I predict that the price of houses in towns and cities that are within one to two hours of Toronto will skyrocket in value over the next two years, outpacing the average price appreciation for all residential real estate in Ontario. There are three reasons I make this prediction.
First, with the onset of COVID, a lot of employers have been forced to permit their employees to work from home. This is a trend that is here to stay. Even bankers and lawyers are working from home. That flexibility and the concept that you may only need to attend the office in person two to three days a week removes the need for people to live in or near the big city. Commuting a few days a week is not as onerous as commuting every single weekday. This provides flexibility and opens up a much larger radius around the city for purchasing a home. The smaller towns are far more affordable than Toronto. A colleague of mine recently bought a brand new home in Bracebridge for less than $500,000. That is an attractive metric for many people who currently live in the city.
Second, there are so many condominium dwellers and apartment dwellers who are sick of waiting 45 minutes or more for the elevator due to social distancing. They are also tired of heading up and down the emergency exit stairs trying to keep their distance. They are desperate to breathe the fresh air and spend some time outdoors given the state of emergency orders that have been in place. Many condominiums and apartments have no outdoor space. Those feelings of having been cooped up in a box will drive many of those condominium owners to sell their condominiums and purchase houses that they can afford…and those affordable communities are typically at least an hour outside of Toronto and often as far away as two hours away.
Finally, the price of houses in the city of Toronto remains incredibly high. The prices are completely unaffordable for most families. Anyone coming into the city from elsewhere in Canada cannot afford to buy in Toronto. That lack of access to affordable houses in the city will drive people who want a backyard and their own house further and further outside of the city limits.
Those three trends support my prediction that homes in the surrounding communities within one to two hours of Toronto will skyrocket over the next two years. We’ll see if the prediction comes to fruition.
Yesterday I visited a friend of mine who lives on the Muskoka River. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze.
When we arrived in the late afternoon, we noticed a baited trap out in his yard along with a .22 rifle at the ready. When we enquired what he was trying to catch, he told me red squirrels because they were making themselves a nuisance all around his yard. He confirmed that once he trapped them he was going to shoot them dead. A few months previously, I had a problem with raccoons in the attic. A mama raccoon had taken up residency and had just given birth to babies. I waited a couple of months for the raccoon babies to grow large enough to survive on their own before humanely coaxing them out. I was struck by the differences between the Muskoka and the Toronto approach.
At my folks' building in Muskoka, we have Abell Pest Control on retainer. They treat the building on a monthly basis, primarily for mice and ants. There are traps all around the perimeter and those traps kill the mice and the ants. We are very happy with them and feel pest control is an essential service for any commercial or industrial building. Our tenants are happy not having to deal with the nuisance of pests in the building.
That being said, the building is never completely free of pests. I was heading to our General Manager's office on the mezzanine level the other day and out of the corner of my eye saw something slithering on the floor. "Reinhard, can you please come here...now!!" The snake had wandered in through an open door on the gorgeous summer day and had decided to mount the steps. It was a garter snake, more scared than I was, and Reinhard indicated the biggest risk was that it would pee on him when he relocated it back outside.
Fishers are common around our building and they pose a significant risk to cats and little dogs. They are vicious and efficient killers and one of our staff lost his wife's small dog to one last year. The fellow who lives in the building has two beautiful Siamese cats and he indicated they've come back with bites and scratches after their nightly adventures and he worries they may go out some night and never come back. The gal who runs Muskoka Yarn Connection had a fisher wander into her old store. It took three days to remove him and during that time he completely destroyed the store.
The same gentleman who was killing squirrels told me with admiration about his neighbour, Sure Shot, who could kill anything with tremendous accuracy using his .22 rifle with silenced bullets. He then rated the taste of beaver, muskrat, bear, moose, deer and rabbit, telling me that rabbit was his favourite.
There are significant differences between Muskoka and Toronto and I am enjoying bridging the two worlds on a weekly basis.
Entrepreneur and mom to four amazing kids
Q: Why did the can crusher quit his job?
A: Because it was soda pressing.