About The Niagara Region
Niagara Region Real Estate Guide
The Niagara region is one of wonder – and the Niagara real estate market offers tremendous opportunities. While the first thing that likely comes to your mind is the world-famous Niagara Falls, the area plays host to so much more. From the glitz and glam of the city of Niagara Falls to the quaint Niagara-on-the-Lake, to artisanal haven Twenty Valley, to bustling St. Catherines, each region offers something a little different – all with a warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
The whole region, which lies between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, benefits from a micro-climate, offering more temperate weather than nearby GTA. The weather makes the region ideal for recreational outdoorsy types looking for long seasons of golf, cycling and boating. The 300 kilometres of biking trails and 40 golf courses don’t hurt either. For those looking to buy a place they intend to live in when they retire, the cooler summers, and milder winters are also very appealing.
The Niagara Escarpment, which is the geological formation that makes this climate possible, is an internationally recognized biosphere reserve, that stretches from Watertown, NY to Manitoulin Island. This makes the region perfect for growing. Eighty percent of the country’s grapes (and wine) are produced here, and the region’s licensed cannabis industry has doubled in the past 2 years. Also exploding is the craft beer and distillery scene. Wine tours, cooking classes, yoga among the vines, dinners under the canopy of trees and courses in all things beer and spirits offer locals far more than the occasional wine tour or tasting flight.
But it’s not just agriculture that draws businesses to the region. There are financial incentives for those looking to own in the area, for anyone who wants to develop, invest or start a business. B&B anyone?
For those seeking to escape 12 months of the year, the Niagara region has so much to offer. Wineries for days, renowned destination spas, indoor water parks for family fun and farm-to-table restaurants that draw foodies from across the province. For those seeking culture, exceptional talent and critics alike are drawn to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the world-class Shaw Festival Theatre. Plus, the region brings numerous concerts and comedy shows thanks to the wide variety of live music and entertainment venues in the area.
There are lots of ways to own Niagara real estate too. With heart-of-the-city and close-to-off-the-grid options, this region offers something for just about every second property buyer. And while waterfront looks more like a condo in Port Dalhousie than it does a lakefront cottage somewhere else – for many buyers, this is just the type of water view they are looking for. Homes here range from detached luxury waterfront estates, smaller bungalows, some apartment-style condos and rural/ farm properties.
Not to be overlooked is the proximity to the US. With so many snowbirds splitting their time between Canada and the southern states, the Niagara region offers the perfect launchpad, with more affordable flights a short drive over the border.
Related: How to Buy a Second Home in Ontario
The Real Estate Scoop
Niagara Real Estate
In the Niagara area, you’ll find the full range of types of homes: detached homes - from luxury estates and some waterfront homes to smaller bungalows and rural/farm properties. There are also some apartment-style condos, though they are not abundant.
Attached bungalow condos are becoming increasingly popular. These offer the convenience of having someone cut the grass and shovel the snow but still give owners the chance to have a separate space with garages and gardens. These are a big hit with those who want to simply lock the door and head off – both retirees going south for the winter and GTA people who stay on the weekends then head back to the city.
The Niagara real estate market tends to be calmer and more balanced than the GTA. In general, prices are stable and tend to increase at a slower pace than T.O. with less fluctuation.
In 2017 and part of 2018 there was a spike in activity and prices when buyers priced out of the GTA market made the move to the Niagara region. That surge has passed and things have returned to the usual market pace.
Niagara Real Estate for Investors
Niagara buyers tend to "buy and hold". There are few "flips" or other investor behavior seen in and around Toronto.
Airbnb is complicated here. In fact, most jurisdictions do not allow it. If this is part of your plan, do your research.
Real Estate Prices in Niagara
|AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET||66||56||29||38|
|# OF SALES||5,809||7,301||7,289||6,429|
The Niagara Region Communities
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a small community steeped in history. Once known as Newark, it holds the prestige as having been the capital of Upper Canada, when it was founded in 1791. The town as we know it today was established when the townships of Niagara were amalgamated in 1970.
Residents here, many of whom are GTA transplants, second homeowners or retirees, are quick to point out the exceptional art scene, the wineries that dot the region and the simple, carefree lifestyle. But it’s the sense of community that they believe really set this part of the Niagara real estate and lifestyle opportunities apart. Welcoming newcomers with open arms, this is not the kind of place that draws a divide between the “real residents” and those who’ve just arrived. Which makes it an excellent choice for those looking to slide into a vibrant, welcoming lifestyle from day one.
The Shaw Festival, world-class spas, and some of Canada’s best restaurants are also here. And golfers will appreciate the semi-private The Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club - North America’s oldest course. You also don’t want to miss the Saturday Farmer’s Market that brings the best locally grown produce to The Market at the Village; or Wednesday’s SupperMarket offers residents and visitors alike, a laid back, foodie feast with food trucks and restaurants, live music, fresh local wine, produce, baked goods, fruit, cheese, flowers and a free kid-zone.
When you add in the temperate climate, the variety of choices for real estate and the proximity to the GTA, it’s easy to see why NOTL is the hottest place to buy real estate in the region.
If you need to know more about Niagara-on-the-Lake, visit the Town’s website
When the central focus point of your city is one of the “natural wonders of the world,” it’s easy to see why it draws all the attention. But for those looking to buy a second property, there’s a lot more to this city than the tourists could tell you about. “The Honeymoon Capital of the World” has exceptional urban amenities, despite its size. You have quick and easy access to beautiful waterfront trails and wonderful green space. The notable arts and entertainment scene draws patrons from far and wide. And for those who travel frequently, the ability to skip across the border and fly from the US is a handy perk.
There is a lot more to see and do that visit the Falls, casino and the attractions on Lundy’s Lane. The butterfly conservatory is one of the largest in North America. And the Winter Festival of Lights brings more than a million people to revel in the beauty of this community for nearly 2 months in winter.
For buyers looking for a lower price and easy access to more amenities, an urban move like this makes perfect sense. Here, like St. Catharines, you’ll find properties choices very much as you’ll see in Toronto – detached and semi-detached homes, townhouses and condominium options, all at a lower price than you would find in the GTA, and also more affordable than NOTL.
If you are searching for a more urban spot for your second property, you’d love to pay less for more, and would prefer to live where the tourists are not, St. Catharines has a lot to offer you. It’s the largest city in the region but has lots of the little touches that make people fall in love with the Niagara area.
Known as “The Garden City,” St. Catharines is a nature-lovers delight. Here, the lush parks, trails galore and gardens will have your inner Martha clapping with delight. This lovely city is also home to the world’s longest running farmer’s market. A central point on the Welland Canal, you can join the visitors that come from around the world to marvel at this engineering masterpiece. The new First Ontario Performing Arts Centre offers one hot ticket after another – with exceptional live music, theatre, comedy performances and more. But this venue is just one in the rich mosaic that makes up the entertainment scene. You’ll also find quaint boutiques, great food, community events all year long, and you’re a hop and a skip from enjoying everything Wine Country offers.
The quaint side village of Post Dalhousie offers an excellent spot to sneak off to on weekends, with historical lighthouses, charming restos, a beach and more.
The Twenty Valley – Rural Niagara
If you want to be close to the wine, there’s no better area to search than the Twenty Valley. Here, you’ll find primary rural or small community properties in towns like Jordan, Vineland and Lincoln. This is a much more private way of life, with pastoral views of farms and orchards at every turn.
You’ll soon become accustomed to the language of the area, where small lot, craft and artisanal rule the day. Foodies, wine buffs, craft beer and cider devotees will feel right at home here. But don’t mistake that to mean it’s highbrow, or exclusive. Quite the opposite – this unpretentious, down to earth and friendly area is all substance. Here, you’ll find people who revel in what they do and are keen to share.
With rolling hills and stunning landscapes, it’s easy to forget just how much is happening in this region – stellar restaurants, unique shopping, and events in every season. This area is also perfect for those seeking a more active lifestyle outside the city. Walking and hiking trails, cycling routes, golf and more offer lots of ways to spend time outside taking in the fresh Niagara air.
Of course, if you’re just cycling to make your way from one tasting to another, you’ll find more than 40 wineries and craft beer, cider and distillers in the area. The climate, soil and growing conditions here have created a unique environment that has drawn craftspeople and artisans to the Twenty Valley. Each one has poured their vision of perfection into every glass you sample, and will most certainly have you considering putting down some roots of your own.