If you’re looking to buy a home outside the Greater Toronto Area, and have your sights set on the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market, you may want to start looking now, as the market has just experienced an influx of active listings.

Over the course of the last year, Hamilton-Burlington real estate has skyrocketed, seeing double digit sales and price increases on key metrics when compared to the spring of 2020. A large portion of this increase can be attributed to the growing importance placed on home-life amid back-to-back stay-at-home orders over the past 14 months.

Since last March, when Ontario officially began combating COVID-19, residents have spent more time than ever at home. This has led many people to re-evaluate their living situation and seek out bigger homes, with more property, in more rural areas of the province – like Hamilton and Burlington. Below we explore how this change in buyer trends and preferences is playing out within this local housing market.

Hamilton-Burlington Real Estate is Booming

Since last year, the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) has reported large month-over-month increases in many areas such as residential sales. In March 2021, RAHB reported 2,074 residential sales – an increase of 63% compared to February 2021, and 73.1% when compared to March 2020. Given this drastic increase in sales, one would think that we are currently in a buyers’ market. The opposite, however, is true. Currently, Hamilton-Burlington is in the midst of a scorching sellers’ market with the average residential property being listed at $872,363 – which is 32% higher than March 2020, and approximately 21.7% above the national median residential home price of $716,828.

Not only are prices rising, but sales volume is booming – proving even more that high demand and low inventory are ruling the market. “The RAHB market area was close to record-breaking activity with a 63% increase in sales, a 65% increase in new listings and an overall increase in inventory by 27% since last month,” says RAHB President Donna Bacher. “With the spring housing market upon us and the vaccine rollout ramping up, it appears more homeowners are feeling comfortable listing their home and we have started to observe an upturn of active listings.”

This uptick in active listings, however, is not enough to drown out the effects of the high demand in this local market. While March 2021 saw an increase in inventory of 27% when compared to February 2021, this is a drastic decline from the numbers put up in March 2020. When comparing the two years, the inventory available at the end of March 2021 was 39% lower than the same period in 2020.

A big driver in the quick sales is residents moving away from the GTA in search of bigger homes and more land. Many of those hopeful homebuyers are in search of a single-detached home in communities like Hamilton-Burlington. Within this region, sales of detached properties increased by 74% in March 2021 when compared to March 2020. In addition, the number of new listings increased by 53% over the same period, with the average sale price inflating by 34% up to $987,030.

Moving into April 2021, there was a slight decline in market sales activity of 8% when compared to March. RAHB President, Donna Bacher suggests it is more suitable to use month-over-month comparisons right now with the market as opposed to the previous year due to the astonishing impacts of COVID-19 on real estate. “We have to acknowledge that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic distorts housing statistics when comparing year to year, so rather than looking at 2020 to 2021, our best insight comes from a month over month analysis,” says Bacher.

Will an Uptick in Active Listings Cool Off the Market

It is no secret that over the last few months, the active listings in the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market have shot up dramatically. When compared to that of 2020, the figures remain quite a bit lower, but this current upward momentum has been welcomed news for those who have desperately hoped for a levelling out of this red-hot market.

Coming off an almost 12-month surge in market prices, being led by low inventory and high demand, the influx of new listings could help to cool off the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market. With more and more homes being made available for sale, it goes without saying that these residents will need to find a new home. The possibility remains that many of these home sellers will be leaving the Hamilton-Burlington area for smaller cities and towns promising more square-footage for their dollars. This softening demand may help cool average listing prices in the area as the year moves forward.