Hamilton-Niagara house prices going up around GO Transit expansion: CHMC

A CHMC report says house prices are going up around stations earmarked for Go Transit expansion to Niagara. Don Mitchell / Global News

A study from Canada’s national housing agency says GO stations in the Hamilton-Niagara region are driving up the prices of nearby homes.

The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CHMC) says they have found a direct correlation between the announcement and construction of new GO transit stations and increasing house prices.

The report revealed that in some instances house prices went up as much as nine per cent before construction of a GO station began.

CHMC senior analyst Anthony Passarelli told Global News that areas around West Harbour GO station and future stations like St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Confederation in Stoney Creek saw house price increases in and around expansion announcements dating back as far as 2013.

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Passarelli says the methodology is based on comparing past price increases of homes across a city before any GO expansion talk, with price increases in the same city following a transit announcement.

“The way we determine that is we looked at areas that did not get a station,” said Passarelli, “But the areas that had similar price increases leading up to the announcement and we said ‘what would the prices have been in these areas – like Hamilton Center, Stoney Creek, St. Catharines – if there wasn’t a station announced?’. From that, we determined the effect of the GO train station.”

The area of the Golden Horseshoe that saw the biggest impact according to the CHMC study was West Harbour Go which saw the average house price increase nine per cent or $30,000 between the project’s announcement date in May 2013 to its completion in 2015.

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The three other stations which are not yet completed – Confederation, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls – contributed to an increase of between seven and eight per cent — between $30,000 and $40,000 respectively — to those communities.

Passarelli says house prices in Brantford, a city not a part of any GO expansion plans, were used as a comparison to compensate for the growing migration of GTA residents looking for an affordable home.

“Brantford is an area that did not get a go train station. However, it was still getting those people moving from these areas like Mississauga, Oakville to their area as well.”

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Last week Metrolinx released an update on it’s Niagara Falls rail service extension which has the goal of implementing a two-way all-day service to Niagara Falls on the Lakeshore West corridor.

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So far, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines GO stations are ready for operation on the Lakeshore West line while Confederation is currently under construction. Grimsby has been earmarked for future expansion.

Metrolinx estimates yearly ridership between the lines will fall somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1.5 to 2 million riders by 2031.

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