How to spot an up-and-coming neighbourhood

When I purchased my first home on Argyle Street, just off of Ossington Ave I was a little unsure about the neighbourhood. There were only two decent restaurants (The Foxley and Golden Turtle) at the time and a lot of vacant storefronts along Ossington Ave. I really wanted to be on the east side of Trinity Bellwoods park but there simply was nothing available that we could afford. Queen Street West was getting better and better and more stores were opening up the further west you went so we took a gamble at purchased a cute row house just a few doors west of Ossington. Within two years, Ossington Ave transformed into the hip street it is today, restaurants were finding cheaper rent and designers found a great location to showcase their fashion. We got lucky and were able to buy something in an up and coming neighbourhood that is full of life now.

The Toronto Real Estate Board just published some great tips on how to spot an up-and-coming neighbourhood:

Location, location, location

A neighbourhood that may appear less than ideal, but adjacent to other desirable neighbourhoods will eventually benefit from an outward cycle of development. Similarly, a less populated neighbourhood that is on a main transit line or close to a major highway will eventually start to see development, and attract new residents, sparking improvements for the neighbourhood.

Retail investment

If you suddenly see a Starbucks, a Whole Foods, or even a delectable artisanal cheese shop open up in an otherwise undesirable neighbourhood, there’s a good chance that change is in store. Major retail chains typically do a sizable amount of research to ensure a neighbourhood is stable before they decide to plant roots, so you’ll feel more comfortable planting your roots there as well.

On the mend

Government spending on neighbourhood infrastructure and homeowner investment in renovations are sure signs a neighbourhood is on the rise. A new park or freshly paved roads could indicate the beginning of a trend, as does a new level of curb appeal.

Going, going, gone!

Are the “Days on Market” in the neighbourhood on the decline? Chances are that the neighbourhood is in demand and buyers are taking notice. To determine the average days on market in your prospective neighbourhood, talk to a Realtor.

Demography has it

Spot a neighbourhood with a lot of young people, artists and musicians? These groups tend to lead the way when it comes to establishing neighbourhood credibility – they move where the rent is cheap and import oodles of coolness. It won’t be long until the aforementioned artisanal cheese shop shows up along with a huge wave of neighbourhood envy. Get in while you can!

Charmed, I’m sure

Find a neighbourhood with plenty of Victorian homes or mid-century moderns just itching for a reno? Chances are these homes will get their renos soon, so jump on your chance to snag that beautiful Tudor before someone else sees its charm. Bonus points for neighbourhoods that were previously centres of industry.

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