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Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Old May 14th 2020, 1:29 pm
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Default Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Hi, my fiance has accepted a job in St Catharines and I am totally stuck on which areas to look at for our property search. We are 38 and 42 and have no kids and no plans to. We are moving from Leeds City Centre. We like dining out in nice places, wine/cocktail bars and the cosmopolitan vibe of the City Center. I am originally from Lytham St Annes so also happy with a more small town feel but more upmarket. We would like 3 beds min so guests can stay from home and some outdoor space and have around £500k (+ for the right place). We are happy for a commute to get the best place for our needs to make the most of our move. Is it like UK where you look on say Right Move and find things you like with various agents or do you instruct a broker to find something suitable? I have heard areas of St Catharines would be suitable but which, also maybe Burlington or Niagara on the Lake. all offer different things that we may like. Please help me with where to start I have never made a move like this before.
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Old May 14th 2020, 1:38 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by katehul View Post
Hi, my fiance has accepted a job in St Catharines and I am totally stuck on which areas to look at for our property search. We are 38 and 42 and have no kids and no plans to. We are moving from Leeds City Centre. We like dining out in nice places, wine/cocktail bars and the cosmopolitan vibe of the City Center. I am originally from Lytham St Annes so also happy with a more small town feel but more upmarket. We would like 3 beds min so guests can stay from home and some outdoor space and have around £500k (+ for the right place). We are happy for a commute to get the best place for our needs to make the most of our move. Is it like UK where you look on say Right Move and find things you like with various agents or do you instruct a broker to find something suitable? I have heard areas of St Catharines would be suitable but which, also maybe Burlington or Niagara on the Lake. all offer different things that we may like. Please help me with where to start I have never made a move like this before.
A month ago I bought a car in Port Dalhousie. That seemed a very nice place, on the lake, a small town kind of place but a short drive to the bright lights of St. Catharines and the architectural splendour of Buffalo. It was also warm and green while, here, it was brown and snow covered. In Canada one looks on realtor.ca.
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Old May 14th 2020, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by katehul View Post
Hi, my fiance has accepted a job in St Catharines and I am totally stuck on which areas to look at for our property search. We are 38 and 42 and have no kids and no plans to. We are moving from Leeds City Centre. We like dining out in nice places, wine/cocktail bars and the cosmopolitan vibe of the City Center. I am originally from Lytham St Annes so also happy with a more small town feel but more upmarket. We would like 3 beds min so guests can stay from home and some outdoor space and have around £500k (+ for the right place). We are happy for a commute to get the best place for our needs to make the most of our move. Is it like UK where you look on say Right Move and find things you like with various agents or do you instruct a broker to find something suitable? I have heard areas of St Catharines would be suitable but which, also maybe Burlington or Niagara on the Lake. all offer different things that we may like. Please help me with where to start I have never made a move like this before.
If you'll be moving on a temp work permit, then you may want to just rent until you get PR, very risky to buy without the right to stay. If you do a search of the forum for St Catharines you may find relevant threads, I'm sure it's been mentioned on here before a few times.

And welcome to BE.
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Old May 14th 2020, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

I work with some people who commute from St. Catharines. The key message from them is to get a job, if you're going to get one, on that side of the big bridge in Hamilton. It is shit scary to have to go over that in the winter.
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Old May 14th 2020, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

He has a tenure track position at Brock with 3 year probation so we would prefer to buy I think or is renting quite easy and cheaper? I also see renting as a waste of money over here if you have funds to buy. When I search St Cathrines the threads were quite old but maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there a way to search St Catharines in more detail, sorry I'm new and thought id followed the tips correctly for newbies?
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Old May 14th 2020, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by katehul View Post
He has a tenure track position at Brock with 3 year probation so we would prefer to buy I think or is renting quite easy and cheaper? I also see renting as a waste of money over here if you have funds to buy. When I search St Cathrines the threads were quite old but maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there a way to search St Catharines in more detail, sorry I'm new and thought id followed the tips correctly for newbies?
The snag with buying and selling in Canada is that the cost of sale is enormous. Choosing a house that turns out to be the wrong one will set you back years. The sensible thing is to rent first. (Not that I'm saying I would rent first but it is good to be aware that house depreciate like cars in the first year, at least 5% of the cost).
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Old May 14th 2020, 2:11 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
The snag with buying and selling in Canada is that the cost of sale is enormous. Choosing a house that turns out to be the wrong one will set you back years. The sensible thing is to rent first. (Not that I'm saying I would rent first but it is good to be aware that house depreciate like cars in the first year, at least 5% of the cost).
Specifically and for clarification to for the OP, the cost of selling a house in terms of real estate agents fees in Canada is much higher than in the UK - 4-5% vs. 1% or less in UK. So unless your house appreciates by more than that in the period before you wish to sell, you can end up losing money. Hence the suggestion to rent at first.
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Old May 14th 2020, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
Specifically and for clarification to for the OP, the cost of selling a house in terms of real estate agents fees in Canada is much higher than in the UK - 4-5% vs. 1% or less in UK. So unless your house appreciates by more than that in the period before you wish to sell, you can end up losing money. Hence the suggestion to rent at first.
That's a good summing up of what it says in the Housing section of the wiki and most people's advice is to rent first. It's also been suggested in past discussions that one might have a couple of moves - still renting - if unhappy about the first area/commute or whatever.

One thing I do wonder though is having established a price range of home to buy based on how much deposit one can pay and the mortgage payment, is it possible that the cost of renting - maybe having to sign a lease for longer than you'd like - and removal costs, especially if there's more than one move, might result in reducing the money available for deposit, thus affecting the budget for house buying?

Especially if, by then, property prices have bumped up a bit.
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Old May 14th 2020, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by katehul View Post
Hi, my fiance has accepted a job in St Catharines and I am totally stuck on which areas to look at for our property search. We are 38 and 42 and have no kids and no plans to. We are moving from Leeds City Centre. We like dining out in nice places, wine/cocktail bars and the cosmopolitan vibe of the City Center. I am originally from Lytham St Annes so also happy with a more small town feel but more upmarket. We would like 3 beds min so guests can stay from home and some outdoor space and have around £500k (+ for the right place). We are happy for a commute to get the best place for our needs to make the most of our move. Is it like UK where you look on say Right Move and find things you like with various agents or do you instruct a broker to find something suitable? I have heard areas of St Catharines would be suitable but which, also maybe Burlington or Niagara on the Lake. all offer different things that we may like. Please help me with where to start I have never made a move like this before.
I would be reluctant to buy in Burlington if working in St. Catharine's due to the commute (although better that way than the other) - also your $500k won't come even close to getting you the type of property you want there as Burlington is within the commuter belt for Toronto. Property prices in St Catharine's and Niagara region as a whole are considerably lower. Brock University is actually in Thorold so look there too, issue with a lot of the areas there is the large number of houses rented out to students, particularly around Confederation Heights which is a nice looking neighborhood but due diligence required.
As has been mentioned it's expensive to sell houses here so you need to be fairly certain of your selection. Renting is not cheap either so it's a 'you pay your money and take your choice' kind of a situation. It probably comes down to how likely you are to stay beyond the 3 years.
Realtor.ca has the vast majority of houses on the market listed if you want to have a look (also some rentals are on there too).
Real estate is sold differently here in that a buyer chooses one agent to work with and that agent can show any property on the market regardless of which agency holds the listing. It's a bit like Location, location, location as that agent will also negotiate for you and write the purchase contract.
You can go directly to the listing agent of a property you are interested in (as in the UK) but bear in mind that they are contracted to work in the best interests of the Seller.
In the spirit of full disclosure I am a real estate agent, I do not work the St Catharine's area, so am not touting for business, however my son was at Brock for 5 years so I am familiar with it. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the buying or renting process.
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Old May 14th 2020, 3:21 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by HGerchikov View Post
I would be reluctant to buy in Burlington if working in St. Catharine's due to the commute (although better that way than the other) - also your $500k won't come even close to getting you the type of property you want there as Burlington is within the commuter belt for Toronto.
I think the OP has 500,000 pounds, or around CAD$860,000. Is that not enough to buy a 3 bedroom house in Burlington? (only sticking my beak in here because I love all things real estate)
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Old May 14th 2020, 3:47 pm
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Smile Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
I think the OP has 500,000 pounds, or around CAD$860,000. Is that not enough to buy a 3 bedroom house in Burlington? (only sticking my beak in here because I love all things real estate)
You are correct, I have obviously been here too long - I only see dollars
You could get a 3 bedroom in Burlington for $860k but you would get something a lot nicer in Niagara region and you would still have to deal with the nightmare of the skyway bridge in the winter (or even just a windy day any time of year). Memories of going over there in convoy behind a police car to make sure everyone kept to low speeds and still being blown all over the road.
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Old May 14th 2020, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by katehul View Post
He has a tenure track position at Brock with 3 year probation so we would prefer to buy I think or is renting quite easy and cheaper? I also see renting as a waste of money over here if you have funds to buy. When I search St Cathrines the threads were quite old but maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there a way to search St Catharines in more detail, sorry I'm new and thought id followed the tips correctly for newbies?
Hello and welcome to BE!

The regulations for buying property in Canada - and selling - are a little different, which is why it's being suggested you don't purchase until such time as you have permanent resident status - have you checked that you would have sufficient points to enable you to be invited to apply from the Express Entry pool?

Have a look at our wonderful Wiki for housing advice - taxes to be paid, other costs on purchase / sale - places to look for rentals, insurance, mortgages and everything in between .. https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Category:Housing-Canada

Housing whether renting or buying isn't cheap any longer. When selling on leaving Canada watch out for 'Exit Taxes' too.

As to commuting - the trip from say Hamilton to St. C there is a 'Go Bus / Train' between the 2 places you would need to change and it can take 2 hours from St C to Hamilton. https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/exper.../GOTransit.asp - Burlington has a quicker service to St. C. - around an hour. Via Rail also run a service https://www.virail.ca/train-st_catha...milton_ontario Not a commute I would want to do at any time of year on a regular basis.

As an aside, I wouldn't call St. C cosmopolitan. Burlington is also nice with bars, restaurants etc., but I agree that travelling by car every day would be a nightmare.

https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/LiveIn.asp

A quick question - have you lived together 'as if married' for a minimum of 12 consecutive months (and can prove it) - or will be you be married before you come to Canada? If so then you could get an open work permit on the back of your partners - if not then you will have to have visitor status and won't be allowed to work unless you apply for a work permit yourself by obtaining a job offer with LMIA.

Last edited by Siouxie; May 14th 2020 at 4:45 pm.
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Old May 14th 2020, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by HGerchikov View Post
You are correct, I have obviously been here too long - I only see dollars
You've reminded me of when we moved to the UK, I kept exclaiming how cheap everything was and my husband had to remind me every time that the prices were in pounds, not AUD
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Old May 14th 2020, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Bit worried now, we have lived together for almost 3 years (together 5) but i work away a couple of days a week so own a house in Lancashire and that's where I'm registered for Council tax. What proof would they want? His new employer said its fine if we are not married but perhaps they weren't aware I was registered at another address. Worst case scenario he'll have to marry me quickly lol. We would've probably done this summer without COVID

A quick question - have you lived together 'as if married' for a minimum of 12 consecutive months (and can prove it) - or will be you be married before you come to Canada? If so then you could get an open work permit on the back of your partners - if not then you will have to have visitor status and won't be allowed to work unless you apply for a work permit yourself by obtaining a job offer with LMIA.[/QUOTE]


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Old May 14th 2020, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Help! UK to St Catharines. Which Area?

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
A month ago I bought a car in Port Dalhousie. That seemed a very nice place, on the lake, a small town kind of place but a short drive to the bright lights of St. Catharines and the architectural splendour of Buffalo. It was also warm and green while, here, it was brown and snow covered. In Canada one looks on realtor.ca.
I've spent quite a bit of time in Port Dalhousie over the years and concur it's a rather nice place. A friend used to drive to Burlington GO and then take the train into Union Station. I think there is (well not right now of course!) GO train service from St Catharines into Union, so that might be better than having to drive to Burlington and switch to the train.
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