Hamilton’s Reputation as an Investment Haven Gathering Pace

July 04, 2014

Hamilton, Ontario’s hard-fought reputation for industrialism has been taking a hit in recent years as a city once best known as a satellite of Toronto is developing an orbit of its own by being named one of Ontario’s leading cities for business investment.

The city was recently named the top city in Ontario in which to invest for 2012by REIN (Real Estate Investment Network). Hamilton received the same title in 2011 – a trend which seems to be paralleling the the city’s rise to prominence on the business map.

Hamilton’s reputation from the outside is a little sullied. It’s not a steel town. While steel is still a player, high tech and young professionals are redefining the city.”

Don Campbell – REIN Founding Partner

Hamilton has always had the potential to be a major investment area. It is home to an international airport, the busiest shipping port of any of the Great Lakes, and is located just an hour away from the United States border. The ingredients were there. But now the city is finally putting these ingredients together and building a thriving community based on attracting businesses, professionals and families alike.

There are many unique measurements that REIN considers when deciding which cities hold the best investment potential. REIN bases their research on statistics such as average income, population growth, job creation, rental vacancy rate vs. national averages and infrastructure. The city of Hamilton is achieving forward momentum in each of these categories. Within their report REIN detail some of the reasons behind Hamilton’s continuing strength as an investment haven for Canadians. REIN states that the city is experiencing growth as a result of strong, proactive economic development policies and a commitment to providing incentives for new business investment as well as new migration to the city from other locations across Ontario.

Emerging trends show professionals moving from their Toronto bases to Hamilton area offices in order to save on rent costs and improve the ability of their organization to consolidate resources for expansion in other areas. And in 2011, Hamilton was second only to Toronto in attracting new corporate investment. In 2012, Hamilton has gained over 20,000 jobs, superseding projections and highlighting how much confidence many companies are now placing within the city as part of a corporate growth pattern.

 “Our last four years have probably been the best in the last 25 in terms of (incoming) companies and company expansion.

Neil Everson – City Economic Development Director

One of the keys to the influx in investment in Hamilton is housing affordability. While prices for property are rising steadily in comparison to the national average, the city is still one of the more affordable cities in which to live within the Greater Toronto Area. In Hamilton, the average home price was $333,498 in 2011 and is forecast to be $355,000 for 2012 and $365,000 in 2013. This steady rise in property prices compared to the explosion in real estate prices in Toronto means that many young professionals are also now considering Hamilton as a city in which to purchase property. With such a clear forward trend, the city’s property prices are predicted to rise and outpace others in the near future.

Consider for example the numbers from the recent 2012 Canada Housing Market Outlook Report released by the CHMC (Canada Housing & Mortgage Corporation) which states that:

In Hamilton, buyers will continue to move in from the more expensive resale markets in the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”). Hamilton`s proximity to an expensive GTA market will allow housing activity to hold up better versus other more expensive Ontario centres in 2013.

What’s clear from the vast array of positive data concerning Hamilton in recent years is that the city is at the beginning of an exciting time in its history. All signs are pointing to superb growth for Hamilton in the coming years. And with the Pan-AM games just around the corner in 2015, the city is in a prime location to make a bigger impact further afield when its opportunity comes. Stepping out of Toronto’s shadow, the 2013 and 2014 versions of an upgraded Hamilton, Ontario offer proactive investors the opportunity to take a chance on a forward-moving vehicle.