Hamilton West has always been interesting in so many ways as I have lived my entire life in this city. Although I lived near the stadium growing up, I really had no reason to venture into this part of the world until my early college days. Why? The beer store on Dundurn Street was the latest to close in Hamilton. Eventually I had a more important reason to be in the neighbourhood. The girl I was dating and eventually would marry lived in the southwest. While visiting her, I soon realized that their area would have their streets plowed a few days before my neighbourhood. I still have not figured that one out.
The kids were different as well in the way that they dressed and cut their hair. It was the same city of Hamilton but make no mistake, the west part of our city was different. Shortly after we married, we rented an apartment in West Hamilton. We landed on Herkimer Street and you know what? I loved it.
Real estate values in the Hamilton West show that I was not alone in loving the area. Why has this area of our city exploded in value throughout these past ten years? I guess the easy answer to that would be the low mortgage rates but I know that that is not the only factor. Being a Hamiltonian, I started thinking of my own reasons as to why this area is unique. McMaster University has become a world class institution and with it’s growth, it has attracted world class professionals. West Hamilton is full of doctors, lawyers, professors and business people who enjoy being with like-minded people. The area is also fabulous in terms of trails, bike routes, a golf course within a five minute drive, and of course, the endless amounts of waterfalls.
Toronto may have Yorkville but we have Locke Street. Look what happens when the private sector takes over a neighbourhood. It is full of fabulous bars, restaurants, coffee shops, antique stores and clothing boutiques. Recently my wife and I decided to spend our Friday night on Locke and we couldn’t believe how alive and vibrant it was!
The homes in this area are rich in character and history. An area where competition for renovations and landscaping is stiff. But an area where going for a walk with the dog presents excellent visuals.
As for me, when I decided to buy real estate, I chose the West Hamilton Mountain. I am unfortunately a handyman misfit. I chose to purchase in a newer survey with a home built four years earlier. As for regrets, I do have some. The values in Hamilton West have certainly gone up higher than in my neighbourhood. I also believe, more importantly, that the Southwest and Westdale area will continue to hold it’s value even in a downturn. The area has something unique which will keep its value. It has made the city attractive. I missed the boat in buying in West Hamilton but I am proud to see that it has become a very positive fabric of our community.
Robert Floris is an independent mortgage broker at Mortgage Architects in Hamilton, Ontario.