Finding a great deal in Ontario can sometimes appear harder than it should be, thanks to Toronto’s skyrocketing real estate prices. As people leave the big city for more affordable areas, there have been some up-and-coming locations that are worth exploring further.
Table of Contents - Benefits of Real Estate Investing in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay and Thunder Bay District, Ontario is the second-largest municipality in northern Ontario. This sprawling town is perched at the top of Lake Superior, where the Kaministiquia River connects to the Great Lake. It’s within driving distance to Minneapolis, MN, among other cities in the Upper Midwest of the United States. This quiet, picturesque town is great for people looking to escape city life, without straying too far from major metropolitan areas. There’s plenty of outdoor and cultural activity to attract residents and tourists alike, making it a peaceful place with a little something for everyone.
Read on to find out why Thunder Bay could be a smart choice for your investment portfolio.
History and geography of Thunder Bay
As with most Canadian towns, the Thunder Bay area was originally populated by indigenous tribes. Europeans began settling the area in the late 17th century—the waterfront location made it an excellent fur trading hub. As railroads and public roads grew, the wheat, railway, mining, forestry and shipbuilding industries all played a large part in its economic development. Thunder Bay also has the unique distinction of being the first city in the world to adopt Daylight Savings Time.
Thunder Bay wasn’t always called Thunder Bay. Prior to 1970, what is now Thunder Bay were separate cities and towns: Fort William, Port Arthur, and the geographic townships of Neebing and McIntyre. In 1970, the area was amalgamated and renamed to Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay’s geography is somewhat remote—for example, Toronto is a 16-hour drive or a two-hour flight away, Winnipeg is an eight-hour drive and Minneapolis is about five and a half hours by car. If you’re looking for proximity to major metropolitan areas, you’ll probably want to pick a different location. However, if you want investment property at great prices, close to plenty of outdoor opportunities, Thunder Bay is a great choice. Between the snow and its location on Lake Superior and the Kaministiquia River, outdoor enthusiasts should have plenty of nature to enjoy all year long.
If you're a real estate professional looking for advertising and growth opportunities, click the learn more button below.
Thunder Bay Demographics
As of the 2016 census, Thunder Bay had a population of 108,000 across the entire area. The average age is about 44. If you’re hoping to rent or sell to families, you’ll probably have good luck. Children under 14 make up about 14 percent of the population, and about 9,000 households in 2016 reported having children. In fact, families and first-time homebuyers are primarily driving the housing demand.
Thunder Bay’s average income is about $42,000, according to the census data, and about 53 percent of the population has post-secondary or trade school education.
The rent in Thunder Bay is significantly cheaper than major metropolitan areas, which is of course typical. A one-bedroom apartment goes for $979 on average, with a citywide rent range of $500 to $1,800. About 27 percent of the population rents their home.
Thunder Bay currently has a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, although that may drop as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The economy is expected to recover and even make modest gains, making it a fairly safe bet for anyone who can find employment in the area. The top industries include transportation, manufacturing, education, mining and forestry.
Culture and entertainment in Thunder Bay
When it comes to local appeal, the outdoors is king. Hiking, fishing, skiing, ice skating and other outdoor activities are readily available. If you’re into gemology, you can even check out one of the area’s amethyst mines—some of them allow visitors to collect their own crystals. There are over 100 parks in Thunder Bay, which makes it perfect for people who enjoy spending time in nature.
When it comes to tourism, Fort William Historical Park is a local favourite. It depicts the Fort William fur trading outpost as it looked in the early 19th century, and over 100,000 visitors come to visit it each year. (The tourism industry has suffered greatly during COVID-19, but is expected to rebound.) The town is home to film festivals, the largest symphony between Toronto and Winnipeg and numerous art galleries and museums. There’s plenty to do and enjoy within the area, even if you’re more of an “indoorsy” type.
Thunder Bay also has several post-secondary educational opportunities, including Confederation College and Lakehead University. They also offer nearly 50 primary schools for children as well as two private schools and several for-profit adult education programs.
Real estate outlook for Thunder Bay
In 2019, the average home price was $259,553. ReMax reports that home prices have steadily risen 10 percent since then, and they predict that it will continue to be a seller’s market going into 2021. If you’re thinking of developing property, ReMax notes that there’s about two months’ worth of housing inventory available, and new home development is not fast enough to meet demand.
The commercial real estate outlook is less clear. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every industry across the globe, it’s not surprising that there’s a lack of major development and construction. However, since the area is steadily growing, if you already have your eye on commercial real estate in Thunder Bay, it would probably behoove you to invest now. As always, we suggest doing your research and connecting with local real estate investors to get the clearest picture possible.
In short, if you’re thinking about investing in any kind of Thunder Bay properties, now is the time to do so. The area continues to grow in both economy and population, making it a desirable place for anyone looking to get away from big city life.
Real Estate Professionals in Thunder Bay
We have searched high and low for real estate investing professionals in Thunder Bay. Below, you can find professionals we have researched and can confirm they specialize in working with Real Estate Investors.
To ensure the maximum success in real estate investing in Thunder Bay, or any city, you should always use professionals who understand and work with investors, your income depends on it.
This list may not fully list all the professionals in the area, but the ones we have personally investigated and that we would refer our clients to.
If you’re a real estate professional and would like us to consider adding you to the list, please contact us.
Thunder Bay downtown & Waterfront
Interested in Rental Property Financing? If so, contact us and we will show you how you can buy unlimited rental properties with great rates.