Real estate agents in Windsor Ontario are reaping sucess with a program that delivers retirees an instant retirement nest egg and improved quality of life for baby boomers hoping to retire a couple years early.
For several years now the The Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors (WECAR), has run a program that fles in potential residents to tour a region branded the 100-Mile Peninsula, with the point of introducing retirement-minded Canadians to the many the benefits of the area.
Essex County, of course, is as south as one can go in Canada. The region is the same latitude as Rome or northern California and so the winters are mild. There is a major urban area a short tunnel trip across the river that has a professional hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings, that actually wins. Traffic is nothing compared to major Canadian cities. Most importantly, homes in the area are fraction of what they are in the GTA--smart retirees can generate a retirement nest egg just by moving to the region.
"Our real estate is 30-60% less than major Canadian cities. Retirees can sell a house in a more expensive region and put away a nest egg. It is a way to retire five years early," says Krista Del Gatto, the executive director of the WECAR. "For someone who wants to get out of the big cities and the traffic and slow down, this is the way to do it."
The numbers are basic. A couple can sell a $400,000 home in the GTA, buy a $120,000 home in a warm climate. The city is not choked by traffic (but is still accessible to a major city). By selling the over-priced GTA home an immediate amount of cash is generated that can go into a retirement account, the average boomer can retire a couple years early. As well, the easy access to Detroit International Airport, which offers more flights at half the cost as those at Pearson, means travel is easy and cheap. "This is one reason we here from those who choose to move here...it's easy and cheap to travel from here," says Del Gatto.
No wonder then the program is enjoying such success. The latest phase of the promotion saw 22 families flown in from Ottawa, Calgary and the GTA for the discovery tour. The visitors were taken on a bus tour of the region. The Windsor Family Credit Union gave a presentation on how to manage the nest egg. Tours of available homes were arranged. So far, the program has brought 1,042 new people to the region and has seen $250 million invested in Windsor-region real estate.
"The program is doing exactly what we wanted it to," says Del Gatto.