Deciding where to invest in real estate is every bit as important—if not more—as what kind of property you’ll buy and how you’ll finance it. Windsor, Ontario is one of Canada’s best choices to start or expand your real estate investment portfolio. Located on the Detroit River across from the United States city of Detroit, Windsor is part of the most populous trans-border region in North America. Anchored by the automotive industry and offering plenty of room for growth, this city might be the perfect setting for your next investment.
Table of Contents - Benefits of Real Estate Investing in Windsor, Ontario
A booming riverside town, with connections to trade
If you like a city with plenty of local history, Windsor has some unique background. Windsor makes up part of an international conglomerate of cities and urban sprawl called the Detroit-Windsor conurbation. It is the southwestern portion of the Quebec City-Windsor corridor and was originally populated by the Iroquois, Huron, Potawatomi and Odawa tribes. A French settlement was established in 1749, and the north-south street names frequently refer to the families who originally farmed the land there—a fun fact to tell your potential tenants.
The town wasn’t always named Windsor, however—the original name was “Sandwich,” later renamed to Windsor. The Sandwich District contains some of the city’s oldest housing, and there are several historical districts from different eras in the city’s background.
Today, the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor and Detroit, is the busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the United States. 25 percent of all the goods traded between these countries pass over the Ambassador Bridge, making it an ideal location for those working in the trade or transportation industry.
The perfect snapshot of Canada
Windsor is steadily growing, with a population of over 336,000, and is culturally diverse. Many foreign-born immigrants choose to settle in Windsor, with around 28 percent of the population identifying as BIPOC. The average age in Windsor is 41, and children under 15 make up a little over 16 percent of the population, which are both about on par for Canada’s national averages. 17.6 percent of the population is over 65.
The population density of Windsor is comparatively low, with 322 per square kilometre, and there are about 133,000 total homes available. A little over 88 percent of the residents speak English only, with nearly 9 percent speaking both English and French.
Renters and owners
Out of nearly 133,000 private households accounted for in the 2016 census, 71 percent own their homes, with 29 percent renting. 6 percent of the total private households are condominiums. The vast majority of the private household are three-bedroom homes, with four-bedroom dwellings coming in just ahead of two-bedroom places. From this, you can assume that two to three-bedroom apartments and single-family homes will be the type of home that’s most in-demand, although if you find a niche market, you could certainly try to rent other types of places.
Windsor's Economic outlook
The transportation, manufacturing and tourism sectors are a key part of Windsor’s economy, although, with about 20 percent of the population 55 or older, the city is looking to find ways to attract younger residents to keep the economy going. Right now, the area’s focus is on what to do as its older residents retire—and what to do if there aren’t enough younger workers to keep the population and workforce steady.
That makes Windsor a smart place to invest, as long as you’re not depending on a get-rich-quick scheme. Investing now ensures that as the city implements measures to bring in more workers—especially immigrants, who make up a significant part of Windsor’s economic backbone—your investment will grow in value. The Windsor and Ontario governments are making population growth one of their chief foci, which is a positive sign for real estate investors.
A reasonable cost of living
As of July 2019, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Windsor is $820, and a two-bedroom apartment is $990—a far cry from Toronto’s $2,290 and $2,850, respectively. In 2019, the rental market was booming—statistics for 2020 aren’t available yet, but the city’s roots in essential trade, manufacturing and health care are good signs for steady growth. The city was growing faster than anywhere else in Canada.
Windsor is one of the more affordable major metropolitan areas in Canada, especially as compared to Toronto and Vancouver, which makes it the perfect place to get in on the ground floor. Since the city is actively trying to recruit more talent for its workforce, savvy real estate investors should seriously consider this area if they’re looking for properties that will appreciate over the next decade.
Of course, when you’re looking to invest, it’s smart to know who you might be renting to. Windsor has plenty of local history, from First Nations tribes to French settlements and American entanglements during the War of 1812 Civil War and Prohibition, which is reflected in its numerous historical museums and districts.
Windsor is nicknamed “The City of Roses,” and its outdoor gardens are part of its robust horticultural and sculptural art community. There are plenty of outdoor gardens to enjoy, but the largest may be the park stretching across the Detroit River and overlooking its skyline, home to the Windsor Sculpture Park. There is also a beach and plenty of nature to enjoy, making it a great place for urban outdoors people.
Notably, the city is a place for young Americans to cross the border and enjoy drinking at a younger age than they can enjoy in their own country. Windsor is also a popular gambling destination for Canadians and Americans alike—Caesar’s Windsor brings in over six million gamblers per year.
With a rich history and affordable living, Windsor is a smart place to invest. This urban area is specifically devoting time and effort to bringing in a new wave of workers, which means that if you invest here, you’ll be setting yourself up for investments that will appreciate over time.