In the last 10 years, the Kitchener-Waterloo area has seen BlackBerry reach and fall from the top of its industry, several former factories find themselves repurposed as condos or office space, and an LRT system move from a proposal to a tantalizingly close reality.

And in that time, a new report says, the area has also seen some of the fastest-growing house prices in all of Ontario.

RE/MAX says the average sale price rose from $252,429 in 2007 to $457,415 in 2017. That 81 per cent increase was the third-highest seen in Ontario, behind only the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton-Burlington.

The RE/MAX report credits the increase to the area’s “strong economic fundamentals,” including one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates, and notes that the market emerged from the past decade in a very strong position, with price growth rising 21 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Marty Green, a local RE/MAX broker, says much of the economic strength can be credited to the combination of the local tech talent pool and the relatively low Canadian dollar convincing American tech giants to set up operations in the area.

“It’s a tremendous time to be in tech in this area,” he says.

Looking ahead, RE/MAX says Kitchener-Waterloo is in a good position to keep standing out from the pack as the provincial and national markets start to cool down.

“A two-month supply of inventory currently exists, and properties that are well-priced, and in good areas, tend to generate multiple offers,” the report reads.

RE/MAX is forecasting a six per cent increase in sale price for 2018 – much lower than the 21 per cent of 2017, but still among the biggest increases in Canada. That increase would leave the average local sale price just a hair below $500,000.

Green says he’s aware of some real estate agents from Alberta who have recently decided to relocate to Waterloo Region, expecting business to be better here.

“Kitchener-Waterloo specifically (is) poised to do really well in the next 10 years,” he says.

The report notes that low rental vacancy rates – typically below two per cent – have many residents who might otherwise consider renting looking to buy homes instead.

Green says this is an issue because many of those same people are being priced out of the purchasing market as Toronto-area buyers head west in search of a better deal.

“There’s just no way for that younger Generation Z group to get into the ownership market at all,” he says.

With reporting by Max Wark