So Why is the Cornwall Ontario Real Estate Market in the Toilet This Spring? By Jamie Gilcig 041618

Cornwall Ontario – Spring is normally a time that has a good real estate professional chomping at the bit.   Likewise professionals that earn their dosh from servicing the sales and renovations of property as well.

It’s an extensive net.

This Spring things are dead in Cornwall and we examine some of the major factors.

Corruption and High Taxation at City Hall

The word is out and has been for awhile.  While property prices have been struggling, those that do their research know that they cost of taxation in Cornwall outstrips the bit saved on entry. A vintage story from 2014 shared how a man sold his house in Milton for $240K, was excited to buy a brand new home in Cornwall for $220K only to see his tax bill nearly double!

Hydro isn’t cheaper here either really thanks to some really dumb councilors following some really corrupt machinations that just might have ended up getting Ed Lumley a really nice bonus cheque.  While Cornwall Electric, which is owned by Fortis doesn’t stick us with delivery and other fees, residents in Cornwall pay about three times as much for the exact same Hydro Quebec power that people in nearby Valleyfield do.   That’s a lot of profit and cash, but then again, when the City sold Cornwall Electric it was flipped to Fortis within 5 years for a hefty profit that has cost residents of this community ever since.

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Really Bad Realtors

Several weeks ago I asked to see a property.   The agent dillied and then complained that it was hard to show because there’s a tenant there. The law is pretty clear.  You give fair notice and show the property.      Another property I wanted to see last year was even worse.  The realtor actually said she was going to give up the listing because she couldn’t show it.    Poor communication, poor execution and lack of customer care.   Too many agents simply trying to hustle property for themselves and not enough locally taking care of the customer who writes the cheques.

70’s Era Marketing

Limp tiny print ads.  A lack of direct communications.  A weak and behind the times embrace of the digital revolution.  An example being that we don’t have a regular real estate agent listing in this newspaper in spite of having better values than US social media companies and more regional and local eyeballs than any other source.

High school attitudes by some agents.   “Well what other agents are advertising  with you? ” as though they were on the playground.   The few times we had agents we delivered success, but the agents knew little about marketing which made it harder to deliver the results.     Today’s buyers are online.  They want video; good photography.  They google and search and are more educated than yesterday’s buyers.

Lack of Good Inventory

Most of the houses being built just don’t cut it in today’s marketplace.   They seem to be built for single working mommies and seem to cut a lot of corners while being sold at comparable prices to other communities.  The inventory of older homes is shrinking especially lower end homes for first time buyers.  The abusively high rates of hydro from Fortis frighten some away too. For awhile many were buying in neighboring counties, but high hydro rates there too as well as abusive local governments make purchasing less desirable.  Look at South Glengarry for instance where developers seem to be in revolt of the Township officers.

Lack of Good Quality Investment Property

It’s tough to rent in a market when the economic level is shrinking.  People with good jobs are a dying breed it seems unless they are connected to the public sector and many of those are retiring leaving lesser paid workers with smaller families.   There’s also a shortage of apartments being built rather than condos.   Some apartments that have been built clearly are marked to turn condo and were simply hustles to get around bylaws.   Poor property management options also scare off investors who are plunking their investment cash in other communities.

Lack of Quality of Life

Letting the local Art Gallery close which was one of the only attractions in the area.   Poor customer experience shopping to the point where many in Cornwall go outside of town for important events, meals, and to just go have fun.

Lack of things for people to do unless you’re into bad cover bands or karaoke clubs that are an excuse for married folk to get their freak on in the dark.   Even worse, a true lack of good quality activities for kids.

While the community is trying to embrace seniors it really offers very little for them to do.

Cornwall’s best quality it seems is that it’s close to places that do offer all those things with Montreal, Ottawa, Brockville, Kingston all a few hours away and while  Via rail still stops, the option of zipping down to Toronto in comfort and style.

Solutions?  It won’t be easy.  We’re seeing some local contractors freaking out about development charges, but the issue is far greater.  Better people elected to council who will make sure that the community is much more friendly for business, especially business that actually develops the community whether it be waterfront development, entertainment and culture options, which will attract younger families and people.

As the community grows it will attract better people that will essentially make obsolete some of the neanderthals that seem to think they’re hot stuff, and better than everyone else when they clearly are not.

The status quo is failing with the tax Levy in this last term up nearly a WHOPPING 20%.  And that was with most of council signing the Community Action Group pledge to fight taxation.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.


  1. There is no good quality of life in Cornwall at all. When we lived in Cornwall and purchased a home it was all about a dog barking day and night for an entire week, even renting in a low rise building tenants slamming doors and you name it – there is no civilization down there at all. Never again even if the house were free and a really nice place it would ne NO TANKS. I would never ever return

  2. And so it ends!!

  3. I disagree with Jules. I moved from Vancouver where housing and cost of living prices are off the charts. I happen to love Cornwall although agree the property taxes are way too high and hope that our new mayor will bring in some much needed business and keep the old boys on city council in line and perhaps even eliminate some and maybe even lower some of those high property taxes.

  4. Eliza I saw the prices of housing in Vancouver B.C. and yes it is frightful and all of that is coming down. We have family in Australia and the same thing down there as well. My husbands family is in Sydney and Melbourne and house prices are going to come down. There is no price for freedom and no house is worth what they ask at all. Wait until the crash comes which is on its way.

  5. And a one, and a two!!

  6. Have some respect for the people that do live here not all people act like Neanderthals and you make yourself look bad by trying to make fun of the younger demographic like grow up maybe if there were more jobs for the younger demographic and places for us to go instead of wandering the streets then maybe their wouldn’t be as many stupid people doing stupid things what do you fucking expect the only thing this town is famous for is how many bars we have and how our goverment is crooked and spineless just like the news companies in their pocket I’m 26 and came from the country and hated my life ever since I moved to this shithole no offence for the language but I’m tired of this community it’s sad to say but the only thing the government and news papers care about is money that’s how come there are barely anything on how the elderly cant afford the condos the government put in cause of the cost of living and the market for places being ridiculously high and most people after working a low end job retire with little to nothing to their name you only share news on what the goverment tells you to and it’s sad that the goverment in this town is so crooked you forgot about the millions given to the foriegn people comming to Canada but the people who live here can do fuck themselves practically thanks goverment we all know your all corrupt like write about the fact that the goverment doesnt care about its citizens like they do for foreigners that get paid 40,000 among other things like a business and a place ect.

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