Niagara – it's about a lot more than the Falls

By Wayne Karl
April 27, 2022

Niagara Region often inspires thoughts of the Falls themselves, those natural wonders to which a visit never grows old.

But beyond the awe-inspiring beauty and power of the Falls and the Niagara River, Niagara Region offers a lot more that’s worthy of just a weekend getaway.

Encompassing towns such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland, the Niagara Region is blessed with a great natural location.

It occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula, bounded by the U.S. to the south and on the north by Lake Ontario, and of course the Niagara Escarpment – all of which offers strong potential for business and lifestyle choices.

These natural landscapes and climate make the Niagara Region perfect for agri-businesses such as winemaking – a key economic sector. The Niagara Wine Route, for example, connects dozens of wineries and is a growing tourism draw, complementing cultural events such as the Shaw Festival.

Indeed, a visit to the area can involve a stop at the Falls, winery tours, the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Botanical Gardens, with its Floral Clock and Butterfly Conservatory, several championship golf courses, and a growing casino industry in downtown Niagara Falls.

But this is all for play. To live and work in the region is another matter.

Economic growth

Again, a blessing of location, Niagara is within 800 km of two provinces, nine states and 130 million people on both sides of the border. This means opportunities for business. The trade that flows across Niagara’s borders totals more than $100 billion annually, and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada and the U.S. The infrastructure network to support this trade activity comprises five international bridges, multiple railways and the Welland Canal, linking Lake Erie into the St. Lawrence Seaway system.

All of this is conducive to growth potential for the region’s manufacturing and transportation and logistics sectors, to complement the historical strength in agriculture and tourism.

Niagara’s economy has shown steady growth in a number of areas, particularly in job creation and new investment, but still lags slightly behind Ontario averages. The Niagara economic development department confirms the area still has challenges in higher unemployment, lower participation rate and lower household income per capita.

New home development

As the economy grows and affords people more opportunity to live and work in Niagara – or close by – new- home development is following.

Much of the housing growth is in the lowrise category, as buyers from the GTA find the lot sizes and price points far more appealing and affordable.

But that, too, is changing, as some consumers prefer the condo lifestyle, even in a nature-rich area such as Niagara. Developers are responding in kind, with several new condo projects, many of them midrise or boutique condominiums.

Homes by DeSantis, for example, is launching Century Condos, a four-storey, 87-unit luxury offering in downtown Grimsby with suites ranging from 490 to 1,230 sq. ft. – so named to mark the 100th anniversary of the town.

Century Condos will enjoy a prominent location on Main Street in Grimsby, which is undergoing something of a renaissance, with the downtown core being reimagined to create a more pedestrian-friendly culture.

Lucchetta Homes, Blythwood Homes, Silvergate Homes and other developers are also active in the area, with projects of various housing types in Ridgeway, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lake Erie.

Part of the appeal for homebuyers in Niagara, of course, is affordability relative to Toronto and other parts of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. But even that is changing. According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, for the fourth quarter of 2021, aggregate median home prices in Niagara-St. Catharines were $654,100. This is up 6.2 per cent from $615,900 in the third quarter – but 30.8 per cent from $500,200 in the third quarter of 2020.

This year-over-year price growth is among the highest performing not just in Ontario, but in all of Canada.

Location, location, location

A regional municipality in Southern Ontario comprising 12 municipalities such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland; 130 kms from Toronto; 86 kms from Hamilton.

Key landmarks

• Botanical Gardens
• Casino Niagara
• Clifton Hill
• Fallsview Casino
• Legends on the Niagara
Golf Course
• Lundy’s Lane
• Niagara Falls
• Niagara Wine Route
• Skylon Tower
• Welland Canal
• Whirlpool Golf Course

Select housing developments

• Century Condos
By Homes by DeSantis

• Claret
By Capital North Communities

• Harbourtown Village
By Silvergate Homes

• Legends on the Green
By Silvergate Homes

• Lusso Urban Towns
By Lucchetta Homes

• On the Ridge
By Rosehaven Homes

• One Fonthill Condominiums
By Mountainview Homes

• Riverside at Hunters Pointe
By Lucchetta Homes

• Shelter Cove
By Shelter Cove

• The Oaks at Six Mile Creek
By Blythwood Homes

About Wayne Karl

Wayne Karl is an award-winning writer and editor with experience in real estate and business. Wayne explores the basics – such as economic fundamentals – you need to examine when buying property.

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