Move over, Toronto

by Neil Sharma on 29 Dec 2020

Not even the pandemic has been able to cool Hamilton’s real estate market.

For the last five years, The Hammer has benefited from Toronto’s affordability woes by poaching millennial-aged homebuyers, from first-timers to move-up purchasers. Although that has driven the city’s prices up, they’re still affordable relative to the region.

In November, the average price of a home in the City of Toronto was $909,803 and $651,744 in Hamilton, and given the two cities’ proximity to each other, it’s no wonder Torontonians are still fleeing to the former industrial powerhouse.

It isn’t just end user purchasers who are seeking bargains in Hamilton, though. Adrian Pannozzo is the founder of Executive Properties Inc., a property management company, and a retired 21-year veteran of Peel Regional Police where he served as a sergeant, who began investing in Hamilton in 2007. After an auspicious decade of investing there, he decided to retire from the police force in 2017 to focus on his investments full-time.

Pannozzo says choosing Hamilton, where he carries 64 properties, over Toronto was a no-brainer 13 years ago, and it still is today.

“Money went a lot further in Hamilton than it would have in Toronto, and cash flow was the major reason,” he said. “You can pay the mortgage and property tax and still come out at the end of the month with a healthy surplus, whereas in Toronto you’re lucky if you break even at the end of every month if all of your expenses are covered.”

Make no mistake, on wider horizons, Toronto investment properties fetch a pretty penny on appreciation, but Hamilton is still brimming with short- and long-term investment opportunities, some of which manifested after COVID-19 struck earlier this year.

Multifamily buildings are getting $70,000-80,000 more today than they were in March,” said Pannozzo, “ because supply is down.”

Downtown Hamilton, where most of the demand for rental properties is, has undergone a rejuvenation over the last few years, especially on James St. North and South where a slew of brewpubs, restaurants and art galleries have recently taken up residence.

Hamilton’s economy is bolstered by robust health care, construction and manufacturing sectors that form a solid foundation upon which the city’s real estate market can thrive. And like many other cities in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t impaired the property market.

“Most of our tenants are young professionals between 26 and 32 years of age, and relocating to the city from Toronto or Mississauga to live and work,” said Pannozzo. “We’re managing over 500 units and our delinquency payments are below 1%.”

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