With home prices continuing to rise in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), many buyers are looking to other nearby markets for a wider selection of affordable options. Over the last couple years, we’ve noticed a gradual shift to Brantford, which has seen higher sales and a steady increase in property value.
To get a clearer picture of what’s going on in Brantford, we chatted with Eleven Eleven Realty’s Co-Owner Michael Klassen, who provided some insightful advice and data, proving that Brantford is the place to be!
Newinhomes.com (NIH): Why are more families and young buyers looking to Brantford to buy a home?
Michael Klassen (MK): Brantford is fast becoming a hot spot for young buyers and families based on affordability. As we all know, the price of a detached home in the GTA has skyrocketed over the last few years and this leaves little options for young families and buyers. With an average price of detached homes at nearly $1 million in Toronto vs $406,453 in Brantford, it is a no-brainer for first-time buyers and young families. Let’s not forget the cost and pace of living are very attractive!
Adding to the affordability factor is Brantford’s proximity to Hamilton, KW, London and the GTA. Brantford is perfectly located at the junction of Hwy 403 and Hwy 401, two of Canada’s busiest highways, making commuting to any of these cities very convenient.
Brantford is also highly sought after for its superb options in post-secondary education. Did you know Brantford has campuses for Conestoga College, Nipissing University and Wilfrid Laurier University? With current enrollment at 3,100 students, the City of Brantford is working with these educational institutions to implement infrastructural changes required for substantial expansion, a housing need will be short to follow.
NIH: So what kind of communities should be built to accommodate this population growth?
MK: Brantford has a nice mix of density options within its pre-construction market. For the type of growth that Brantford is experiencing a continued mix of traditional single detached homes and townhome product outside of the downtown core is important to accommodate the growth and the types of buyers who are attracted to Brantford. Within the downtown core, mid-rise projects as well as stacked towns will be best suited to accommodate the population increase.
NIH: Do you think Brantford will soon see more new developments like One Wellington by Angil Development Group?
MK: Yes, we certainly hope so! One Wellington is a perfect example of the intensification and diversification of housing needs within Brantford. As more young professionals and students move to Brantford, the City needs to offer other housing alternatives to the classic detached home. Hence, a mid-rise option like One Wellington is the exact product needed to fill that void. Add to that its downtown location and proximity to Hwy 403, universities, new YMCA, OLG Casino, public transit and you’ve got the makings of a home run for investing. Not to mention all the great shopping and dining options!
NIH: How do the resale and new home markets compare?
MK: Like I mentioned, the average selling price for a detached home in Brantford is $406,453. That is up 22%, year-over-year for August 2017! In fact, 680 single detached homes were sold in the second quarter of 2017, a 7.6% increase from a year earlier. However, the most exciting statistic could be that the average single detached home in Brantford was only on the market for 8 days!
The average price of a new home was approx. $550,000 for August 2017. For that price, you are looking at a brand new detached home on a 30′ to 40′ lot. Still extremely well priced compared to Brantford’s neighbours in Hamilton and KW. However, that gap will start to close as more people realize the current value of Brantford real estate, so don’t wait too long to jump in.
NIH: It sounds like Brantford is a smart spot for real estate investors.
MK: Absolutely. MoneySense magazine ranked Brantford as the 3rd best city in Canada to invest in. Only Oshawa and Guelph came in ahead, but that will probably change over the coming years as property values in those two cities are quickly skyrocketing. In Brantford, we still see a lot of room for current property values to grow.
On top of that is the incredible rental market in Brantford. Did you know that rental prices have increased 18.5% in the last 5 years? That is fantastic news for the investor looking for cash-flow on their properties while enjoying yearly capital appreciation in the double digits.
As for infrastructure growth, Brantford is planning many years ahead. Post-secondary institutions are predicting an enrolment increase from the current 3,100 to 15,000 by 2023. That is an incredible pace of expansion for any city.
Just take a drive though Brantford and you will see the changes. On Colborne Street you can see construction of the brand new, five-storey, $60 Million YMCA that will encompass 162,500 square feet of athletics and recreational space.
With master-planned communities at Wyndfield by Empire, Riverwalk East by Kingwood Homes, Brantview Heights by Liv Communities or Focus Towns by New Horizon and One Wellington by Angil Development, Brantford offers all the options an investor needs in the pre-construction landscape.
In a city where you can still purchase a detached home for the price of a high-rise unit in Toronto, send your kids to university and be in downtown Hamilton or Waterloo within 30 minutes, Brantford has all the earmarks of a great real estate investment. Whether a first-time buyer, young family, downsizer or seasoned investor, purchasing property in Brantford is the right investment choice!
NIH: Is there a specific area of Brantford where people should buy first?
MK: We always tell our clients that the safest strategy for investing is to buy and hold as long as possible. Using that strategy, anywhere in Brantford is a great place to invest. However, we can make two general recommendations. The first would be anything within close proximity to the downtown core as you will benefit from the future expansion of post-secondary institutions and elevated rental rates and the City’s investment in infrastructure.
Second, would be to purchase a new build from one of the reputable builder sites I mentioned earlier. These will benefit from strong capital appreciation before completion and are highly desirable rental properties should you choose to hold on to them. Either way, Brantford is a fantastic city to invest in!
NIH: If you were to compare Brantford to another booming market, which would it be?
MK: I would compare today’s Brantford to Oshawa 5-8 years ago. Both are located along the 401 corridors and are similar distances to the GTA. We’ve also seen massive growth at the University of Ontario in Oshawa and property values skyrocketed over the last few years.
Oshawa was a great place for first-time buyers and young families to purchase a few years ago but has recently become much less affordable. Great news for everyone who saw the opportunity to get into the Oshawa real estate market before the big property value increases. We believe investors will see a similar return over the next 5-8 years in Brantford.
Big thanks goes out to Michael for taking the time to give us a closer look at Brantford as a lucrative investment for both families and first-time buyers. Maybe you should buy a home in Brantford!