The city of Waterloo is known for its high level of education, and in large part that is due to the many colleges and universities that are located here. The University of Waterloo is regularly at the top of the Canadian university rankings done annually by Maclean’s magazine, and nearby Wilfred Laurier University is considered one of the fastest growing universities in the country. Together these two universities have a student population of over 30,000, which is about one quarter of the total population of Waterloo. Naturally, this results in a lot of students pouring into the Kitchener-Waterloo area every fall looking for student housing.
The campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University are located adjacent to one another on University Avenue West in central Waterloo. Because the two schools are so close to one another, its student populations tend to congregate together in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. Many neighborhoods in this area consist of single family houses that are rented out to groups of students or subdivided into student apartments, while in other neighborhoods single family homes are being demolished and replaced with higher density housing units, such as small apartment buildings and town houses. These neighborhoods are shared between permanent residents and university students.
Students who are moving to Waterloo to attend one of these universities should consider carefully before choosing a neighborhood in which to rent off-campus housing. Generally speaking, the neighborhoods closer to campus will contain higher proportions of undergraduate students who host parties and enjoy the city’s nightlife, which can sometimes cause problems with the neighbors. Students who are interested in that lifestyle will feel at home in these neighborhoods, but more serious students who prefer a quiet neighborhood where they can study should look into options that are further from the university.
Neighborhoods with the highest student populations center around the Northdale area, which is just east of the University of Waterloo campus and just north of the Wilfred Laurier University campus. Slightly less student centric but still within easy distance of the universities is the Uptown neighborhood, near the intersection of King and Erb streets, which is near to parks, shops, and clubs. Some students also chose to live in subdivisions further away from the campus, which offer peace and quiet at reasonable rents. These subdivisions include Belmont Village, Clair Hills, and Columbia Forest. Still others choose to absorb a longer commute to school and rent a place further south in Kitchener to save money.
If you’re moving to the Kitchener-Waterloo area to further your studies at one of the universities, the Off-Campus Housing departments at the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University can provide you with basic instructions on how to find and rent an apartment. However, if you’re interested in buying an income property to rent to students or in buying a condo or house as an investment while you’re studying at university, you should seek the advice and assistance of a trained real estate agent.