This couple is leaving Hamilton after profiting from the trendy real estate market. Are other lifelong residents doing the same?

For Peter Westhouse, home has always been Hamilton.

He was born in St. Joe’s, attended Hill Park High School, graduated from Mohawk College, worked for a trucking company based near the Port Authority, and lived with his parents up the mountain until he married. When she had children, she raised them in a home near the Lime Ridge Mall, just steps from where she grew up.

“I’ve been here my whole life,” he said. “It is the only home I have ever known.”

But last Thursday, the 55-year-old man and his wife, Roberta Seethaler, left Hamilton in favor of Shining Tree, a northeastern Ontario community more than six hours away that is so remote that it has no official population in the area. ready.

There, on a large piece of land off Route 560, they will run a year-round hunting, fishing and wildlife center, a dream they decided to pursue during the pandemic.

“COVID made it easier to seize the moment,” Westhouse said. “You never know what’s going to happen, so you better make the most of the time you have left.”

But what is the main reason for leaving Hamilton? They wanted to cash in on a red-hot sellers market.

Two years ago, Westhouse said its three-bedroom detached house on Titmouse Court, along with several stores, schools and parks, would have sold for about $ 500,000. Last month it sold for $ 751,000.

“We put it up on a Thursday for $ 700,000. On Sunday night we had a preventive offer of $ 751,000. We accept it immediately, ”he said.

“Prices here have skyrocketed to such an extent that it made sense to capitalize on capital and make our dream come true.”

In fact, by all metrics, selling a home in Hamilton has never been better.

Prices for residential and single-family properties have been at records for months. On October 2021, the average residential property sold for $ 864,464, up 27 percent from the same month last year, according to the Hamilton-Burlington Association of Realtors (RAHB). That adds up to a 20 percent increase from October 2019 to 2020.

“2020 broke all records,” said Donna Bacher, president of RAHB, specifically noting the sale prices.

Does that mean we’re destined to see an exodus of longtime Hamiltonians, worried the asking price will never be that good, cash in on their houses and move elsewhere?

Not necessarily, said Blair Gillis, Royal LePage’s brokerage manager with more than 30 years of experience.

Sure, Gillis admitted, home prices in Steel City have rarely been this high; And sure, he added, some people packed their bags and left. But it’s important to consider the demographics of the sellers and what’s causing prices to go up.

“You hear a lot of stories of people who move to the Maritime or north, but those are people who have the emptiest nest or are retired; they tend to do it because they don’t need to be near work, ”he said. Gillis.

The other variable is a simple case of economics: less supply, more demand, higher prices. But that doesn’t always translate to increased sales, Gillis noted.

New home listings in Hamilton have not eclipsed the 1,000 mark in four consecutive months, marking an average annual decline of 26 percent. Sales consequently fell 25 percent during that same period. But average prices still rose an average of 23 percent, creating what Gillis called a nip in the market for both buyers and sellers.

“There is still a huge shortage of listings, so marketers hold their cards close to their chests and look forward to seeing how things are going next year. And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see a slowdown in prices in the near future, “said Gillis.

“Sellers also need to lock something before selling their home, and they can’t find a property that suits their needs because there is a shortage of them. It’s a Catch-22 “.

Gillis reiterated that some vendors, like Westhouse, have taken advantage of the red-hot market.

But most locals are waiting for now because prices, as high as they are currently, show no signs of falling, he said.

“If it were a mass exodus, we would see twice as many ads as we do now. But the supply is so low that people are not jumping in and taking advantage of the prices. “

Sebastian Bron is a reporter for The Spectator. [email protected]

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