Hamilton heats up

It would seem that Hamilton is one of the last great frontiers for Canadian residential real estate investors. Well, that is until the Canadian market goes through a bit of a correction. The prices in many large urban markets across the country have become inflated by anywhere from five to 10 per cent, according to Benjamin Tal, senior economist with CIBC, and he expects these cities will start to see a price correction during 2011.

While investors in southern Ontario wait for the Toronto market to correct, many of them are now starting to take advantage of the affordable, yet active market in Hamilton.

Hamilton Mountain, for instance, has seen activity pick up nicely entering into autumn, with the number of sales increasing to 148 in September, up 15.5 per cent from July, when sales were 125. This recent boost adds to the already strong sales activity in the area, where 1,498 sales were made out of 2,004 listings from January to September 2010.

Typically, that much demand in an area should apply more pressure on the average price, says Judy Marsales, broker of record for Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd., but "we're still not seeing huge inflation in Hamilton."

In fact, despite increases in sales activity, the average price fell in the Hamilton Mountain area to $238,099 in September, down nearly two per cent from July when the average price was $242,621. (The national average price during September was $331,089.)

This unique market presents investors with a "great opportunity" to find good deals on properties ahead of the next housing cycle, Marsales says.

"You don't have to wait to buy. I think if you know what you're doing and you do a good job, there's huge opportunity to buy now."

Find out more about the hottest areas to get maximum cash flow in Canada's Steel City by picking up a copy of our January issue, on newsstands Dec. 8.

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