Winona. No, we’re not talking about Ms. Ryder, the star of Netflix’s Stranger Things. We’re talking about the community that sits on the western edge of Hamilton and forms the gateway to Niagara’s tender fruit lands. Les Mekli not only specializes in selling Winona properties, he used to live in this lovely community nestled between the Niagara escarpment and Lake Ontario. Here’s why he thinks Winona is the place to be in 2017, and what you need to know about buying property here.
What is the community like?
I moved to Winona because the school system was great. In the last seven or eight years we’ve had three brand new schools built within one mile of each other in anticipation of the growth of Winona and Stoney Creek, and they all have a great reputation. Teachers look for areas like this to live and work in—you’re in the greenbelt, the gateway to wine country. Winona has one of the best conservation parks in the area—Fifty Point—and two marinas within miles of each other.
Who’s buying property in Winona?
I find a lot of professional couples and families are moving here from the city. People move here to escape the rat race. It feels safer, it’s slower paced, and you can spend more time with your children. Kids have so many outside activities—you should see it when soccer starts up, it’s packed with kids socializing and riding bikes.
What are Winona’s biggest assets?
Definitely location. Winona is the gateway to everything. It’s a quick hop to the QEW, which takes you in every direction. You’re minutes from Burlington and an easy drive to Toronto and Niagara. There’s easy accessibility to the escarpment. We’re a hub, and that’s only going to get better with the new Costco that I’m expecting to open in 2019.
How much does a home cost in Winona?
For resale, townhomes are in the $375,000 range and single family homes are in the vicinity of $600,000 and up, especially if you want something newer. The market is definitely hot. A subdivision will open and it’ll sell out overnight. My biggest recommendation is to register on the builder’s website so you’ll get the call first.
How would you rate the resale value of a home in Winona?
There’s almost always multiple offers on Winona homes. I was representing buyers of a townhome not too long ago that was listed at $399,000 and we competed against 8 offers. It eventually sold for $60,000 more than asking.
Where will you get the best deal for a home in Winona?
My top recommendation is to get on the list for a new development because you don’t have to compete with other buyers. When you’re buying a preconstruction single family or townhouse, you’re paying what the builder has on the list. I find most of the first-time townhome buyers purchase new because they can’t handle being outbid all the time.
What are your initial thoughts about DiCenzo’s Foothills of Winona project?
People love developments by DiCenzo Homes because the exterior of his buildings are so attractive. I personally think the Foothills location is amazing. As a real estate agent who’s been in the business for 20 years, it has accessibility to everything and it’s the only townhome development starting in 2017 that I’m aware of in that area, the rest are high-rise condos. That will draw people in right away.