Every year the CMHC (the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) puts on the CHMC Waterloo Region Housing Outlook Conference to help us understand and plan for where the region’s housing market is headed. This year the conference is being held at the Crown Plaza in Downtown Kitchener.
This year I plan to go.
The impact the aging population will have on the local housing market.
Are we overbuilding in the apartment segment?
General forecasts for home sales and trends.
Over the past 15 years, residential renovation spending has outpaced growth in economic activity. Many people (like myself) would rather renovate than relocate. This may be especially true in the urban core. I know last summer there were at least five huge renovation projects in my UpTown Waterloo neighbourhood. Also true, everyone knows that the baby boomers are traditionally homeowners. What we all may not know is that they make up the fastest growing segment of Waterloo Region’s population. Many will stay in their present homes and renovate them to better suit their needs. Others will take the plunge and actually downsize into a condominium. Some will cash out and rent.
Waterloo Region’s housing markets have been strong since the recession. What is driving our growth? Will it continue at the same pace? Will our housing market become like Toronto’s?
Older and Younger
At the same time as the large local baby boom impacts our housing market, Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge have become younger. The universities and colleges bring tens of thousands of young people here to study. More and more of them are staying after graduation, finding jobs and then buying houses. High tech giants like Google, Electronic Arts and Desire to Learn, and nearly 1000 start ups bring young techies into the region. The GoTrain and the future LRT have transformed Kitchener Waterloo from a big town into a small city.