Though the big cities in Canada tend to get the bulk of the attention in real estate coverage, in reality, there are opportunities for investments and returns nearly anywhere you look. In fact, in many ways, the big cities present more of a hindrance than a benefit to some investors, driving them towards the smaller markets. The same is also true for some developers, who are hoping to invest in these smaller cities, recognizing their further growth potential.
One such city that may be of interest to investors is Kingston. The mid-sized city in Ontario has a long and rich history in Canada, at one time being the Capital of the young nation. Eventually, though it was overshadowed by its larger neighbours. Now, however, Kingston may be finding new appeal to investors looking for high-growth opportunities that are beating major market returns.
To learn more about Kingston and where new development in the city is headed, we spoke to Shaminder Gogna. Gogna is a CREW top investor agent and founder of Condoville, a group of real estate consulting companies that plays many roles in real estate development, marketing, sales and more.
For several years, Gogna has taken an interest in the city of Kingston for a number of reasons. One major factor is the location of the city. As Gogna describes it, Kingston is “In the middle of all the action, perfectly central to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal”. The proximity to major population centers makes it a popular destination for those looking to leave the city while being close enough to visit or occasionally commute, as has been extremely common in the era of work-from-home.
Gogna goes on to list a few more factors that lay a strong foundation for the city’s success and appeal to real estate investors.
“Kingston and its surrounding areas draw people in by its natural lakefront beauty, thriving economy and world-class education sites. Students travel from every point on the globe to be a part of the 175,000+ people who call this place home.,” explained Gogna, referencing the multiple post-secondary educational institutions in the city, including the prestigious Queen’s university.
As for the real estate market in Kingston, things are looking up. The benchmark price for homes in Kington was $561,200 in August 2022, making it one of the more affordable cities of its size. Despite that, it has been called one of Canada’s hottest housing markets by RE/MAX Canada, noting a 23% appreciation in values from 2020 to 2021.
Gogna also points out, that there are many options beyond the popular detached home segment, notably in condos. There is also a consistently strong rental market, driven by a large number of students.
“The Kingston housing market is experiencing exceptional growth from greenfield development to infill intensification developments in the downtown and surrounding areas.”
“Given the strong Queen’s Community Campus Environment whereby 95% of the student population comes from outside of Kingston and more than 90% of first-year students live in residence, there is an exceptional opportunity to cash flow from post-secondary students. Queen’s placed 2nd in residential living (Maclean’s 2021 Rankings) and is home to students from more than 125 countries. Price Appreciation continues to be evident.”
With high demand for housing and low supply, Kingston’s main concern is building enough homes to meet the needs of the community. This only means good things for investors looking for a reliable investment option, and new developments may be a great option as a result.
Developers are certainly taking notice. Though there is no shortage of projects to occupy them in the larger cities, Gogna says he is “seeing more and more “out-of-town” developers enter Kingston and surrounding areas, given the exceptional demand and development opportunities.“
His own firm, Condoville, has become involved with several projects in the city, taking their experience in designing, marketing and selling pre-construction sites in secondary markets to GTA buyers and tailoring new builds in Kingston towards the many who are now resettling in smaller communities.
“Initially Condoville approached Kingston because of the extraordinary cash flow from Queens and the other post-secondary institutions. As we learned more about the city and its surrounding area, we fell in love with the growth potential and development opportunities. As Covid hit the urban centres the hardest, families started moving more west to London and east to Kingston. That move is no longer a trend. It’s a destination. As a result, we are involved with the design process for low and mid-rise residences with GTA taste in mind whether that’s a separate entrance for a detached home or most 1 bedroom suites having a den to work/host a guest.”
“We are working with great local Developers that are also committed to offering housing solutions for all generations, especially Millennials and Gen-Z. Currently, Condoville is assisting developers on several sites like District Condos, a multi-phased mid-rise condominium on Gardeners Road within walking distance to the Cataraqui Centre and major big box stores to low-rise communities such as a stacked townhome community just off the 401 in Odessa. With affordability in mind, Condoville is launching sites in the low $300s for condominiums and low $400s for townhomes.”