Why Buying a House in Kitchener-Waterloo is Great for Remote Workers
Updated: Feb 17
The past year has brought remote work into the mainstream. No longer is the home office a nice perk reserved only for the privileged few, but rather a norm in many industries. That has led to greater flexibility in where people choose to live. It helps explain why so many people are buying houses in Kitchener-Waterloo and throughout Southwestern Ontario.
In fact, real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, is red hot at the moment. Home sales in the city soared by 42% year-over-year in December.
And the city is hardly an anomaly. Soaring housing sales in the region are part of a wider trend being observed among secondary cities across the globe. Thanks to remote work, these smaller cities are booming.
Kitchener-Waterloo offers big draws for anybody who works from home. Below we’ll look at a few of the reasons the region is a magnet for this type of homebuyer, including:
· Proximity to Toronto
· A thriving technology sector
· Lifestyle amenities
Kitchener-Waterloo housing is affordable for Toronto buyers
Kitchener-Waterloo isn’t the cheapest real estate market in Southwestern Ontario. In fact, the average home price in the city is $612,400, well above the average of $475,600 in London-St. Thomas, the $466,600 in Woodstock-Ingersoll, or the $332,416 in Chatham-Kent.
Plus, housing prices are soaring in Kitchener-Waterloo, up 19.3% over just the past year.
Despite those facts, affordability is one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s biggest selling points. The reason comes down to one word: Toronto. The average price for a home in the Greater Toronto Area is $902,500.
Since the GTA includes many suburbs, that figure rises even higher the closer you get to the city centre. In Downtown Toronto, for example, the median price for a detached home is nearly $2 million! In fact, it’s not until you go out to Scarborough or Etobicoke that you’ll start finding houses for less than $1 million.
With eye-popping prices like that, a house in Kitchener-Waterloo for just over $600,000 is a bargain. So, it’s no surprise that Kitchener-Waterloo’s rising house sales are being driven mainly by people from Toronto looking for more house for less money. With more Toronto workers no longer having to go into the office every day, they are finding Kitchener-Waterloo an especially appealing area to move to.
Kitchener-Waterloo lets remote workers stay close to Toronto
That being said, remote workers don’t want to stray too far from the big city. An advantage to living in Kitchener-Waterloo is that it is still in close proximity to Toronto. The drive between the two cities takes just a little over an hour and they are both connected via Highway 401.
Plus, the GO Train serves Kitchener-Waterloo, meaning commuters can get to Downtown Toronto from Kitchener Station in a little over 90 minutes. That makes Kitchener-Waterloo one of the easiest cities in Southwestern Ontario for getting to and from Toronto.
That proximity is something that will be especially important for remote workers once the current pandemic comes to an end and the economy fully reopens. While it is almost certain that remote working will remain popular after the pandemic, it is also true that many workers will still need to go into the office occasionally. As a result, living in a city that is still reasonably close to Toronto is going to be extremely important for the post-pandemic workforce.
Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech sector makes remote work a breeze
Kitchener-Waterloo is rightfully known as the Silicon Valley of the North. In fact, it has the second-highest density of start-ups in the world after Silicon Valley. The city’s thriving technology sector makes it especially appealing for remote workers.
For one, people in the technology sector—like many white-collar workers—are more likely to have switched to remote work during the pandemic. A city where remote work is already the norm is extremely appealing to homebuyers.
Furthermore, remote workers are more likely to have attained a higher degree of education and to be in white-collar positions. That makes it important for them to live in a city where such positions are readily available. Major employers like Google, OpenText, Oracle, Intel, Shopify and many other large tech companies have offices in the region. Such companies show that Kitchener-Waterloo offers excellent employment opportunities for professionals who are more likely to work at least part of the time from home.
Buying a house in Kitchener-Waterloo comes with lifestyle perks
Leaving Toronto for Kitchener-Waterloo also means not giving up the lifestyle amenities that make Toronto so appealing. Kitchener-Waterloo is far from being a small town, with the population of Waterloo Region (which includes Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge) being over 600,000.
As a result, plenty of big city amenities are found in Kitchener-Waterloo. A light rail transit system has helped make the city far more pedestrian-friendly, while a large network of bike paths and trails makes getting around on two wheels easy. There is also a ton of greenspace to enjoy, from historic Victoria Park to the expansive Laurel Creek Conservation Area.
While Kitchener and Waterloo are often treated as a single city, they both have their own vibrant downtown areas featuring cafes, restaurants and boutique shops.
Plus, there are plenty of cultural attractions and events, including the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany and Centre in the Square, one of the largest and most advanced performing arts venues in North America.