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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Hamilton > General Discussion

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  #1  
Old Posted May 16, 2012, 5:58 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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House-Hunting in downtown Hamilton on a medium budget

Hello all. My first post in the forums. We have sold our house in the GTA 'burbs and are house-hunting in downtown Hamilton. As you know, Hamilton has a truly stunning collection of residential homes in the various neighbourhoods, quite remarkable in the variety of styles, size, and the like.

We are smitten with Stinson, Corktown, and parts of St. Clair, but there is so little for sale that it's discouraging. Perhaps it's the fact that so many homes are a duplex or triplex that there's no reason for the owner to sell. We don't want to live near Gage Park: we want to live, work, and play in the heart of the city.

Can you recommend an up-and-coming neighbourhood that we should focus on? A hidden gem that's about to shine? Thanks for any suggestions. Also feel free to PM me if you know of a house that's about to come on the market.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old Posted May 16, 2012, 6:15 PM
CaptainKirk CaptainKirk is offline
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I'd say James ST. N./West Harbour Area.

All day express GO service is coming to a new platform/station near James St. N. and Murray st.

I'd go just south and west of that intersection.

Are you familiar with the waterfront/west harbour area, and the monthly James St. Art Crawls?

James St. N. is being gentrified as we "speak" with many artists and creative types moving in.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&rlz...ed=0CCAQ8gEwAA
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  #3  
Old Posted May 16, 2012, 6:39 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Thanks for that suggestion. Our real estate agent has told us that the James St. N are is indeed an area to watch. Having all day GO nearby is a bonus for me when I see clients in TO. We've been on the art crawls, which I understand are now packed with people!

We went into the waterfront area, and it has potential.

Again, many thanks.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 16, 2012, 6:58 PM
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Strathcona is an underrated area. It's a bit west of downtown, but still very close and you can take advantage of the commercial area on Locke South.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 11:46 AM
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I agree with both of those areas. I think the Bayfront/James North is going to be the best place to see value rise. A few months ago there was a house for sale on Mary and Cannon (I think) and it was amazing for $340k. Strathcona will be a great place too because of what Flar said with people getting priced out of Kirkendall but still getting the Locke Street access. Stinson has nice pockets, and amazing housing stock. I like the area behind the Stinson School, but when I was growing up in Hamilton in the 90s Stinson (closer to Main/Emerald) was the crack/prostitution hub. Not sure if it still is, but I would make sure.

If you don't have kids or aren't as worried about the school the options are really opened up.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 12:15 PM
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As a Stinsonite, I have to encourage you to look at Stinson, but you're right; there's not for sale here right now.

Durand and Kirkendall (south of Main, west of James) are both nice, and you can still find some deals. The James North/Bayfront area, as others have said. Strathcona... There's no shortage of options!
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  #7  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 1:11 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions. All those areas are on our radar. Overall, there is a deficit of houses for sale in downtown Hamilton and not only in the areas we are interested in. The Hamilton real estate board commented on this in their April report. Other cities are experiencing the same situation.

We are being patient, and will pounce on the right house when it comes onto the market.

Also, we have looked at a number of houses heated by hot water. Not to derail my own thread, but I am trying to get a handle on heating costs. Does a boiler consume more natural gas than a forced air furnace? I have no experience with hot-water heating.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 3:44 PM
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Yeah there really isn't a lot. When we looked to move back to Hamilton in September 2010, we must have had awesome timing b/c we looked at probably 20-30 homes mostly in Kirkendall/Durand. We had quite a few options so were actually able to be a bit discerning. I keep up on what is for sale now, because MLS is my porn, and noticed that there isn't a tonne.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 3:54 PM
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I think they're comparable in cost.

I prefer hot water heat.

Pro's
Heat is more uniform and comforting
No blowing dust
No duct cleaning
No furnace sound
Boilers generally have a longer life

Con's
Boiler more expensive to maintain
aging water pipes can spring a leak
'clanging' pipes
No central air

I actually heard that insurance companies have red flagged hot water heating systems and are denying insurance in some cases. Crazy, yes.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 5:07 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcoote View Post
I actually heard that insurance companies have red flagged hot water heating systems and are denying insurance in some cases. Crazy, yes.
I spoke with my insurance company contact. A hot-water system is flagged, but coverage is not denied. The age of the house (pre-1930) triggers an automatic inspection before a policy is issued.

I am more concerned about water management. In our house-hunting, we have seen some properties with possible problems due to downspouts still being connected.

Anyway, all this is manageable. Our bigger need is to find the right house. Thanks for everyone's contributions. Keep 'em coming!
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  #11  
Old Posted May 17, 2012, 8:04 PM
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I can't speak highly enough about the area I moved into, which is the central Neighbourhood west of James and north of cannon. The actual selling price of houses here has not kept up with the hype about James north and there are still affordable houses. It is a real full service Neighbourhood where you can get everything you need in walking distance. In terms of maximum value I would agree the north end is the best place to find a deal and realize a solid gain in the next few years. Plus you won't be near any of those nasty one way streets.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2012, 9:36 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Happy to report that after several weeks of looking, we found a very nice house in the St. Clair neighbourhood. A little too far to walk to my favorite pub, but that's why there's a bus!

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2012, 11:12 PM
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Awesome. Welcome to the Hammer St. Clair is still a really, really nice neighbourhood. My friend lives on Proctor South and it's a beautiful treelined street with a boulevard in the middle. A lot of the houses in the area are nice and rustic with big porches and nice yards. It's a part of Hamilton I've wanted to live in for some time.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2012, 1:39 PM
movingtohamilton movingtohamilton is offline
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Originally Posted by matt602 View Post
Awesome. Welcome to the Hammer ...
Thanks!

I'm about to derail my own thread, and promise to move over to the other forums for details. I obviously have a lot to learn about Hamilton politics. I was reading here that Hamilton gives grants to businesses for development projects.

Some business guy may receive $ for a project on the site of the former Shoppers Drug Mart?

I'm clearly naive, but why are municipal taxpayers subsidizing entrepreneurs? What happened to that old-school risk-reward paradigm. Is the Hamilton municipality flush with cash, or teetering on the edge like many medium-size cities?

As mentioned, I have much to learn about my new city.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2012, 4:05 PM
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There's multiple types of incentives to attract business in the downtown area.

For the former Shoppers the new owners requested money from the ERASE program. It's a brownfield site so the City will help to clean up the land.

Here's a list of all of the different programs:
http://www.investinhamilton.ca/incen...s/#Brownfields
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  #16  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2012, 7:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movingtohamilton View Post

Some business guy may receive $ for a project on the site of the former Shoppers Drug Mart?

I'm clearly naive, but why are municipal taxpayers subsidizing entrepreneurs? What happened to that old-school risk-reward paradigm. Is the Hamilton municipality flush with cash, or teetering on the edge like many medium-size cities?

As mentioned, I have much to learn about my new city.
The incentives were put in place because it is incredibly hard to find an institution that will financially back a project in the downtown core. The incentives help the developer with that hurdle so they can get the project off the ground and re-pay the loan to the city later. When the downtown risk ratio starts backing off and the banks start more readily offering loans for building projects in the core, I'd imagine the program might be discontinued or rules tightened.
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