There’s a lot more than cannabis growing in Smiths Falls these days. As the community celebrates the end of a monumental year, the town of Smiths Falls is booming in more ways than one, with an increase in real estate and construction development that has reached record highs.
The impetus behind these increases lies primarily with investment from Canopy Growth Corporation (Tweed), and the wealth of jobs created by the cannabis giant since settling in Smiths Falls in 2014.
“Over the past four years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in our community,” Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development & Tourism, said. “A great deal of that growth can be attributed to Canopy Growth Corporation’s confidence in investing in our community, but there are other factors at play here as well.”
Those other factors include resettlement opportunities following the relocation of the Department of National Defence to the west end of Ottawa, a complete rebranding, and an increased investment in services and economic development in Smiths Falls, all of which has helped push the community into becoming a sought-after destination for relocation in Eastern Ontario.
The proof is in the numbers for Smiths Falls: Between 2013 and 2015, construction values fluctuated between $3.5 million and $6 million annually, on average. In 2016, those numbers increased to $9 million, and then jumped $30 million in 2017, before reaching an all-time high of $161 million in the first three-quarters of 2018 alone, a more than 400% increase from the previous year.
The growth in construction value not only means increased assessments for the municipality, it also is an indicator of the confidence developers and investors have placed in the community’s future growth.
Park View Homes is one developer that has seen first-hand the effects of the recent growth in the community. Park View spent nearly 10 years developing the Ferrara Meadows subdivision in Smiths Falls, which reached capacity in 2018.
Ken Shelley, Vice President of Asset Management, Park View Homes, explained that until recently, Park View had been building only a couple of homes in Smiths Falls each year, but that demand for new housing has increased exponentially. In 2017, Park View built 14 new homes in Ferrara Meadows, and an additional 13 homes in Maple Ridge, an adjoining subdivision.
Park View Homes is now entering into the first phase of a brand-new subdivision, Bellamy Farms, a 50-acre development that will see an additional 265 townhomes and one-story bungalows, along with at least one apartment building. More than 60 homes will be part of the first phase of development, with an expectation of completion within two years, and an increase of more than $18 million in construction value.
Park View has also taken on the renovations of the Smiths Falls architectural icon, Hotel Rideau, to create 25 one-and-two-bedroom residential units and three ground-floor commercial units, with an anticipated construction value of $3.5 million.
Shelley explained that he would expect this increase in development in Smiths Falls to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Canopy Growth Corporation is the biggest driver for what’s happening in Smiths Falls,” Shelley said, “It has had a ripple effect, they’re hiring people which puts a demand for housing, and then there’s more demand for retail and services. We’re feeling the effects of this in a good way for sure.”
The increase in construction has seen a corresponding increase in the local real estate market. According to Rob Garvin, a Re/Max Affiliates Sales Representative who has spent roughly 10 years selling homes in the Smiths Falls and surrounding areas, the real estate market in Smiths Falls is booming.
“This is definitely a sellers’ market, and we’ve seen quite an increase in price over the last few years,” Garvin said.
There are a few factors that Garvin looks to for an idea of the state of the housing market in Smiths Falls, and one of those is the number of homes he’s been selling each year, along with selling price, and renewed development in the community as a whole. Garvin confirmed the number of homes he sells in a year is “definitely up” and that the kind of sales he’s making have been impacted, with competitive opportunities arising that have been previously unseen in Smiths Falls and area.
“Some properties aren’t even hitting the market, they sell before it gets to MLS,” Garvin said, “Properties are also selling higher than their list price, which I’ve never seen in Smiths Falls in the 10 years I’ve been in business.”
Residential and multi-unit commercial properties are “selling overnight” according to Garvin, and development in the community is at a record high.
The reason behind the boom, according to Garvin, not only comes from Canopy Growth Corporation bringing new employees to the community, but it’s also as a result of the relocation of the DND headquarters to the west end of Ottawa, and a “publicity buzz” that has highlighted the advantages of living in an up and coming community like Smiths Falls.
“This is still a super sought after area for retirees looking to downsize to a high-end bungalow in a quiet community,” Garvin said, noting “Smiths Falls is still one of the more affordable places to buy real estate, and although inventory is low, there are still opportunities to purchase homes here.”
At town hall, the feeling is one of optimism as new jobs and new opportunities are realized in the community.
“The numbers tell us we are growing and expanding, which is a good news story for everyone in the community, from real estate developers to investors,” Mayor Shawn Pankow said, “The people of Smiths Falls have always looked to hard work and perseverance in order to prosper, and I’m happy to say that we are seeing the results of years of hard work from the community.”
For further information, contact:
Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism
Town of Smiths Falls
613-283-4124 ext. 1107
Box 695, 77 Beckwith St. N., Smiths Falls, Ontario K7A 4T6
Phone: 613-283-4124 Fax: 613-283-4764 Website at www.smithsfalls.ca.