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I doubt you will find a builder's lot in an urban area in Ontario unless it is an in-fill in an older area (or a tear-down) or a toney area of +acre lots. When your talking about a tract of urban lots (typically 40'-60' these days), developers want to develop their land as quickly and cheaply as possible, and councils want cohesive communities, at least in appearance. Site plans and restrictive covenants or go so far. Trades come in, work on multiple similar or plan book houses, then move on. General contractors get to coordinate trades on a large scale and the per-unit cost is a lot less than a bespoke build.Yup, that was the premise I was working on. Still dinged with development charges in many jurisdictions. Truth be told I didn't even consider looking at Barrie over to Tri-City down into the greater Golden Horseshoe. The chance of any private individual getting a single building lot free and clear of a developer or community development plan is slim to none.
500k is likely fair, the mix might just change. Scanning midwestern Ontario (Grey/Bruce/Perth/Wellington) single building lots seem to float in the 150-300k range (generally skewing higher), people in the area tend to use 200/ft for single level (unless you're your own general and getting some work done cash). If you're out of town looking at a 5-15k well, 10-20k septic.
Overall point is that there's not a glaring market innefficiency just waiting to be exploited by anyone with the gumption to do it instead of complaino g about the cost of a home
We live in a 'rural estate' subdivision of about 150 houses that has been around since 1995. None of the lots remain unsold but some are still vacant. I suppose some bought them as an investment, for retirement or whatever. When everything is 2 acres and up, if somebody builds next door, it's disruptive, but no where near what it would be if we were 40 or 50' lots.
The thing with moving to the boonies is employment and kids. Not everybody can WFH for an employer, set up a home business or become a social media influencer, and kids either need to be on a bus route, be driven, or home schooled. Rural connectivity is still a major problem, although Starlink may be on the road to solving that (not cheap). Major resource or infrastructure projects take a whole lot more people to develop than they do to operate. I don't know about other provinces, but Ontario will not approve new townsites at mines, etc. since they know they will inherit a ghost town down the road.
I'm all for living in the rurals; I left Toronto and never looked back, but I recognize it's not for everyone.
We're thinking of moving to the North Bay area next year (kid's there). Not cheap, even the outskirts which, like many northern communities, are limited.Again, why Barrie. Why not Barrys Bay? Or North Bay? Or Kapuskasing? Lots of land in those places.
I had two young Corporals, at separate times, that went north to Red Deer. To start their careers. One became a Mining Engineer and the other started as security at the mine and ended up as OPP there.
Living in Red Deer and working for the OPP - quite the commute!