The short answer is be careful. In my experience, the students at Fanshawe College are like any other college student attending the college. The student tenants are normal, effective adults who work and attend classes to get an education just like their peers living on other streets. There is definitely a negative stigma towards Fleming Drive, especially coming from parents. There are several parents who ask me to show them properties anywhere around the college, but not on Fleming Drive. However, there are student tenants who explicitly want to live in a student dominated area and prefer to live here.
Since the housing values dropped considerably since the riot, and the Landlords bought properties around 2007/2008 (before the market crashed) in the area, it is an ongoing topic of discussion: to sell their property and lose $30,000 - $50,000 on the value to get rid of the headache, or to ride it out until everything gets better and things settle down. For Landlords in this position, they are definitely pot committed to their investment and if they do not want the “headache” from student tenants anymore they should seek out a property management that has experience and expertise in renting out to student tenants on Fleming Drive. If you are a brand new investor looking to get into the industry, I strongly suggest you stay away from Fleming Drive as it is only for those investors who have a large tolerance for risk.
For the experienced Landlord, who has purchased several properties in the area and understands what it takes to properly maintain and run an effective student rental house, then Fleming drive continues to be a good investment. As the property values have decreased on this street around Fanshawe College, now is the time to save a lot of money and purchase a property that is not fully rented out in the area. Close the sale around February 1 of next year. These houses are roughly 20 years old and need some work: paint, flooring, light fixtures, upgrades to appliance, and especially replacing the roof. If these renovations are undertaken, and a property rental company hired to rent out the property, we have seen these houses rent for $425-$475/bedroom (on a 5 bedroom house) all inclusive which provides for a healthy return on your investment. Although the value of the property may not increase substantially in the next 5-10 years, the cash flow from the property is definitely lucrative considering the value that these houses are not selling for. For example, a 5 bedroom bungalow in 2007/2008 was selling for roughly $230,000 and we believe that a good price point to buy one of these properties now and fix it up and rent to Fanshawe College students will cost roughly $180,000.
I would caution Landlords to stay away from buying the attached townhouses on Fanshawe College because of the ever changing Landlord License by laws in London, Ontario. I would also stick to only five bedroom student rentals in the area. There are several properties for sale on the street and now is the time to purchase. Although the student tenants might have a bad reputation in the area, a major part of the problem is absentee Landlords (or slumlords) that do not really care about their properties or the quality of tenants that are occupying their units. I would suggest hiring a property management company that has expertise in the Fleming Drive area to rent and manage your investment that provides a substantial return for seasoned Landlords. If you have any questions about this case study, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.