Mulling investing in a vacation home? Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of the top markets to consider when you’re thinking of investing in vacation homes.
Peak season: June to September
Best Buy: Old homes/Bed and Breakfasts
Average house price: $213,032
Average rent (high-end) $5,000 a week
Stunning vineyards, warm weather, shopping, golf and a thriving theatre scene – no, we’re not talking about California. All of this draws tourists to Ontario’s own Niagara-on-the-Lake, enticing an increasing number of visitors each year. The vacation rental market already enjoys a strong summer season and is poised for growth as visitors from near and far move past Niagara Falls and down the road to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
“Niagara is a tourism, cultural, culinary and recreational magnet unique to Ontario,” says Nancy Brazeau, broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. It is also close to international airports and major population centres, both Canadian and American; over 30 million people are within a one day’s drive of the town. “Demand for short– and long-term accommodation is driven by these factors,” says Brazeau.
While visitors traditionally tend to spend one night in the area, Brazeau notes there has been a shift to extended weekend stays as well as increased interest in long-term stays on account of the cultural development that has taken place in the region.
“Our business is seasonal, with high season running parallel to the Shaw Festival season,” she says. This draws about 300,000 visitors a year. The shoulder season is in April and May, October and November, and the high season runs from June to September.
Like many buzzing vacation spots, the town is ramping up events and festivals in a bid to become a ‘four-season destination’, adding the Icewine Festival in January to the roster of events to bolster rental activity in the off season.
Brazeau points to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Old Town, a national heritage district, as a prime submarket to investigate. With architectural influences that reflect 200 years of development, the Old Town continues to draw visitors. Grand homes in the town centre, originally built as cottages by wealthy Americans at the turn of the last century, have been transformed into bed and breakfasts welcoming visitors from around the world.
Other 4 Top Vacation Home Markets in Canada:
1) Banff & Canmore Kananaskis region
Peak season: July to August
Best buy: Tourist-zoned townhouse accommodation complexes
Average rent (1-bedroom): $1,200 a month
2) Whistler, B.C.
Peak Season: Year-round
Best buy: Condos, Chalets
Average rent: $1,051 a month
3) Cape Breton
Peak season: May to October
Best Buy: Cottages
Average rent: $670 a month
4) Sunshine Coast
Peak season: A definite chance of full booking from May to end of September; Short-terms thereafter
Best buy: Waterfront separate guest cabins or whole homes
Average rent: $150 a night