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Could Thorold be Toronto’s newest suburb?

As seen on The Toronto Star

City with small-town charm and affordable real estate newest option for hopeful homebuyers


Price surges, bidding wars and strain on supply have pulled hopeful homebuyers’ search radius closer to the U.S. border than ever before, as Torontonians reject the high cost of living and entertain the idea of moving outwards in search of a quieter, simpler way of life.

“Prior to 2015, most of the homebuyers at our Southwestern Ontario communities were either locals or from west GTA, mainly from Mississauga and Brampton,” says Gary Mcilravey, manager, market research at Empire Communities. “This has changed over the past two years as housing prices in the GTA have increased. Mississauga and Brampton buyers have intensified, and buyers from Toronto and other GTA areas have increased the most.”

Affordability is driving the decision to relocate into the Greater Golden Horseshoe. As communities like Niagara Falls and St. Catharines continue to feel the spillover effects from GTA-ers dreaming of making the Niagara Region their home, homebuilders are tapping into other nearby cities where there is still land supply to develop new homes.

One of these cities projected to experience tremendous growth is Thorold. Tucked just below the southern edge of St. Catharines off Highway 406, Thorold for many years was off the beaten path as most people moved to more well-known, nearby communities. According to regional population growth projections, Thorold is expected to reach about 30,000 people by 2041, from its current population of 18,800.

In a recent news interview, Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani said the city’s growth stems largely in part from the mass GTA exodus happening in the region. “First of all, you have people cashing in their $1.5-million home and coming down here where they can get a brand-new home for $500,000,” he said. “We can keep our well-paying jobs in the GTA and we can afford a house in Niagara. That’s the demographic that’s coming down here.”

Coupled with real estate prices, the city’s unique charm and small-town character have made an impact on homebuyers looking for a change of pace and a connection to nature. The proximity to the Welland Canal, which features a paved waterside trail and is part of the Greater Niagara Circle Route (linking a series of Niagara Trails to the Trans Canada Trail) makes it a great location for hikers and cycling enthusiasts.

Homebuilders like Empire Communities are working to meet the demand, with a plan to bring about 1,000 new townhomes and detached homes to the town. In a market with a wide shortage of new housing options and new sites selling out virtually overnight, the Legacy development will be a rare and unique opportunity for families to call Thorold home.

Find out more about life in Thorold through Empire Communities’ Legacy.