What’s so great about James Street North? It’s only a street, is it not? Wrong. James Street North is where history was made in Hamilton.
James Street North wasn’t always called James Street. It was called Lake Street because it connected the town to the lake. It was changed to James Street to honor the first name of a son of one of the city’s founders.
James Street North holds an event on the second Friday of every month called James North Art Crawl. It is where you can explore galleries, shops and studios that call this historic neighborhood home. It is free, self-guided and a bunch of fun. This event has been held for over 5 years now and is turning into an event you can’t miss.
James Street North had a comeback around 2005 and 2006 when a couple of art galleries opened up. They galleries decided to stay open a little bit later on the second Friday of every month and from there the Art Crawl was born.
The Art Crawl event attracts all sorts of people, many wander up and down the sidewalks checking out the street vendors and going in and out of shops. There is music and a lot of chatter.
James Street North doesn’t just hold the James North Art Crawl. It also holds James Street Super Crawl. It is a weekend festival in September, of visual art and music that is a smash-up of local and international artists. This event is held this year on September 8-10, 2017.
Locke Street is Hamilton’s most eclectic neighbourhood. Locke Street has everything you are looking for whether it be a relaxing day at the spa, fine dining, home furnishings, the latest fashion and much more. Locke Street is a nice street to take a stroll on with many shops to visit and explore.
The Street has so much to offer to so many different people, but Locke Street isn’t just a street full of shops, it is also the home to the Hill Street Community Garden. Hill Street Community Garden is between Dundurn and and Locke Street. This garden is purposed to serve the Southwest Hamilton community by organizing and providing a shared community garden.
The garden is a great way to educate children and others who are unfamiliar with gardening and can discover their connection to food and the earth. It helps promote health in the community around it.
Do you want to garden and be a part of this community? You can register and pay $20 for a half plot of about 100 square feet. It’s never too late to be apart of something wonderful.
Millennials are one of the largest generations in history and are about to move into its prime time spending years. Millennials is the common term for the generation who became adults in the year 2000 or later and are currently aged 16-35 years old.
Young professionals in the GTA are making the big decision to move outside of Toronto to buy or rent a house. Hamilton’s affordability, compared to Toronto, is the strongest lure for younger people priced out of the GTA.
According to a 2016 study by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, there are now more millennials than baby boomers living in Hamilton. Millennials want more space then just a cramped little apartment. They want a house with a front or back yard, a space to have company, which is offered by Hamilton’s older homes.
In Hamilton, first-time buyers mostly seek out older, single-family detached homes around $300,00 according to RE/MAX. Hamilton isn’t wasting any time, with the construction of two new condos’ being built in the downtown core. The growth rate for young adults aged 20-29 in Hamilton has become strong and has become twice the growth rate of Toronto.
It’s a hard time for millennials. About 70 per cent are willing to delay homeownership until they can afford what they really need and want. It comes to a point where millennials are living at home where the rent is either free or less then renting a place of their own.
A bonus to moving to an affordable home outside of Toronto is the ongoing transportation. Such as increased GO Train Services to the region and the upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.
Have a great week
Whether you like to stay fit or you need to get away from all the hustle and bustle of a busy city, hiking is an all around positive hobby. Become one with nature and enjoy the gorgeous views that Hamilton’s Escarpment Rail Trail has to offer.
Check out the gorgeous Albion Falls or the stunning view of the Niagara Escarpment. It’s a great place to see a few of our four legged, wild friends, do some bird watching or catch a breath-taking glimpse of the lower city.
The trail is built on an abandoned Canadian National Railway line and is a piece of history from a time when young Hamilton was just beginning to develop. Thirty-two kilometres of asphalt and gravel walkway make this trail an ideal spot for cyclists, runners or leisurely walks with the whole family and of course the dog!
All in all, this trail is a reflection of Hamilton’s diversity; a city filled with the hustle and bustle of every city in the country, but with a natural, quiet, meditative side. The Escarpment Rail Trail is a true shining star.
Yet one more reason to call Hamilton home.
This is a really great little Hamilton tradition. On the second Friday of every month, James Street North turns into an amazing art crawl that celebrates art in every form. The street becomes a self-guided gallery tour of artistic expression from artists of all mediums. A great place to learn, support the arts, get inspired or just spend time browsing with the one you love.
From music and painting to contemporary dance and sculptures, there is a little-bit-of-a-lot at this crawl. If you love experiencing culture and diversity in art and food, this eight-year long tradition will have you marking every second Friday of every month, in your calendar.
As if this weren’t enough, once a year, a driven team of Hamilton artists and community builders hold a ‘Super Crawl’ (inspired by its smaller counterpart). This event was born in 2009 and has since turned into a weekend-long event. Spanning over a dozen blocks, with the traffic closed off to the street, the Super Crawl has quickly become an event that the entire city can enjoy. Big names in music, art exhibits on the street, food trucks for every appetite…this family event is one not to be missed.
Just another reason to call Hamilton home!
Welcome to my blog series ‘Gems of Hamilton’ where I get to tell you about some of the awesome places to visit, eat or just hang out at in this great city.
Finch Cafe on Locke Street, near the downtown core, is a small and cozy establishment serving awesome coffee and food in a relaxing and friendly environment, it’s a great space to have a business meeting or to grab a coffee with friends.
Hamilton is fast becoming a ‘Foodie City’ with new restaurants and cafes literally popping up every week. The city is enjoying a long overdue revival and people are now coming to live here based on the value of property but also because of the music, food and arts scene.
Stay tuned for some more ‘Gems of Hamilton’, hope you enjoy them and don’t forget to reach out and let me know about your favorite coffee haunt.
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Summer Maintenance for New Home Owners
First off, congratulations! Becoming a homeowner for the first time is a major life milestone. Usually it also means you’ve achieved some other life goals. Whether your career has taken off or you are starting a new family, your new home will be the venue to celebrate. And what better season than summer to gather friends and family?
Of course, once the guests go home you’ll have new responsibilities. Now there’s no landlord to call. If something breaks, you have to fix it. So, as a housewarming gift, here’s a list for maintaining your home for this summer and the summers to come.
Be Fire Safe
Hopefully you kept fire safety in mind while buying your home. But when it comes to protecting the people and belongings you love, you cannot be too diligent. Get to know your home and devise an evacuation plan. Review the best exits in the case of a fire and decide on a meeting place.
But once you’ve finished that don’t rush to cross it off your to-do list. Including fire safety in your regular maintenance plan is the surest way to keep your family and your new home safe. Your A/C uses a lot of energy and fires can start if you add another appliance to an already hard working outlet. Check your home for these issues, test your smoke alarms, keep a fire extinguisher handy and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Touching up the Paint
Paint isn’t just about curb appeal. It protects your gutters from rust and wood from rot. Checking your home’s paint job for peeling or chipping is also a great excuse to enjoy beautiful summer weather. Taking care of small areas and hiring a pro for bigger jobs means your home ages well structurally and in its looks.
Clean out the Gutters
While you’ve got your ladder out have a look at your gutters. They’re often overlooked, but neglecting them can give you a real headache to deal with. Clogged gutters won’t be able to properly disperse the water from summer downpours, causing flooding. Avoiding this is simple. Climb up there and dig out leaves and debris that have built up.
Dealing with Insects
It’s a fact that as a homeowner you will have insects to deal with. As with everything on this list the key is prevention. Clear away those cobwebs to deal with spiders. Keep ant poison handy so that you can respond to an infestation immediately.
Termites are a more serious issue. Left unchecked they can cause structural damage to your home. Tightly seal foundation cracks, maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of your home and keep your basement and attic well ventilated and dry.
Maintain Your A/C
Keep your A/C clean and working efficiently. Regularly change your filters if your A/C is window mounted. Larger A/Cs remove moisture from the air to lower humidity and deposit condensed water through the drain line under your home. Mold, mildew and algae can build up in the drain line, clog and damage your air conditioner. A cup of bleach will prevent this build up.
Once again, congratulations on your new home. May these maintenance tips serve you well!
Mark Maga Real Estate 2016
Priced out by an inflated Toronto market, many young professionals are setting their sights on real estate in Hamilton instead. Big houses, spacious lawns, big city amenities and a city-wide revival are drawing in Millennials from across Toronto and the rest of Canada.
According the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in its quarterly Housing Market Assessment, which was issued on April 27, 2016, Toronto is suffering from price acceleration and even overvaluation. What does this mean? Well, to thousands of Millennials in the GTA it means looking outside of Toronto to buy or rent their first home.
Millennials Tired of Renting and Looking to Own
Rent prices for a two-bedroom condo in Toronto have increased by nearly 10 per cent since last year. On average a semi-detached home in Toronto now costs more than a million dollars – far out of reach for most Millennials.
It is no wonder that Toronto’s property prices have translated into 60 per cent of Millennials saying they are tired of paying rent, and 70 per cent suggesting they would be willing to delay buying their first home until they can afford what they really want.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute found that 45 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds in the GTA are considering leaving in order to find cheaper real estate. To many, that means looking west to Hamilton.
For the price of renting a Toronto condo, Millennials in the GTA are able to take out mortgages on spacious Hamilton properties. Rather than throw money away renting, Millennials are choosing to lay down roots and invest in property in Hamilton, which has all the amenities of a big city without the overinflated price tag. But price alone isn’t the only thing bringing Millennials to Hamilton. Other factors include:
The Go Train and other public transit options in Hamilton mean that Millennials will still be able to work in downtown Toronto – or anywhere else in the Golden Horseshoe, for that matter. Living near the GO Train station is an affordable option in Hamilton and being able to walk to and from the GO station is not something you normally get with life in the suburbs.
It’s not you, it’s me, we just need more space – literally! Millennials are breaking things off with Toronto and looking to buy property with some breathing room. After spending years paying rent to live in a cramped apartment, Millennials want the large houses, lawns and breathing room offered by many older Hamilton homes.
Hamilton garnered an unfair reputation for many years as an industrial wasteland but the secret is out. Hamilton is a great place to live! Full of green space, affordable homes, a diverse cultural base and an academic centre, with the influx of young people from across southern Ontario Hamilton is only getting better.
The city is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Mohawk College and McMaster University, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, it’s own CFL team (the Ti-Cats), a thriving arts and music scene and so much more.
The number of Millennials looking to rent or buy in Hamilton is already boosting the real estate market and increasing home values. The creativity and capital these Millennials bring to the city is doing more than boosting the real estate market. Newly moved-in Millennials are also supporting local businesses and helping to revive the city. Relatively inexpensive real estate is now drawing in businesses, who bring with them more young professionals.
Toronto should be worrying about a brain drain as its young people are priced out of the city, but Toronto’s loss could be Hamilton’s gain. Hamilton’s real estate market is already growing at a healthy pace, and with more and more Millennials making the switch from Hogtown to Steeltown, Hamilton real estate is continuing to increase in value.
Mark Maga Real Estate 2016 (c)
Buyers need to keep their cool in a hot real estate market
Don’t panic. These two simple words, when strung together, could be the best advice you get when wading into Canada’s current housing market, which is red hot. Nothing causes heart palpitations more than parting with hundreds of thousands of dollars, but a hot market doesn’t necessarily exclude first time home buyers.
Buying a house in this climate shouldn’t cause you to go into shock. Instead, consider it an endeavour in which you envision all the possibilities of the future. While you may think it’s better to wait until the market cools down, you may regret that decision later. First time home buyers who are well prepared and armed with the right knowledge will feel less stress in the long run and can start earning equity on their home sooner.
Talk to professionals
You’ve done your research and you’re still not completely sure you understand everything you’re reading. There’s a lot of data out there and market guidelines like the amount needed for a down payment are constantly changing. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently changed the rules surrounding down payments for houses that are $500, 000 or more – requiring a 10 per cent down payment instead of 5 per cent.
Consider talking to a mortgage broker, who will help you wade through all the information. Not only is it their job to know these rules, regulations and numbers, but they can also help you find rates you might not get on your own, especially if you’re self-employed or have a few bumps in your credit rating.
A mortgage broker will be able to guide you through the murky waters of equity, down payments, interest rates and the latest rules of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, allowing you to free up your brain space for more important things like what neighbourhood you’d like to buy in and where the closest Starbucks is.
Buy a house that will grow with your future needs
Worry less about waiting on the market to go down and remember that you’re buying a house for the future. Choosing a house that’s a little bigger than you need may actually save you money in the long run. Take for instance, the fact that most first time home owners stay about five to six years in their first home before they outgrow it.
If you were to up your maximum by just 10 per cent you may find yourself in a house that can sustain your family for longer and you won’t have to move as quickly —saving you a second round of all the fees that go along with selling and buying a home. Holding off on buying a new home for a few more years could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.
Your real estate agent has the expertise to help you make a sound decision. It’s best to put your emotions on hold and stay rational. Remember, your home is an investment. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but keeping calm and arming yourself with the right tools to make your investment profitable will make all the difference, especially in a hot market.
Thinking about Buying a Rental Property in Hamilton?
5 Things to Consider Before You Sign on the Dotted Line
Buying a rental property is a huge financial opportunity that comes with it’s fair share of risk and rewards. Before you jump in to the Hamilton real estate market it’s important to do your research and fully understand what you’re getting into.
Working with a real estate agent who is experienced in investment properties is a good place to start. Your agent will help you assess the market, understand the responsibilities involved and ultimately help you find the right rental property. But first, consider:
- Do you have what it takes to be a good landlord?
As a landlord you have a legal obligation to your tenants and you could be on the hook financially and legally if you don’t fulfill your responsibilities. A good landlord has:
- The time needed to be available and on call for maintenance and other emergency situations
- The money on hand required to fix and maintain their buildings
- The personality to deal fairly with a variety of people in stressful situations
- Rental properties that are close by so that they can be on hand to support tenants, protect the property and easily solve any potential problems that arise
- An understanding of their legal responsibilities
- Insurance to protect their property and themselves
If this doesn’t sound like you then consider hiring a property management company to manage your property on your behalf (but note that this will eat into your property’s income earnings).
- What is The Real Estate Market Like?
Hamilton is an up and coming real estate market, and has a number of investment opportunities available, many for under $300, 000. For many first-time investors now is a good time to buy a rental property, especially with interest rates at an all-time low.
Be prepared to take advantage of a good opportunity when it presents itself. Sometimes in a hot market a quick sale can lead to savings. But ensure that you’re always comfortable with the purchase. Don’t get rushed into a decision you will regret later.
- What is Your Financial Situation?
It’s important to understand how much money you will need to invest in the income property, how much money you can expect to make from the property and whether the property will appreciate in value over time.
According to Kurt Rosentreter, a certified financial planner at Manulife Securities Inc., “the decision to buy an income property should be based on two factors,” he tells The Globe and Mail. “Once you subtract your mortgage and operating costs, will the property generate a steady monthly income? Secondly, will it appreciate in value?”
Rosentreter warns that investment property owners with large debt loads should be weary. “If you are taking on a 20-year mortgage and interest rates hit 5 per cent, could this be a disaster for you,” he asks.
There are also a number of tax and insurance implications for rental property owners. Talk to your real estate agent, accountant or certified financial planner about the tax implications involved in owning a rental property and work these details into your budget.
- Real Estate is a Long-term Investment
It takes time to make money in real estate. If you are looking for an investment that will pay dividends quickly then real-estate might not be the right fit for you.
If you have the patience required for a real estate investment, then talk to your agent about the best up and coming areas in which to purchase a rental property. Remember to look for neighbourhoods that are:
- Close to amenities
- Close to public transport.
Consider your future plans for the property as well. A home inspection will help you decide whether the property is a good investment and your real estate agent can help you check local by-laws and zoning if you plan to add to or convert the property in the future.
- Can You Find the Right Tenants?
The right tenants can make or break an investment property owner. Protect yourself by taking the time to weed through potential applicants and identify the good from the bad.
Good tenants pay on time, respect your property and abide by the rules set out in the lease. Bad tenants damage your property, do not pay rent on time (or at all), and break their lease. Dealing with a bad tenant costs time and money. To find the right tenants, be prepared to:
- Ask for references and employment history
- Request a credit check
- Get a security deposit
- Ask tenants to commit to a long-term lease.
Your answers to the five considerations above will help you decide if a rental property is a good investment for you. If you’re considering investing in real estate talk to an experienced real estate agent who can help you work through these details and find the right rental property to invest in..
Copyright Maga Real Estate 2016
Real estate in Hamilton in 2015 was at an all time high, with “a record-breaking number of properties – about 16, 000 – sold,” CBC News reported. Looking to 2016 experts like Abdul Kargbo, who is an analyst with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, predicted that in Hamilton “the market will remain strong, but it’s all relative… 2016 and 2017 will be a little slower than 2015,” he said.
Despite predictions, 2016 data shows an increase in average housing sales and prices
The small dip in demand that experts were planning for in 2016 hasn’t happened yet. Despite predictions that the 2016 Hamilton real estate market would cool off slightly the city remains the only one in Ontario where demand is outpacing supply. The CMHC just released complete January data on Hamilton’s current real estate environment and in fact, compared to January 2015 the market showed a 7.3 per cent increase in total number of sales and an 8 per cent increase in average prices.
Competition to Buy Fierce with Fewer New Listings
With fewer new listings available this year compared to last (there were 1, 111 new real estate listings in January 2016 compared to 1,328 new listings in January 2015) it looks like competition to buy a home in Hamilton has been fierce in the first quarter of the year. Fewer listings and high demand has created an environment of multiple offers and bidding wars – a dream for Hamilton home owners who want to sell.
The interest in Hamilton real estate comes from within the city as low interest rates are turning long-time renters into first time home buyers. Rents in Hamilton actually increased by 3.08 per cent to $1, 034 per month last year, CBC News reported. With rent increasing throughout the city the gap between the cost to rent and own a home is closing. Many renters are now wondering why they should continue to rent when they could build equity in their own home instead.
Interest outside of the city is also fueling the buying frenzy in Hamilton as Toronto buyers look to Hamilton for the space and affordability they can’t find in the GTA. The high demand for homes is pushing housing prices up, with increases similar to those projected for Toronto and Vancouver, which are two of the hottest housing markets in Canada.
Time will tell if the real estate market will continue to hold strong or start to cool off as experts predict. In the meantime if you’re thinking of buying or selling in Hamilton then you’ll be interested to know that according to the CMHC, in January 2016 the average home in the Hamilton area sold for $451, 130.
Mark Maga Real Estate 2016