Category Archives: City of Hamilton

Is Steeltown a steal for investors?

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth – Neil Sharma13 Nov 2017
With the cost of condos in Toronto surging, it’s only a matter of time before investors find the next hot market. And as it turns out, they might not have to go far.

Hamilton is enjoying a renaissance that’s, in part, being catalyzed by the astronomical cost of living in Canada’s largest city. While Hamilton’s amenities are no match for Toronto’s, they’re showing enough promise to lure millennial-aged Torontonians westward.

Brad Lamb, owner of Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc. and Lamb Development Corp., says investing in Toronto’s vertical homes is producing diminishing returns.

“It’s getting harder and harder in places like Toronto and Vancouver to buy a home, like a condo, and rent it and have it make any sense as an investment because you’re paying $1,000 per square foot,” he said. “You’re paying $500,000 for a one-bedroom condo apartment that’s 500 square feet and you’re going to rent it for $2,000 a month, but when you add up your mortgage, your condo fees and taxes, it doesn’t cover it. It certainly doesn’t cover in Vancouver, where that property is $650,000.”

Lamb says Hamilton has benefited from the black hole Toronto’s become. Steeltown has quietly cultivated a strong cultural scene in the city’s downtown, mostly in the James St. radius.

“Toronto’s real estate unaffordability shines a nice light on Hamilton, so investors are looking at alternate places to invest and prospective homeowners are looking for other places to live, where they can have a decent life in a nice home,” said Lamb. “Hamilton is a real city with a real urban vibe. It has a great parks system and an amazing amount of amenities. It’s a real city with a great food scene, and a great art scene, and a great music scene, so to me it makes sense that Hamilton is the next city. It’s a much more vibrant city now than ever. Every year it’s going to get larger, better, richer, and more expensive.”

The Hammer is a medium-sized city with over half a million residents, so it has retained its quaint, small-town charm, but Lamb believes it’s on the cusp of a population boom. Its downtown is lively on Friday and Saturday nights, and Lamb says business always follows in the tracks of younger people.

“Every month I see new things popping up that are very cool,” he said. “What gets me excited about a city is great retail. When you see young people out, it makes you want to visit and it makes businesses want to open there, because businesses want to be where young people are.”

Many millennials are flocking to Hamilton’s tech sector, where they’re paid good wages and promised bright futures, however, the linchpin is the city’s quality of life.

“Hamilton is going to experience a population growth much higher than what they’re projecting,” said Lamb. “More and more young people are frustrated with the cost of living in Toronto, and the inability of Toronto to create housing at a pace that is needed. I believe Hamilton will grow by 10,000 people a year.”

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5 surreal wonders to explore near Toronto

Bruce Peninsula Grotto

Ontario is a province packed with natural wonders and surreal places to explore. Alas, for many of us, the drive way north to Thunder Bay and beyond is too daunting for a mere weekend trip. Fortunately, there are some out-of-this-world places within a reasonable drive of Toronto. From waterfalls to grottos, there’s plenty to astound within a short trip of the city.

Here are five surreal wonders to explore near Toronto.

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park
It takes a bit of work to access the Grotto at Bruce Peninsula Park, but is it ever worth it. Carved out over Millenia by the waves of Georgian Bay, the cave is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Sunlight illuminates the interior water, which takes on an impossibly cerulean tone. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

natural wonders torontoCheltenham Badlands
Access to the Badlands themselves was restricted last spring as a plan is hatched to protect this natural wonder while also allowing the public to enjoy it as much as possible. Even though you can’t walk on them for the foreseeable future, the drive around the Badlands remains breathtaking. At less than an hour from Toronto, it still very much worth the trip.

Tews Falls

Tews Falls
The Hamilton area is blessed with numerous dramatic waterfalls, but my top choice is always Tews Falls. Not only is it just 10 metres shy of the height of Niagara Falls, the dome-like setting makes for a surreal setting that feels more Amazonian than it does Hamiltonian. You can also check out the nearby Webster Falls while in the area.

Bon Echo Park

Bon Echo Provincal Park
The Mazinaw Pictographs are located on a soaring 100 metre cliff at Bon Echo Provinicial park that’s stunning enough in its own right. Close exploration reveals over 260 pictographs spread across the rock face, which make it one of the largest collections of its kind in Ontario. There’s also a dedication to Walt Whitman carved into the rock almost a century ago.

Bonnechere cavesBonnechere Caves
Ontario isn’t exactly short on caves, but few match Bonnechere for pure aesthetics. This is a photographer’s playground, with layered rock walls shaped by millions of years of erosion. The cave system is quite extensive, which allows you to explore the fossilized passageways for hours.

Source: BlogTo.com Derek Flack / FEBRUARY 26, 2016

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Niagara GO train service

Daily, year-round GO train service between Hamilton and Niagara is one step closer to becoming a reality. Niagara politicians are stepping up their campaign and committing $40 million needed for the rail service, which they say would cost a total of between $100 and $120 million .

The proposed plan is calling for year round train service between Niagara and Hamilton which would tie into the existing Lakeshore west line to Toronto. There would be 7 trains in and 7 trains out. They would make stops in Grimsby, St.Catharines and Niagara Falls.

The project is pegged at $120 million, the region has pledged a third of that but is still waiting on commitments from both the Provincial and Federal government.

Officials say they worked through 17 obstacles since their last meeting with the province in March. One of them included the Welland canal crossing. City officials managed to get commitment, in writing from the St.Lawrence Seaway management corporation for dedicated crossing times.

The other major hurdle, using the existing Canadian National Railway lines without coming into conflict with freight shipments. CN has agreed to the GO train proposal but it would cost $50 million to make the necessary track improvements. A cost officials have accounted for in their overall budget.

The new GO train line is projected to have an economic impact of about $195 million and the Niagara GO team is hoping for a fully functional system as early as 2017. The proposed plan will be presented to the province in April and decision on whether the new train line is a go would come no later than June when the province is set to announce its next phase of GO rail projects.

Source: CHCH News – February 9, 2016 09:44:45 PM

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The next hot Southern Ontario spots?

If you’ve been priced out of Toronto, these are the areas you may want to invest in.

“The average investor has been priced out of Toronto,” Nick Vescio, a seasoned investor who focuses on Southern Ontario, told CREW.

Indeed. Toronto’s momentum held steady in January, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Prices were up 11.21% year-over-year in January throughout the GTA. The average price in the city of Toronto last month was $636,728.

The average price for a detached home increased by 11.6% to $1,061,789; the average semi-detached increased 12.8% to $515,024; and the average condo increased by 3.1% to $319,855.

That’s great news for current investors, but so good for prospective buyers. Especially considering the forecasted interest in even more sales this year.

“It is clear that the handoff from 2015 to 2016 was a strong one.  This is not surprising given that recent polling conducted for TREB by Ipsos suggested 12 per cent of GTA households were seriously considering the purchase of a home in 2016,” Toronto Real Estate Board President Mark McLean said.  “Buying intentions are strong for this year as households continue to see home ownership as an affordable long-term investment.”

That doesn’t mean investors interested in Southern Ontario don’t have great opportunities.

For his part, Vescio focused on investing in Oakville before focusing on Hamilton – both decisions that resulted in his taking advantage of impressive price gains.

“Homes in Hamilton can be had for a third of the price (as those in Toronto) and the proximity to Toronto makes it attractive,” Vescio said. “St. Catherines is the next Hamilton, though.”

The average price in St. Catherines was an attractive $285,451 in December of this year. And that was up 6.4% year-over-year.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth – by Justin da Rosa05 Feb 2016

Thinking of purchasing, refinancing or investing? Contact the Ray C. McMillan Mortgage Team and get APPROVED!!!

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Hamilton housing sales to soar through 2016

This will see the Hamilton housing market continue outperforming other locations, according to economists and other industry observers.

Figures from realtors’ organizations stated that as much as 16,000 properties have been sold in Hamilton and Burlington last year, amounting to around 9 per cent more homes sold between January and November 2015 than in the same period in 2014.

This momentum is projected to see Hamilton retain double-digit growth well into 2016, according to Diana Petramala of TD Economics.

While such a rate would be unsustainable in other areas, Hamilton currently enjoys a healthy market fuelled by stable prices and a relatively high per capita purchasing power, Petramala added.

Economists also cited the historically low interest rates as a primary driver of the increased purchase volume in 2015.

Analysts warned that this frenetic growth rate is not beneficial for everyone, though. Especially affected are first-time buyers who get the short end of the stick in bidding wars and lower-income households who might face added pressure in the form of possible price spikes in 2016.

This is seen as a major contributor to the rising popularity of rentals, since those living beneath the region’s income average tend to gravitate towards more affordable options. However, even Hamilton rentals have not proven immune to price increases. In fact, rents rose as sharply as 3.8 per cent last year, mostly due to gentrification.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca by Ephraim Vecina | 14 Jan 2016

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Is Hamilton the Canadian Brooklyn?

After years of downturn, Brooklyn made a huge turnaround. Is Hamilton following its lead?

Two cities go under the microscope Monday to find an answer to a burning question of identity: is Hamilton actually Canada’s answer to Brooklyn?

It’s all part of an Ambitious City event hosted by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce that explores the cultural identity and economic heartbeat between the two.

Considering resurgent Brooklyn has been on an upswing for years and is often considered one of the coolest places in America, Hamilton and its chamber would be positively giddy at that comparison bearing fruit.

But can you really compare Hamilton to a bustling metropolis of 2.6 million people?

Let’s try it out.

Industry downfall and finding an identity

Once part of the industrial heart of the U.S., manufacturing in Brooklyn dropped by about half from the 50s to the 90s.

Things were gloomy for quite a while, until neighbourhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick sprang back to life starting in the late 90s – mostly fuelled by artistic types fleeing high rents in Manhattan.

Sound familiar?

There is a caveat here, though. Brooklyn’s revival started much earlier than Hamilton’s, so they are way further along in the process. If Hamilton is really lucky, the city could be where Brooklyn is now in about a decade.

Do they have LRT?

Public transit in Brooklyn destroys Hamilton. Full stop.

Sure, LRT is coming, and that will radically change how people get around in Hamilton. For some, it’s a beacon of modern transit that will haul Hamilton into the future (or at least to the present).

But the New York subway system is one of the best in the world. Daily ridership numbers are in the millions – meanwhile in Hamilton, we’re still waiting for HSR to get on Twitter. (But at least we got Presto on buses before Toronto did!) Edge: Brooklyn.

Is Manhattan Brooklyn’s Toronto?

Hamilton’s Toronto complex is so deeply ingrained that “Argos suck!” could be a Balsam Avenue baby’s first words.

There’s a definite rift between Brooklyn and Manhattan, too – and a deluge of people have moved out of there because they can’t afford rent.

Take this “luxury” Manhattan two-bedroom, listed at a startling $5,895:

Brooklyn apartment

Two beds, two baths, and almost $6,000 in Manhattan. (Streeteasy.com)

You aren’t living in Manhattan these days without a heavy cash flow. There’s some definite disdain in Brooklyn for its high-priced neighbour. Edge: Tie, different scales but clear parallel.

Rents

So if Brooklyn is a haven for young people and artists fleeing the rest of New York City, are the rents comparable to Hamilton?

Yes and no. A two-bedroom in trendy Williamsburg can run you over $4,000, which is a rarity on local equivalents like James Street North or Locke Street. Keep in mind that New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world, behind only places like London and Monaco.

In some more far-flung neighborhoods and artist enclaves, you can share a two-bedroom for maybe $1,400. That makes it a steal by New York standards and an analogue to Hamilton compared to Toronto’s higher rents. Edge: Hamilton

But can I get a decent cup of coffee?

You can tell a lot about a place by its coffee – and as the birthplace of Tim Hortons, Hamilton has a special claim to the fuel that keeps Canada going at hockey rinks on weekends at 6 a.m. There is also a burgeoning coffee culture in many areas for those who like their brew a little more upscale.

In Hamilton, a cup off coffee will run you around $2 to $3 on average. In Brooklyn, you can get a coffee cart cup for a buck, or go to Blue Bottle Roasters and shell out $10 for a cup. Edge: Brooklyn, but only because of the carts.

Do they have any famous musicians?

Musicians: Brooklyn has Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Peter Criss. Hamilton has Teenage Head, Daniel Lanois, Arkells and Tom Wilson. Tough call – but nobody likes Peter Criss, so edge: Hamilton.

Their bridge vs. our bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges on earth. A guy drove a dump truck into the Skyway one time. Edge: Brooklyn.

Are there any famous Brooklyn comedians?

Brooklyn has Jerry Seinfield, Hamilton has Martin Short. That’s gold Jerry, gold! Edge: Brooklyn.

Their teams, our teams

The Ticats are deeply entrenched in Hamilton’s soul, and the now-OHL Bulldogs are keeping hockey alive in the city. Brooklyn has two major franchises: the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the NHL’s New York Islanders but both are fairly new to the city. It’s been a long time since the Brooklyn Dodgers. Edge: Hamilton (because we’re worried Angelo Mosca will come after us otherwise).

What about parks?

Hamilton’s most famous park is probably Gage Park (it’s more “park-ish” than Gore Park, which is still arguably the heart of the city). Brooklyn has the iconic prospect park, which was built by the same designers as Central Park. Edge: Brooklyn.

Their view, our view.

We love our escarpment, our waterfalls. The views from Sam Lawrence Park or the Dundas Peak are sweet. Their view however, is sunset of the Manhattan skyline. Edge Brooklyn.

Brooklyn skyline

This is the view from the Brooklyn Promenade. (Rick Hughes/CBC)

Source:  Adam Carter, CBC News Posted: Nov 14, 2015

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How Hamilton’s Collective Pursuits Are Creating Canada’s Brooklyn

HAMILTON

In case you haven’t heard, you can do anything in Hamilton. We even have a t-shirt to prove it. That place known as “steel town” is no more.

We have had the opportunity to experience this renaissance over the last 11 months, and see it now not as a fad, or a moment in time.

Nope.

Hamilton is for real and we should all take notice and learn from the movement that is driving this perfect storm.

What do you create when you combine a fusion of artists and culinary mavens priced out of some of our countries larger cities, the willingness of a local government to enable innovative place making and cultural/culinary collective happenings, some forward thinking developers and creative entrepreneurs and a galvanized social media push around one hashtag called #hamont?

Meet Hamilton 2.0. A city that is organically and strategically turning into what some are saying could be Canada’s answer to the movement that inspired a modern Brooklyn.

What seems consistent, and could be the very insight that continues the growth of this city and why we should all take notice, is a genuine sincere will to work together. There is this common feeling that collectively, anything is possible.

The city is showing us that if you celebrate and create a collective atmosphere, everyone wins: local businesses, the culture and food mavens, communities, tourism and development.

Add in the stunning historical architecture and a “re-invention of large heritage buildings into active hubs of commerce and culture ” seen through examples like theCannon Knitting Mills and you have a setting where magical transformation can take shape.

They are creating a place where people want to come live and visit.

And the proof is there.

Hamilton now attracts 4.5 million visits that spend $359.5 million annually and in 2014, it welcomed 57 conferences and 76 sporting events.

The city has welcomed various festivals over the summer to date including Hamilton Kicks It Up which animated the city around TO 2015 Pan Am Games, the Because Beer Festival, a great new-ish waterfront event and part of Hamilton’s evolving local craft beer scene, along with favourites such as the Hamilton Fringe Festival and theHamilton World Music Festival.

We had the opportunity to sit down with two of the change makers that are driving the transformation of Hamilton. Tim Potocic (TP), Co-owner of Sonic Unyon and one of the founders of Supercrawl, and Jason Cassis (JC), one of Hamilton’s most innovative hospitality and real estate entrepreneurs, shared their thoughts on what is driving this transformation and the exciting things to come.

There seems to be a growing movement around the arts and food in Hamilton. What triggered this?

TP: This has been triggered by community. People working together and supporting one another.

JC: I believe growth was organic for the most part however when the trends emerged, the city did not take long to back them both. In the case of arts, they have committed to organizational assistance and some funding and in the case of food trucks, they have removed barriers to growth that allow that culture to thrive.

One can see there is authentic collaboration happening. What’s the secret other cities can learn from?

TP: Hamilton has transformed in the last 10-15 years into a community that thrive on working together. Egos are checked at the door – people willing to help others are now in turn thriving.

JC: The change agents actively work together across multiple industries from food to arts to development, with the end goal of a better city in mind – ultimately the city at large wins in this case. Other cities should see the end product of improved neighborhoods as its most important goal, not individual interests.

What are the top three culture or food trends that are thriving in your city?

TP: Music, galleries and small business restauranteurs.

JC: Really big free festivals like Supercrawl or Festival of Friends, shared community office space and the reincarnation of the corner store/corner market such as Dundurn Market, one of my new passions.

Can you compare the city to another city in the world?

TP: Brooklyn.

JC: Brooklyn, New York a decade ago.

In one sentence, tell us why someone should visit? And live?

TP: Hamilton is an open, affordable and accommodating city, with lots of hidden gems ranging from culture to architecture to the nature surroundings.

JC: “Because you can do anything in Hamilton.”

Where do you see the city in five years? 10 years?

TP: Massive growth, rebirth of a downtown, downtown living, thriving core one of Canada’s cultural hotbeds. In 15-20 years — the most talked about city in Canada.

JC: Five years — I believe Hamilton will continue on its path of creating vibrant communities and will be home to wonderful homespun amenities. Those amenities created almost exclusively by the citizens that call it home. Ten Years — Hamilton will become one of the top three cities to live in in Canada. This will be a result of a city hall that acts as a conduit to lead and engage its change agents to listen closely to its neighborhoods.

As the summer hits its midpoint, there are still many happenings for the public to attend.

Highlights include Greenbelt Harvest Picnic (August 29), co-founded by legendary music producer Daniel Lanois (originally from Hamilton), Supercrawl (September 11 to 13), and the AGH BMO World Film Festival (October 16 to 25). If you have kids, do not fear, the Telling Tales, A Family Festival of Stories (September 20) is a popular family event celebrating children’s stories.

There are many lessons here for those who look to how to build successful communities. And for those of you who just want to go to a place filled with authentic, fun, collective experiences, you can now add Hamilton to the list. And if you want to be part of the movement, they are no doubt looking for big thinkers who are authentic in what they do.

Source: Huffington Post  Culture & Experience Producer, Artrepreneur

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Bidding war homebuyer beware: Appraisers may not be as eager

Hamilton's real estate market remains hot in August.

Appraisals come in lower than buyers’ offers in Hamilton’s hot housing market

By Kelly Bennett, CBC News Posted: Aug 24, 2014 6:00 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 24, 2014 6:00 AM ET

Competitive homebuyers in Hamilton’s hot housing market are often facing a critical disagreement as they try to buy a house – the property appraiser doesn’t share their opinion about how much the house is worth.

And that can leave homebuyers without the financing they need to close the deal.

The tension, between eager buyers and sellers and often conservative appraisers and bankers, is arising more in the hot market, local real estate experts said. ​

Lately, some homes for sale have been attracting “five, six, seven” offers, said veteran local appraiser Bob Schinkel, who owns Schinkel Appraisals, a local firm. The winners may be blinded by their victory.

“There’s a good chance that they’re so excited about getting the house that they’re willing to pay more than market value,” he said.

‘Things like this can set a crux in the deal’

The appraisal is typically the most the mortgage bank will allow a buyer to borrow on the house. If they couldn’t pay their bills tomorrow, and the bank had to foreclose, the bank wants to know it could sell the house to cover the debt.

So when the appraisal comes in under what the buyers have agreed to pay, they may have to scrounge up thousands of dollars more for their down payment, or back out of the deal entirely.

Here’s, roughly, how it works. For the sake of round numbers, say a house is on the market for $200,000. A buyer finds out she has approval from the bank to get a mortgage for $160,000, so she offers $200,000 on the house, planning to pay a $40,000 down payment.

But before agreeing to the deal, the bank hires an appraiser to go take a look at the property, to analyze the house and to compare it to other houses in the same neighbourhood of similar size and quality. The appraiser’s report goes back to the bank, along with a price he thinks it’s worth. If that price is less than the $160,000, the bank will most likely only grant a mortgage for that amount, even though the buyer was approved to borrow more.

“They’re hoping to get 80 percent financing but the bank will only lend on the lower of the two, the purchase price or the appraisal,” said Bill Boros, a residential appraiser at Pocrnic Realty Advisors.

The roadblock is popping up more in an escalating market, said Suzanne Boyce, a local mortgage broker who owns the Personal Mortgage Group.

She said it’s important for buyers to make sure they’ve completed their full application for a mortgage before making an offer, not just submitted initial pre-approval paperwork.

“It’s something that the public should know about when they’re purchasing,” she said. “Things like this can set a crux in the deal.”

Sometimes buyers try to increase their competitiveness by making their offer “firm.” But if they’ve gone into the offer without making it conditional on their loan coming through, they could be in trouble – facing a “lawsuit or loss of their deposit or both,” Schinkel said.

‘You always feel that pressure’

The situation underscores a few characteristics of Hamilton’s housing market.

There aren’t a lot of homes on the market, and the low supply increases demand. More homes sold in July than any July for the last 10 years, according to the Realtors Association of Hamilton and Burlington. But the inventory of homes for sale at the end of the month was 8.4 percent lower than the same month last year.

The fever inspires some homebuyers to seek out charming homes, sometimes fixer-uppers, in previously less popular neighborhoods. But appraisers may not be able to find supporting sales of similar diamonds in the rough nearby to support their estimate of the home’s worth.

The market is seeing an influx of buyers from elsewhere, like Toronto, who are surprised to see such “low” prices compared to their previous cities and may not balk as prices rise in a bidding war.

Realtor April Almeida with City Brokerage had an experience recently where an appraisal came in several thousand dollars lower than a client’s offer.

“They can walk away or they have to basically come up with the difference,” Almeida said.

Almeida’s client ended up switching to a mortgage broker instead of taking a loan from the client’s bank. But Almeida said the hiccup was frustrating.

“We’re seeing more of it here, and it’s making me nervous that [appraisers are] trying to quash this market,” she said. “Or are they giving into this perception of this bubble thing.”

The client ended up switching banks and finding a new loan through a mortgage broker.

Boros said appraisers know their estimates may disappoint some people, but he said his duty is to the lender, not to the buyer.

“You always feel that pressure,” he said. “People are trying to buy a house. It’s a matter of explaining to them: We have to base it on the market.”

Hamilton and Toronto are hottest housing markets in the country

Gurinder Sandhu, executive vice-president at Re/Max Ontario Atlantic, says more Canadians who work in Toronto and Vancouver are buying homes in nearby areas, like Hamilton, where they can get more for their money.

Source: The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 17, 2015 10:20 AM ET

The Hamilton-Burlington housing market joined Toronto as the areas with the largest house price increases in Canada over the first quarter of 2015.

That’s according to realtor group Re/Max.Realtor, which says the average sale price in Hamilton increased by eight per cent to $443,706 in the first quarter of 2015. That matches the percentage increase in Toronto and is one percentage point ahead of increases in Vancouver.

The Re/Max report says some of the effects of the increases in the larger centres is spilling over into nearby regions.

The average sale price of a home in Vancouver grew seven per cent year over year to $874,869, a figure that includes everything from condos to detached homes.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the average residential sale price grew eight per cent from a year ago to $594,827.

Gurinder Sandhu, executive vice-president at Re/Max Ontario Atlantic, says a growing number of Canadians who work in pricey Toronto and Vancouver are buying homes in nearby areas where they can get more for their money.

Victoria saw sales climb 23 per cent with average prices up two per cent to $569,070, while Barrie saw sales grow 11 per cent year-over-year as the average price gained six per cent to $365,201.

“Regions outside of Vancouver and Toronto, including Victoria, Hamilton-Burlington, Barrie, have all reported this spillover effect from Canada’s highest priced regions,” Sandhu said.

“These regions have seen more sales activity, as well as price gains, as buyers look to get more value for their money by expanding their boundaries. They’re willing to go for a longer commute and get larger properties for the money that they spend.”

In Toronto, more and more buyers are putting in offers on properties before they are even listed online, Sandhu said. Real estate agents are tapping into their networks to learn about places about to go on sale by word of mouth, in order to help clients secure purchases in a fiercely competitive market.

Price gains across the remainder of the country were more modest, in the low single-digit range, with a handful of regions registering slight declines.

The average sale price in Calgary slipped two per cent to $474,251, while in Regina, it fell six per cent to $308,355.

The number of single homebuyers has also been on the rise across the country, Sandhu said.

“This marks a shift in life milestones as previously home ownership often came after marriage,” he said.

Hamilton joins Canada’s red-hot housing market

A house in Hamilton.

Hamilton, which has long been known for the smoke billowing from its steel mills, is gaining recognition as one of the hottest housing markets in the country.

“Along with Calgary, Hamilton’s housing market is currently the tightest among the major markets as measured by the sales-to-listings ratio,” Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Diana Petramala wrote in a recent research note.

She added that the city has been an up-and-coming market since 2009, and the fastest growing in Ontario. Existing home sales have been rising faster than those in Toronto. Prices have risen by about 8 per cent a year since 2010, bringing the price-to-income ratio to “a lofty” 4.8 per cent, which is the fourth highest in Canada after Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Ms. Petramala said.

The price of a standard two-storey house in Hamilton rose 5.4 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to Royal LePage.

Local Re/Max realtor Conrad Zurini notes that Hamilton has a wide variety of neighbourhoods and prices, from the $165,000 simple detached homes in the east end to million-dollar-plus houses in Ancaster.

About one in four buyers are people who were living in the Greater Toronto Area, he says. And part of the appeal is that you can generally get more home for your buck.

A growing number of Toronto residents are choosing condos over houses as the price of houses climbs, but in Hamilton people are still by and large looking for detached homes, Mr. Zurini says. “In Ancaster, the entry level for that is probably somewhere around $325,000 to $350,000, and in the east end it’s $160,000 to $170,000,” he says. “That’s where we’re seeing multiple offers, that’s where we’re seeing a lot of activity. People are just looking at being in a mature neighbourhood with a detached home.”

“We’re seeing people from the Toronto area say ‘I’m going to bank a couple hundred thousand dollars and purchase something in Hamilton,’ ” he adds.

Ms. Petramala notes that the average price of a home is about $400,000 in Hamilton, versus $550,000 in Toronto, and the price advantage has grown over the years.

“The price differential will remain a draw for residents priced out of more expensive markets within the GTA, thus helping to keep a floor under demand,” she wrote. “Even as home sales head moderately lower over the remainder of the 2014-15 forecast horizon, Hamilton is expected to be among the minority of major markets recording modest growth in both construction activity and home prices.”

It remains to be seen whether Hamilton will evolve into more of a bedroom community for Toronto.

“GO Transit has provided rush-hour train service to and from Hamilton since 1967,” said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins. “We also provide bus service to Hamilton. But two-way all-day is something the community really is anxiously awaiting.”

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