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Old 01-08-2013, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas USA
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I'm American and have been offered a job in Hamilton Ontario, can anyone give me some insight on Ancaster?? I liked the area on a recent visit and was wondering if its a good place? I'm wanting to purchase a house also...thanks
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
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Ancaster is a great place. I love it. My wife and I looked at houses when she was working for Seimens in Hamilton but we didn't buy there because we found the prices on the high side. Se continued to commute from Niagara where RE is WAY less $$$.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:01 PM
 
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If all goes well, we might also be making a move to Hamilton. We stayed with friends in Ancaster during the job interview recently, and we too liked the neighborhood. However, the area will probably be too expensive for us.
I noticed that there aren't many Hamilton threads in the Canadian forum...but wanted to ask, what neighborhoods of Hamilton would people recommend for buying a condo...neighborhoods that are walkable, have decent schools, and relatively safe?
We took a brief cross town tour, but besides aforementioned Ancaster and Dundas, which are beautiful, it was difficult to make sense of the central neighborhoods, they looked interesting, dense, urban etc. but couldn't tell if they would be safe to raise a family in. What say the Hamilton folk?
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:54 AM
 
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I don't live in Hamilton but from what I have gathered, the only non-suburban neighbourhood I would opt to raise my kids in would be the area around McMaster University which is called Westdale. That is a very nice, and expensive, part of town and the schools are high-performing. Otherwise you should stick to the suburban parts of Hamilton.

Most other parts of downtown have a lot of low income residents, but there's also plenty of great neighbourhoods with beautiful houses. Perhaps someone from Hamilton could comment on this. My reason for avoiding the downtown areas of Hamilton outside of Westdale is not because the schools are bad, since all Ontario schools are funded equally and a motivated child will get a good education in them. It's not like the U.S. where some school districts are just poorly funded and have subpar teachers.

The suburban parts of Hamilton are all fine. The areas up on the escarpment are called Hamilton Mountain and the "West Mountain" is nicer than "East Mountain." There's one street up on the mountain called Scenic Drive that has breathtaking views of the entire city. Anywhere up on the mountain is considered much more desirable than downtown for families to live, and it is reflected in the housing prices.

There's also Stoney Creek which is mostly suburban sprawl, and has some newer construction in areas like Binbrook up on the escarpment as well as lots of lakefront condos and subdivisions near the lake. I'm not too familiar with Stoney Creek. One thing I noticed is that it tends to be foggy and gloomy there, perhaps because of the narrow strip of land positioned between the escarpment and the lake.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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Tarp, thank you for the insight. Our chaperon mentioned Westdale as being one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city...also, as you mentioned, being one of the most expensive. Probably over our budget.
Checking out some real estate websites, we did come across Stoney Creek. Is this a place you'd recommend? Are there parts of it that don't get gloomy and foggy, that aren't too sprawled out, compact enough that you could walk to a playground, school, stores, post office, etc.?
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Oakville, ON
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Ancaster is beautiful - one of my favourite areas in Ontario no question.

Generally anywhere in Hamilton west of downtown is more desirable. Westdale, Dundas, Ancaster etc are all great areas. Stoney Creek is ok.

Might want to look at Burlington as well. It may be a bit more expensive, but it's easier access to the amenities in the GTA, and Halton Region is among the safest communities in Canada with an excellent school district.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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Appreciate your view on things...so I guess that once I find out about the job, I'll need to spend some time with my wife looking around and getting a feel for those locations you all have mentioned. At any rate, it will be nice to make a fresh start in Canada, God willing!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:58 PM
 
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Burlington absolutely is the best choice for living near Hamilton, but putting you closer to all the shopping and amenities of the GTA and Mississauga. Burlington is an upper middle class area while Hamilton is more working class (outside of the "nicer" parts like Ancaster and Dundas).

Stoney Creek would be cheaper than Ancaster, Dundas, or Burlington but not nearly as nice. It's okay there but the few times I've passed through it just felt like very soulless suburban sprawl. It's not a bad location to be in. Burlington has a nice downtown area and a very nice lakefront. Stoney Creek's not nearly as nice, but costs maybe 1/2 the price for a house.

Dundas is quaint but I don't think I'd live there. It has a very cute downtown strip with lots of restaurants, but I think it'd be a pain to get in and out of Dundas everyday to get to the 403 and shopping areas. The cost is high too, might as well just live in Burlington which is more convenient to the highway and amenities.

Personally, I think you should look in West Mountain areas first. Keep the commute minimal. West Mountain is very suburban but has some very nice areas.

Now, another option would be to live in the opposite direction... Niagara region. Grimsby would be another good choice. A bit more affordable (not that much cheaper) and a bit more rural, but only 20 minutes to Hamilton. Now St Catharines would be a 35 mile commute (traffic isn't too bad between the two cities) but will really stretch the dollar. 500k will buy you a really, really nice house in an excellent neighbourhood. Housing in St Catharines costs 1/3 what it does in Hamilton for comparable neighborhoods. You'd also be close enough to the U.S. border to do most of your shopping in the U.S. For an American, honestly, Canadian stores just don't cut it. Poor selection and high prices is the norm. Living nearer the border has its perks, and there's plenty to do in Niagara Falls and Buffalo too.

A key consideration would be if both husband and wife will be working. There's more jobs in Hamilton and even more closer to Toronto. To keep employment options open, live closer to Toronto and avoid Niagara region which has a poor job market (that's why the housing is so much cheaper). If you're a stay-at-home mom household then you can really live like a king by living in Niagara region where housing is way cheaper, doing most of your weekly shopping in the U.S. (no joke, you will save hundreds each month by doing this), and just commuting 30 or 40 miles to Hamilton. You could live in a luxury home instead of a regular bungalow, and take a much nicer vacation every year to boot. The same house that sells for $300k in St. Catharines is $500k in West Mountain and $700k in Burlington... no joke.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
Burlington absolutely is the best choice for living near Hamilton, but putting you closer to all the shopping and amenities of the GTA and Mississauga. Burlington is an upper middle class area while Hamilton is more working class (outside of the "nicer" parts like Ancaster and Dundas).

Stoney Creek would be cheaper than Ancaster, Dundas, or Burlington but not nearly as nice. It's okay there but the few times I've passed through it just felt like very soulless suburban sprawl. It's not a bad location to be in. Burlington has a nice downtown area and a very nice lakefront. Stoney Creek's not nearly as nice, but costs maybe 1/2 the price for a house.

Dundas is quaint but I don't think I'd live there. It has a very cute downtown strip with lots of restaurants, but I think it'd be a pain to get in and out of Dundas everyday to get to the 403 and shopping areas. The cost is high too, might as well just live in Burlington which is more convenient to the highway and amenities.

Personally, I think you should look in West Mountain areas first. Keep the commute minimal. West Mountain is very suburban but has some very nice areas.

Now, another option would be to live in the opposite direction... Niagara region. Grimsby would be another good choice. A bit more affordable (not that much cheaper) and a bit more rural, but only 20 minutes to Hamilton. Now St Catharines would be a 35 mile commute (traffic isn't too bad between the two cities) but will really stretch the dollar. 500k will buy you a really, really nice house in an excellent neighbourhood. Housing in St Catharines costs 1/3 what it does in Hamilton for comparable neighborhoods. You'd also be close enough to the U.S. border to do most of your shopping in the U.S. For an American, honestly, Canadian stores just don't cut it. Poor selection and high prices is the norm. Living nearer the border has its perks, and there's plenty to do in Niagara Falls and Buffalo too.

A key consideration would be if both husband and wife will be working. There's more jobs in Hamilton and even more closer to Toronto. To keep employment options open, live closer to Toronto and avoid Niagara region which has a poor job market (that's why the housing is so much cheaper). If you're a stay-at-home mom household then you can really live like a king by living in Niagara region where housing is way cheaper, doing most of your weekly shopping in the U.S. (no joke, you will save hundreds each month by doing this), and just commuting 30 or 40 miles to Hamilton. You could live in a luxury home instead of a regular bungalow, and take a much nicer vacation every year to boot. The same house that sells for $300k in St. Catharines is $500k in West Mountain and $700k in Burlington... no joke.
Very good post, tarp is right on the money, literally

I agree totally.
I have always wanted to move to Ancaster for some reason.
So last summer I looked really hard to find the right place, I came close but no cigar.
What surprised me was the high taxes, significantly higher than Toronto.
One home I really liked had a bidding war on it, it was listed for $799K
Nice sprawling bungalow on a 100x200 lot, walkout basement, pool, 10 ft ceilings.
Taxes were a killer though, $9000 a year, yikes. Big lots=big taxes
I saw another with an indoor pool, $ 849K , indoor pool, but taxes almost $ 11000
I think it's still for sale

I agree about Dundas, town itself is quaint and nice but I prefer Ancaster's housing stock.

Ancaster has a newer area near Hamilton border called, The Meadowlands.
The lots are smaller, taxes are less, and homes very modern,
close to decent shopping at the power center, also close to HWY 403 and The Linc.

Agree too on Stoney Creek, checked it out and I didn't like it. Kinda blah,

Burlington in many ways is the winner.
It has it all, nice neighbourhoods, amenities, and good shopping at 2 big malls.
It's pricey but not as pricey as Oakville.
I would check out Tyandaga area, very nice, Millcroft area is good too.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:46 PM
 
678 posts, read 782,850 times
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Interesting last two posts, thank you again for your explanations! The choice might be difficult - on the one hand wanting Toronto closer for cultural activities, but wanting the convenience of being closer to the border to visit family. The shopping situation...well I'm not familiar with the nuances, why Canadian stores don't purportedly match up to U.S. retailers, what makes one cheaper than the other etc. Will check everything out...for now it's a fun way to spend spare time.
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