Recent December data from the Toronto Real Estate Board show the average selling price for properties in the Greater Toronto Area in 2017 was $822,681. It’s a considerable expense, and one that’s simply beyond many prospective buyers’ budgets. There are options for those with less buying power, however, particularly if you go further afield.
The city of Hamilton for instance, is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those searching for a home for below the seven-figure mark. Once an industrial powerhouse, the Hammer is rising back to prominence after years of stagnation. Development is booming in the city, and with a $1-billion LRT line in the works, housing prices rose 22.9 per cent in 2017. That makes Hamilton real estate among Canada’s hottest markets, a far cry from its status just a few years ago.
Dundas: A Natural Real Estate Getaway
Not everyone wants to live in the city though, and for those who prefer to be a little closer to nature, the picturesque town of Dundas may be the perfect location. Part of the Hamilton metropolitan area, the town is renowned for its parks and nature trails, not forgetting the numerous waterfalls in the surrounding area.
The downtown is perhaps Dundas’ biggest selling point, however – the 19th century architecture making it a favourite location for film makers. Those wishing to escape the big city are increasingly drawn here now too, and not just to visit, but to settle permanently.
Ferdows Sadeghyar, a Zoocasa agent, has lived in Dundas for the past four years. Aside from calling the town his home, he increasingly sees it as a place to conduct business. As he explains, it’s not hard to see what the attraction is for certain buyers.
“There are definitely a lot of buyers that have been priced out of the Toronto market,” he says. “For under a million you are buying a property that has land. It will be a big, detached house with a back yard you can enjoy. You’re not going to find that in Toronto for that price.”
A Whole New Price Point
With a detached home in Toronto now in seven figure territory in most cases, most buyers are having to decide whether to lower their expectations, or look outside the GTA. Sadeghyar explains what you might expect to find if your search brings you to Dundas.
“For a detached home you would be starting at about $450,000 going up to $1.5–2 million, and for that price you will be buying a mansion,” he says. “You will see some townhouses, which are a bit older as there hasn’t been a lot of development there – those are about $300,000–400,000. Condos are as low as $200,000, rising to $300,000 for a higher end property.”
Such prices are a distant memory in Toronto, but there is an obvious downside to the small town life – the commute. While many people can’t afford to buy a home in Toronto anymore, it’s still likely that’s exactly where work will take them. The main arteries into the city are heavily congested as a result, and while public transportation is improving, there still is massive room for improvement in connecting the Hamilton region to the GTA.
Available Transit Options
“It’s probably about an hour drive,” says Sadeghyar. “Taking the train, you are close to McMaster University, and there is a train service to Toronto from there. Another option is driving to Hamilton, and taking the bus or GO train to Toronto. Dundas is about 15 minutes from Hamilton, and 5–10 minutes from McMaster.”
While daily trips on the QEW might not sound too enticing, it is is balanced out with close proximity to the scenic Dundas Peak, not to mention The Bruce Trail, or the Tews and Webster Falls. For certain people, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, which is why you are seeing the market heating up currently.
“It has an old time vibe, but you are still fairly close to the city,” says Sadeghyar. “Also with all the waterfalls, the scenery is an obvious selling point. You are surrounded by nature, so if you are into that, then Dundas is the place for you.”