Missed the boat? Too late to invest in Greater Toronto Area real estate?

November 15, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Missed the boat?  Too late to find real estate investments in GTA? | CanadianMortgageCo.comGTA investors looking further afield

I’ve spoken to a number of Toronto and Mississauga-based property investors, and noticed that there seems to be some “ennui” around the idea of purchasing real estate investment properties in Ontario.   People seem to feel that they’ve “missed the boat” on investing in properties here, particularly when they consider Toronto real estate investment, so they start thinking they need to get exotic by looking at places like Arizona or Florida, or the Canadian West, such as Saskatchewan or Alberta.

Real estate investment opportunities closer to home

Nothing wrong with that.  However, I believe there are still deals to be had within an easy drive of Toronto.   Case in point: I attended the Property Show in Toronto recently, and one thing came across loud and clear – contrary to the doom and gloom that sometimes seems to be pushed by the media, there is lots of optimism on the Ontario real estate investor front.

Look for positive cash flow

That said, the key, as mentioned in some of my other articles – check out those under the “Investing 101” tab above – is to make sure your property generates positive cash flow.  In that case you are not going to be in the position of being forced to sell at an inappropriate time,   Where can you get cash flowing properties in the GTA these days?  Well, that’s where a great realtor is going to be worth his or her weight in gold.    I’ve talked to some who recommend Toronto-ish hot spots such as Mimico, Parkdale, Vaughan, and Brampton, while others suggest going a little further afield.  The theme at the property show definitely leaned toward the latter.

I attended a couple of interesting sessions, the first focusing on the city of Barrie, and the second focusing on the city of Hamilton.  In my opinion, both are worth checking out.

Use a realtor who can help steer you to investment properties that fit your criteria

Jeff Lehman, the mayor of Barrie, offered the inside scoop on investing in Barrie properties.  Not surprisingly, he’s a big advocate for his city, but with good cause.  The major focus for his administration is to transform Barrie from what could be termed a “bedroom community”, to a place where young families can reside, work, and play.  So, while commuters do benefit from transportation improvements such GO train access in the city which offers four (soon to be five) trains on weekday mornings and evenings,  there is an ongoing focus on job creation, culture, downtown and lakefront improvements, and leisure activities.   And while the commute to downtown Toronto continues to be daunting, Barrie residents who do work outside of the city are just as likely to work in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Markham, which makes it a much easier commute.   Finally, Barrie’s rental vacancy rate is among the lowest in Ontario (around 1.8% according to CMHC’s April 2012 numbers), while their average property price is around $290,000 (two bedroom condos can be picked up for the mid-$150s).

Mark Loeffler, a local realtor and the author of two investment real estate books – the popular Investing in Rent-to-Own Property – A Complete Guide for Canadian Real Estate Investors, and a newly released title, Fix and Flip: The Canadian How-To Guide for Buying, Renovating and Selling Property for Fast Profit – is a big champion of the opportunities in Hamilton.   The city is at the top of many investment real estate lists, including being # 1 on the Real Estate Investment Network’s list of recommended cities for Ontario property investors.  Why are investors liking Hamilton?   In addition to proximity to Toronto with a much lower sticker price, the city boasts a low unemployment rate (less than 6%), an increasingly diversified job market, and a great variety of investment quality real estate.  For example, in Hamilton it’s possible to purchase a $175,000 property which will generate a monthly income of $1,750 – a great return.  Mark commented that for the best ROI on residential properties, he steers his clients toward those with 2-4 units.  And while investor interest in the area has definitely increased, there are still lots of great opportunities to be found.

And as noted in this article, there is no reason to sit on the sidelines if you’re thinking of checking out investment properties.  Start now: as noted in the article, if we really do get a price correction, it may be an even better time to make a purchase or purchases.  Whether we do or not, make sure you’re ready to go.  You don’t want to miss the boat!


Photo credit: [c] Mateusz Stachowski for stock.xchng

Filed in: Investment Property, Purchase | Tags: , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

I'm a Toronto Mortgage Broker. My focus is on saving people time and money in financing and re-financing their homes. Am passionate about helping people make informed choices, giving back, and helping to improve financial literacy in Canada.

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