The town of Bradford West Gwillimbury is known as one of the fastest growing communities in Ontario.
Our population is on the rise, with projections reaching 50,500 people living in the area by 2031.
With these estimates in mind, residential construction is once again on the rise and commercial builds are racing to reduce our commute to good jobs and keep our employment local.
These details and other insights into the local real estate market were the focus of the Bradford Board of Trade (BBT) 2020 Re-Con forum last Thursday.
Featured speakers included, real estate expert Eryn Richardson of Century 21 Heritage Group, who shared his 15 years of experience to give a look into the Bradford real estate market and what to expect in 2020.
“We’ve gone through quite a bit of a roller coaster over the last three years, but 2019 was a bit of a recovery year, where we saw the market start to come back up,” said Richardson.
December market prices were up 13 percent while the Canada wide market increase was 1.7 percent.
Making things easier for first-time home buyers, the Bank of Canada has held interest rates where they are, and regulators are looking at taking away some of the stress tests to qualify for a mortgage.
“I look at Bradford as an opportunity for first time home buyers to get into the market. It always has been. It’s the first stop down the 400 for affordable housing. Newmarket is no longer affordable, Aurora’s definitely not, so Bradford really has that opportunity,” said Richardson.
Regardless of that opportunity, success for home buyers is tied to the availability of homes to buy.
As of Jan. 25, 2020, there were 58 homes listed for sale in Bradford West Gwillimbury, down from 158 listings in January last year.
Additionally, “rental vacancy rate is functionally zero. That’s not just for the residential market, it’s also on the commercial element as well,” said Michael Kemp, Economic Development Marketing Coordinator for the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Plans are in the works to correct those situations.
“We’ve got 75 active planning applications on file with approximately 35 of those related to housing and accommodation, so planning for the future, that growth is coming,” said Kemp.
“There’s a two year supply of serviced lots and we’ve got an additional two year supply of draft approved lots, but they’re unserviced,” he continued.
“I wanted to highlight one application by Cachet Homes on Dissette. It’s an ability to try to match our growth with transportation. It’s one of the key features our council wants to begin,” explained Kemp.
“We’ve all been around here. We’ve all been driving. There’s a heck of a lot more cars so we’re trying to (build) near transportation, so all of those homes will be built around the GO station. It just makes sense.”
Business is growing. The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the BBT celebrated 35 grand openings and anniversaries in 2019.
Locally, unemployment is down from 5.8 percent in 2016 to almost 5 percent. The unemployment rate in Ontario is 5.9 percent.
“People are moving in; services are moving in and jobs are moving in,” said Kemp.
After months of construction at Highway 88 and the 400 on what is known as the “Strathallen Lands”, all of those lots are conditionally sold.
“We’re very excited that MiTek is moving its headquarters there and consolidating their Vaughan operation, so all of those folks will be working up here,” beamed Kemp.
“We’ve got a Hampton hotel which is aiming for completion by summer of next year. This is going to be hundreds of jobs,” he continued.
Looking into the foreseeable future, experts see a softening Canadian market but a diminished fear of recession.
Locally, businesses are expanding. We’re getting new businesses coming in, we’re getting expansion of existing businesses and we’re getting refurbishment of existing business.
On the real estate front, there’s a robust demand from the real estate and development community.
For the mid to long term, we can expect that new and varied housing options will be coming online.
More jobs will become available with the Employment Lands leading the charge. More opportunity locally means fewer people are going to be leaving. It also means that they will be commuting less.