What’s Fuelling the Market in Simcoe County?
The City of Barrie and surrounding Simcoe County communities have seen a great influx of home buyers from the GTA. As population and home prices continue to rise in Toronto and surrounding areas, more and more individuals and families are choosing to move north. Here are some other factors fuelling the market here in Simcoe County.
Wilderness settings, open countryside, leisure parks and endless recreational enjoyment abound in Simcoe County…who wouldn’t want to live here? Barrie was voted the third “best place to invest in Ontario real estate” (source: 2014, REIN). The Kempenfelt Bay waterfront on Lake Simcoe is highly coveted for its sandy beach, walking trails, lakeside workout circuit and park. Serenity can be found in your own backyard right here in the city or at many smaller lakes dotted throughout the region. Enjoy skiing and snowshoeing at Snow Valley, hiking and biking at Hardwood Ski and Bike, and relaxed overnight getaways at local resorts.
The classic century-old downtown core of Barrie and surrounding communities offer a small-town heritage feel to accompany the modern urban amenities that are available at your fingertips. Barrie has a strong economy with businesses planting a home base and expanding into the region, as supported by its seventh place ranking in the “top place to start and grow your business” in Canada (source: 2015, CFIB). There is no need to stray far from home as everything you could possibly require is right here in town!
Many people approaching the age of retirement are moving north of the Greater Toronto Area in order to facilitate a comfortable lifestyle and reduced living expenses. Seniors are taking advantage of built-up equity in their GTA homes and heading north. This not only provides a more relaxed way of life out of the city, but offers the option to downsize with more availability of bungalows and smaller homes.
First Time Home Buyers
New mortgage standards have recently been put in place in an attempt to correct the Toronto and Vancouver real estate markets, however, these same rules have made it harder to obtain a first time mortgage. To make things more challenging, buyers who do qualify are obtaining a smaller mortgage than they would have under the previous rules.
If you are looking to step into the real estate market for the first time, achieving home ownership in GTA markets is nearly impossible without a substantial down payment or generous backing income. Young families and professionals who can’t afford GTA market prices are looking to the Barrie area to provide more ‘bang for their buck’ and a more relaxed lifestyle in which to raise a family.
With Lake Ontario to the south and an expansive green belt to the north, the GTA is often thought of as a stand-alone metropolis, a kind of island. For those heading south from cottage country, Simcoe County is considered the ‘next stop’ where all the benefits of cottage country can be enjoyed while remaining within commuting distance to the GTA. The availability of GO transit with an increasing running schedule as well as access to Highways 400 and 27 make travel to and from the Toronto area easier than ever.
A known principle in the business of investment is to keep cost low to generate a desirable income. Home prices in the Barrie area are appealing to investors cashing in on the opportunity to gain income from newcomers starting out in rental units. Foreign investment and international buying has increased significantly. As market value and inventory shortages both rise within Simcoe County, the city has come to realize the need for low-rise apartment buildings and townhouses and has opened up greater acceptance for second suite development.
A Moody’s Analytics study suggests housing prices within Simcoe County will continue to rise by eight per cent every year over the next five years. Barrie has been listed as the top Canadian city seeing annualized housing price growth over the past five years. The average home price in Toronto sat at $776,684 in November 2016 while the average home price in Barrie was just $411,239. (Source: the CREA statistics report). These are the driving forces behind stepping into the Barrie and surrounding area markets now to begin building equity.
There are so many reasons why the City of Barrie and surrounding communities are drawing interest from near and far. With an appealing landscape, an abundance of amenities, and greater value to cost ratio, what more could a homebuyer ask for? If you are in the market to buy, Barrie and Simcoe County will continue to be prime contenders for years to come.