Though millennials are expected to account for up to 35 per cent of home sales this year, it’s no secret that many are getting priced out of red hot housing markets like Toronto’s and are looking further afield for their dream homes.
One place they’re looking in increasing numbers is Belleville, where average home prices are around $300,000 and the amenities rival any in Ontario. Seriously, where else will you find 1,200 kilometres of water-front near your doorstep for that price? Or dozens of award-winning restaurants, wineries and breweries within a half-hour drive? Or four hospitals, public and private schools, and a renowned college nearby?
If you’re thinking of making the move to Belleville, read on for three neighbourhoods you should definitely consider.
Encompassing the area south of Dundas Street East and just west of the Moira River, this neighbourhood is close to the waterfront and set to be one of the hottest in Belleville over the next few years. The reason: as elderly residents begin selling, developers and people will look to build and live closer to the water.
Average home prices: Varies tremendously. You’ll find everything from new $600,000 townhouses and $350,000 condos, to $250,000 modest, older homes perfect for first-time buyers.
Types of homes: Houses under $300,000 are typically 1.5 storeys in this neighbourhood, and usually 700 to 1000 square feet or slightly larger. Many sit on nice lots with big backyards, while others barely have yards at all. Most homes are over 60 years old, but a few are under 10.
Demographics: About 50% of people living here are over 50 years old, so many are retired. About 10% are 20 to 30 years old
Attractions: Great restaurants, shopping and downtown are within walking distance, and the waterfront trail and Bay of Quinte are steps from your door.
Downtown Belleville’s renaissance is in full swing right now, and it’s where you’ll find locally-owned shops and cafés, great restaurants, a theatre, and a farmers’ market. Though the area is generally thought of as that between Front Street and Church Street south of Station Street, I’m also including Old East Hill, which runs from Church Street to Bleecker Avenue.
Average home prices: The average downtown condo is roughly priced at around $220,000. In Old East Hill, you can get a solid home for under $250,000, though the average east end home price is about $277,000.
Types of homes: In downtown proper, you’ll only find condos, and they are usually 1,000 square feet or less. Many are updated or brand new, though, and boast open concepts and a chic city style. In Old East Hill, many of the homes are well over 100 years old and are 1.5 or 2 storeys. You’ll find a lot of modest three-bedroom properties here that are around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet.
Demographics: A quarter of the population here are between 20 and 44 years old. Most are married, and some couples have one child but not large families. Many are sales and government workers.
Attractions: All of the amenities of downtown, of course, plus the waterfront trail is nearby. Old East Hill, in particular, is a quiet neighbourhood with mature trees and yards, and lots of parks and green spaces nearby.
West Park Village
Belleville’s biggest pocket of young professionals and millennials are found in this slow-paced west end neighbourhood near Sidney Street north of Moira Street and south of Bell Boulevard.
Average home prices: The average price in the west end is around $240,000, though homes in newer subdivisions here are much higher.
Types of homes: You’ll find a lot of 50-year-old bungalows here that have typically had one or two families living in them previously. Many have large yards.
Demographics: About 40% of the population is between the ages of 20 and 44, while 19% is between 20 and 29. Not surprisingly, you’re more likely to find families in the neighbourhood, most with 2 or 3 children.
Attractions: Though this is a quiet area away from the busiest areas of Belleville, the upside is that if you’re a millennial with a family (or thinking of starting one), you’ll find plenty of people just like you here. Plus, you’re close to grocery stores, and there are lots of parks, schools and recreation facilities nearby.