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Hamilton Economic Development

Selling Hamilton in Toronto

Harry Stinson is pictured here at his desk. Stinson has two high-profile condo developments in the works — the Stinson School and the Hamilton Grand.

Skeptical Torontonians at Property Show listen intently as Hamilton explains why they should invest in real estate here

At a crowded hotel in the heart of Toronto, everyone’s talking about Hamilton.

Residents from Toronto and beyond came to the Hyatt Regency Hotel Saturday for the Property Show, a conference and investment seminar geared toward those looking to sink some cash into the real estate market.

There, developer Harry Stinson, city urban renewal manager Glen Norton and realtor Mark Loeffler told the crowd why they should set their sights on Hamilton.

“You can buy a nice home for $200,000, $300,000. Here (in Toronto), that will get you a studio apartment,” Stinson said.

Saturday’s panel had some of the highest pre-registration numbers of the conference, Norton said — so high that the panel was moved from one of the smaller rooms to a large ballroom.

Much of the discussion at the panel revolved around things Hamiltonians already know — the city’s move away from manufacturing, the urban art scene on James Street North, the ambitious plans for the waterfront. The city’s affordable real estate prices also loomed large over the hour-long panel.

“You’ve got a market in Toronto — it’s just so expensive and scary now. People are pausing; $400,000 for a studio apartment just doesn’t seem right,” said Stinson. “And then they see in Hamilton, for $400,000 they can buy two large homes. A lot of times, they start off buying because it’s a cheap investment — then they realize ‘You know, this is kind of a cool city.’”

Still, it was clear from the crowd’s questions that many who live outside Hamilton still see it as a steel town.

Norton said the conference came at the end of a two-month advertising blitz in the GTA that challenged that sort of stereotypical idea about Hamilton.

“We spent over $80,000 in Toronto in September and October — we’re just winding it to a close now — to change that perception and to make them aware of what we are,” Norton said. “The timing of this show is very good — but clearly, more needs to be done.”

Several members of the crowd got the message. Toronto resident Mark Dooley said he is planning to buy property in Hamilton.

“Right now, with my wife, we’ve decided that we’re going to attack and buy some investment property. So I wanted to get to know a little bit more about the city,” he said. “I’m convinced now, even more so.”

Oakville resident Chris Parrish spent five years in Hamilton as a student. He and his wife, Jenn, already own property near St. Joseph’s Hospital and are now considering more.

“It’s always good to get some new perspectives and hear from the experts,” he said.

Article courtesy The Hamilton Spectator.

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