life into goals that we previously put on hold.

If investing in Ontario real estate was part of your 2020 vision, continue to keep your finger on the pulse. An experienced Realtor will help you stay abreast of what is happening within real estate markets across Ontario, which have shown strength and favourability. Below we share some of our top choices for those looking to secure an investment property within Ontario, for those who are in the market to buy.

LONDON

London headed into 2020 with a smoking hot market, according to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report – and it is easy to see why. The city is home to two big post-secondary schools, Western University and Fanshawe College, as well as several large hospitals. These institutions not only help keep a steady flow of people into the city, but they are also three of the top employers for London and the surrounding area. More recently, there has been an influx of digital media companies dotting the city’s downtown core, earning London a reputation as the region’s burgeoning tech hub. These are only a few of the many reasons why, over the past five years, the city has experienced significant growth due to migration from the GTA, adding to the high (and ever increasing) demand for housing.

London maintained a seller’s market throughout 2019, and is projected to stay this way through 2020, even despite a COVID-19-related cooling of demand. Real estate investors looking to purchase within the city’s hottest neighbourhoods should look within North and South West London; these regions are in close proximity to the city’s hospitals, university, and entertainment and retail hubs, as well as Hwy. 401. Due to high demand, vacancy rates for these areas, are accordingly very low. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s yearly rental market report, London’s vacancy rate was 1.8% in 2019, down from 2.1% in 2018.

For a more affordable investment property within the city, East London is a hot neighbourhood worth looking into.

While the popularity of London as a place to live and work has certainly contributed to steadily rising average home prices over the past few years, property price tags are still immensely more affordable than those within the GTA.

KITCHENER/WATERLOO

Kitchener-Waterloo boasts a thriving (and growing) tech industry, universities, state-of-the-art health institutions, and a real estate market that has recently seen promising growth.

In 2019, residential real estate offered solid returns on investment, with the average sale price of homes climbing 9.3% for the year. According to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report, prices were expected to rise 7% for the year ahead.

According to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report, Kitchener-Waterloo ranked 11th on the affordability scale, out of 16 of Canada’s most populous regions. The COVID-19 public health crisis has temporarily cooled many markets across the province, however with demand heavily outweighing supply within this real estate market, there remains much optimism for a healthy bounce-back post-crisis.

NIAGARA REGION

The Niagara Region has a lot to offer besides a breathtaking waterfall. The area is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, drawing wine lovers, casino enthusiasts and nature buffs. Niagara is also home to a quickly growing number of businesses and residents, with the demand for affordable housing and rental properties outweighing supply.

With the Niagara region playing host to a massive Metrolinx expansion that will take place over the coming years, the popularity of this destination is projected to skyrocket. Upon completion of this proposed expansion, there will be 11 GO trains connecting Niagara to downtown Toronto, which will make it an attractive destination for commuters looking to avoid the manic GTA rush-hour traffic.

Now, let’s talk prices. The average house price differs significantly across the cites that make up the Niagara region.

According to data from the Niagara Association of Realtors, for the first quarter of 2020, the average price of a home within the Niagara Region was $496,000, however within the region, there is much variance between price points. The cities of Niagara-on-the-lake and Fonthill & Pelham tip the scale with average price tags of $792,000 and $706,000 respectively.

Investors looking to get the most bang for their buck can look to affordable communities where vacancy rates are still low, and demand is still high. On the more affordable end, St. Catherine’s – the largest city in the Niagara region – offers homes with an average price tag of $457,000, and much new development on the horizon.  With the GO Transit expansion to include a stop within St. Catherine’s, prices could be on the rise.

For insight into the most liveable neighbourhoods in Niagara, check out our list of the Best Places to Live in Niagara for 2020.

WINDSOR

Just kissing the US/Canada border, Windsor sits at the southern-most tip of Ontario across from Detroit, and from all angles, is a city on the rise! While historically known for its cheap cost of living and low property price tags, the tides have been slowly shifting within Windsor in recent years. The area has become an attractive destination for business, and accordingly, the employment rate in Windsor is the highest it has been in close to 20 years. Job prospects also attract new immigrants, which is driving up the demand for properties.

This rate of growth is fuelling an already high level of housing demand, which is driving up prices, but comparative to the rest of Canada, Windsor still sits comfortably on the top spot as the most affordable real estate market in Ontario, according to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report.

Affordable prices, the gradually re-opening economy and sustained demand are all positive signs for hopeful real estate investors.