A few weeks ago, I posted a short article which outlined the dynamics which are causing smaller-market towns all over Southwestern Ontario to experience a surge in buyer interest and new home construction. As a quick recap, there are two primary forces at play here:

1) Ever-increasing average prices in markets immediately surrounding the GTA over the past several years have caused prospective buyers there to look farther afield in their search for a family home at a more reasonable price, and;

2) COVID and its resulting office closures have led many companies and their workers to realize that with 21st century technology, a physical office is no longer a necessity for many jobs. Newly minted telecommuters who don’t need to live in close proximity to GTA offices and corporate headquarters are moving outside of the big cities for more space at a better price.

Housing options for people who fall under one (or both) of these categories are scattered all around the Golden Horseshoe, from south-east of Hamilton on the escarpment, all the way around Brant County and Waterloo Region, and up into communities like Uxbridge north-east of the GTA.

But for my money, a good many of the most attractive options for people either working from home or commuting a few times a week into Hamilton or the GTA are clustered just south of Kitchener-Waterloo in Brant County. Picturesque towns and villages like Glen Morris, St George and Paris benefit from their close proximity to major urban centres (all under an hour from KW, Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, etc.), as well as playing host to the most essential of amenities right in town, like grocers, pharmacies, post offices and more. Not to mention the natural beauty of the Grand River and surrounding forests, lakes and farmlands!

Just this past week, I was fortunate enough to list a beautiful full-size family home in a newer area of Paris, just a few minutes from the downtown strip. Construction in the suburbs of Paris has boomed over the past several years, as builders and developers attempt to keep up with demand from people seeking an exit to the hectic pace of the big city. Outlying areas with upscale properties and newer parks and schools are a huge draw for families looking for more bang for their buck. Homes in these areas which are now selling for under $1M could easily fetch 150% or more of those prices if picked up and dropped in the GTA.

Located at the confluence of the Nith River and the larger Grand River, Paris was first settled permanently in 1829, and over the next 50 years quickly grew to a population nearing 3,000 people. The early town was home to industries powered by the riverway, with concerns including mills, foundries and gypsum mines. But the real surge in the town’s growth has occurred in the past 50 years, between 1970 and 2020 – a period of time in which the population doubled from roughly 6,000 to the nearly 12,500 residents it can now claim. Charming shops and restaurants line the downtown thoroughfare of Grand River Street North, with river views which have led to Paris being recently voted the “Prettiest Little Town in Canada” by Harrowsmith Magazine. A busy community and vibrant culture come to the fore during seasonal festivals like the Fall Fair, which takes place over Labour Day weekend and has been known to draw some big names from the country music scene.

The beauty and appeal of this community is only heightened as a magnet for new residents by the proximity of Highway 403 – quite literally five minutes outside of town, and a rapid and direct route into Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington and the rest of the GTA.

I hope you’ve found this primer to be enjoyable and informative! If you or your family are entertaining thoughts of a move to a smaller market like Paris, myself and Chestnut Park West would be happy to help you – our agents know these markets well, and are honoured to have been serving them for years. And, in the weeks to come, I’m looking forward to profiling other attractive destinations for you too!

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