Steve Hamilton has seen it all before, when it comes to the housing market.
Hamilton has been a licensed realtor for 50 years, all in Maple Ridge, having marked the anniversary on Monday, May 9.
Realtors have just worked through one of the busiest times ever seen in the Lower Mainland. They went from record-breaking sales to a decrease of 34 per cent over April, compared with the same month a year before, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Through the past five decades, Hamilton said he has watched the market cycles, and if sales cool and prices drop, it is still part of an overall upward trajectory.
Everyone his age remembers the market crash of 1981, but few recall the preceding boom in the 1970s, he said.
“That was a blip, compared with what’s happening in the market today,” he said.
“Some of the little ranchers that used to sell for $9,000 or $10,000, today they could sell for $1 million.”
He moved to the sleepy suburb of Haney in 1955 with his family, and in 1972 started in real estate.
“It was a nice little community, with lots of retirees,” he recalled.
His first sale was a little bungalow on Eltham Street in Hammond.
“I’ve sold that one three different times,” he said. “I’ve sold many houses numerous times.”
Hamilton started at a time when city hall sent developers who came wanting to build a mall down the road, rather than install sewer and water services. Banks had lending limits – so once they had loaned out their maximum, a potential buyer simply could not get a mortgage, no matter how good their financial situation. And the main banks had a rule that there was no financing for properties in rural Maple Ridge, east of 224th Street.
He estimates he sold more than 2,000 properties through his five decades of work. He and his wife Gloria apparently make a formidable team – both being realtors and partners.
“Both Steve and his wife Gloria are a real professional sales team,” said Royal LePage Brookside Realty managing broker Jim Isherwood. “They had their own office for 25 years, but now they do sales, and do an incredible job.”
“Steve and Gloria have high stature in our real estate community.”
Steve owned two real estate companies – Maple Ridge Realty, which later became RE/MAX Ridge Meadows Realty, and Discovery Realty.
He was the seventh person in the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board to achieve a lifetime membership in the Medallion Club, based on making the Medallion Club over 20 consecutive years. The Medallion Cub is for the top 10 per cent of realtors by sales volume.
Hamilton has also achieved RE/MAX hall of fame, RE/MAX lifetime achievement award, and he has also qualified for Royal LePage Diamond Club award.
He has left his mark on the city, having done the land assembly for the Westgate Shopping Centre, and handled commercial land deals including Chances Maple Ridge, as examples.
It hasn’t all been real estate, and he did volunteer work as the chamber of commerce president, commanding officer of the air cadets squadron, and served with the Masons, Shriners, Eagles and Kinsmen service clubs.
What about retirement?
“Hell no! I still enjoy myself, so why would I want to retire,” he said emphatically. “There are challenges, but the challenge is helping people, and we enjoy that.”
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