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EXCLUSIVE: High-profile Toronto developer has bought dozens of homes in the Sault

Records obtained by SooToday show nearly 60 properties across city have been purchased by company with plans to acquire $1B worth of Canadian homes
For lease sign

A Toronto-based real estate company with a $1-billion plan to purchase existing single detached homes and build new ones across Canada has entered Sault Ste. Marie’s single-family rental sector. 

Land registry records available to the public show that Avanew, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Core Development Group Ltd., has acquired 59 properties in the Sault — nearly half of them are situated in the city’s west end — with the aid of a $100-million mortgage that is slated to be paid off by June 2024.   

Steve Smith is currently renting a single detached house on Brien Avenue that was recently purchased by Avanew. 

His rent has increased by $30 since Avanew took over — a $20 rent increase with a $10 administration fee tacked on — but doesn’t see the increase as an issue.

“Well I can’t say much considering inflation, right?” said Smith, who spoke with SooToday from the front door of his home Friday. “That’s just the way things are.”   

The Brien Avenue property is maintained by RWC Management, a property management company from southern Ontario that reportedly manages numerous properties in Sault Ste. Marie on behalf of numerous out-of-town companies. 

Smith says RWC sends a crew to inspect the property on a monthly basis, and provides written notices to him when performing inspections of the house’s interior.  

“They’ve been good - they’ve responded to my emails almost within 24 hours,” Smith said. 

Last year Core announced that it had launched Avanew with a focus on the single-family rental sector.

Avanew plans on using a $1-billion fund to acquire 4,000 rental units in 20 markets in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia in the next four years — a move that’s been criticized by some housing advocates as the stock of single-family homes continues to dwindle. 

“Our goal is to acquire existing, underdeveloped or underinvested residential real estate assets and complete significant renovations to enhance the livability, life-safety, convenience, energy efficiency and aesthetic,” reads an excerpt from Core’s website. “Avanew’s team manages the process from acquisition to lease-up to ensure each home meets our high-standards and provides a consistent, best-in-class tenant experience.”

Core’s founder and chief executive officer, Corey Hawtin, did not respond to SooToday’s request for an interview. 

Hawtin told BarrieToday last year that his company’s plans would help meet the housing supply shortfall.  

“Core Development Group is dedicated to providing diverse living solutions through a multi-pronged approach that encompasses build-to-own multi-residential communities, co-living developments, single-family rental acquisition, and new single-family build-to-rent and build-to own developments to introduce fresh and more attainable housing supply into the market,” said Hawtin in June 2021. “As the housing market has become increasingly unaffordable in the last decade, more innovative housing supply is needed to match the growing demand." 

According to Core's website there are over 20,000 homes sold annually in Ontario that fit its investment criteria. 

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James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday based in Sault Ste. Marie
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