Is your neighbourhood experiencing gentrification? What are some of the tell-tale signs of gentrification to look for?

Knowing the answer to this question can either save you lots of money or make you even more if you're in the market for a home. Buy low and sell high didn't become the most repeated saying in the investment world for no reason - that's how you get a real return on your investment and, in this case, potentially wind up in the hottest up and coming neighbourhoods before they become too expensive.

It's not always easy to tell when an area is about to explode in value but there are definitely some long term indications that you can look for. Whether you are thinking about selling your home or buying one to build equity, here are some of the signs to look for in a gentrifying neighbourhood.

1. Re-Development Is Picking Up

This is the first major sign that an area has hope for gentrification. Re-development comes in many shapes and sizes but here are some of the most common:

  • Expanding transit services to a new area or improving service in an older area (a great example of this is the proposed re-development of the Stadium LRT station)
  • More city money is being allocated to infrastructure
  • More playgrounds and schools popping up

2. Condos Are Being Built

This falls under development and re-development but is worth mentioning on its own. Springing up condos in previously rougher areas is a great way to give reasonable prices on new units and, over time, it brings in literally thousands of people that can single handedly re-shape the economic landscape of the neighbourhood. When you see that old Coffee Time getting torn down and getting turned into a brand new condo development, that's a clear-cut sign of gentrification.

3. Young People Are Flocking

Although this one might not be as easy to pick up on at first, young people tend to flock where the prices are cheap. This is good because they bring a unique vibe to a neighbourhood and occasionally have a way of turning rundown neighbourhoods in to the latest trendy area. It might sound stereotypical but there is a lot of data to support this.

4. Restaurants Are Evolving

Suddenly all those great hole-in-the-wall restaurants are turning into chic cafés and classier dining spots. It's always a sign when that once trendy (yet virtually unknown) spot all of a sudden starts charging twice the price and serving half the portions. This might seem almost disappointing at first but it's a sure sign of gentrification when it begins happening more often. 

5. Shopping Is Getting Better

How good is the shopping in the area? Do you see more dollar stores and lower end grocery stores or are they starting to build one of those nice, newer grocery stores that have a Whole Foods vibe? Trust that the big businesses in the area have done their homework and have likely invested lots of money to figure out the economic landscape. If they are spending their money to build a multi-million dollar business catering to a slightly higher-scale clientele than previously seen, there is likely some research behind it.

Another great example is the type of shopping that is available. Do you have lower-end retail stores in the area or are there great sources of shopping in close proximity? People love to shop but hate to travel to get there. The closer you are to great shopping centers that are popping up, the better your future equity is going to look.

Is Your Neighbourhood Gentrifying?

Take a look at these signs of gentrification and compare them to your neighbourhood. Keep in mind that this doesn’t guarantee your area is going to skyrocket in value but they are some of the more common signs that you can spot ahead. If you are observant and can keep an eye out for these signs, it’s very likely that you’ll spot a diamond in the rough before prices get too high to buy.

Are you wondering about Edmonton areas that are on the rise? Check out these my pick for the best Edmonton neighbourhoods for 2014 that I have my eye on.

Posted by Chris Proctor on
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