The Hamilton-Burlington housing market has been on fire, firmly seated in red-hot seller’s territory since early 2020. Being an area that boasts a beautiful landscape – particularly given the large number of Conservation Areas – and is in close proximity to both the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario, Hamilton-Burlington has become a desirable place to live for those looking to distance themselves from the hustle-and-bustle (and the sky-high prices) of Toronto.

However, the headlining story for the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market is not about the number of people looking for homes in the area. Rather, it’s about the lack of inventory and new listings, tightening this local market. Could some relief be on the way as we transition into a less chaotic home-buying and selling season?

Hamilton-Burlington Housing Market Finally Beginning to Cool Off

After a whirlwind 2020, the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market started the year off strong, which further pushed the area into a hot seller’s market. However, as predicted, the market began to cool in July and August, with the latter only reporting 1,201 unit sales of residential properties – down five per cent month-over-month and year-over-year. New listings for the month were also on the decline, which contributed to the decline in sales and price growth year-over-year. In fact, the average price of a residential property in August this year was almost 21 per cent higher than the price in August 2020 – coming in at $839,881. On the contrary, the average sales price did drop one per cent from July to August 2021.

“In line with seasonal trends, July and August tend to have fewer new listings and sales which is exactly the case here,” says RAHB President Donna Bacher. “Even though we have fewer active listings and sales, we are also seeing a slight dip in the average sale price. Overall, the same story continues and that is that the level of inventory remains at critical low levels. We definitely need more supply on the market.”

Following a good summer, the Hamilton-Burlington market needed a slower sales month and a surge of new listings to help cool it off and recharge a little. This past September was just that month; residential property sales dropped two per cent when compared to August 2021, and an astonishing 30-per-cent decline year-over-year. The total number of residential properties sold during September 2021 was just 1,226 units.

Leading the way for unit sales was the number of detached properties sold in the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) market, with 798 units being sold in September 2021. The demand for detached units has been steadily increasing for the majority of the past two years, and the average price reflected this – increasing by five per cent to $981,678. “Single-family detached properties continue to be in high demand with families looking for space to grow. We saw listings and inventory levels increase in September which is typically the norm. The average price for single family detached properties is creeping back up to the record high that we recorded earlier this year,” says Bacher.

The month of September saw new listings decrease on a year-over-year basis by 26 per cent, but also increase 14 pr cent compared to August 2021. The decrease in new listings and steady demand in the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market has created a stagnant inventory of housing with only 0.8 months of inventory being on-hand at the end of September 2021.

“After months of relatively flat prices, September’s historically low listing and inventory levels have moved the average sale price to a new record,” says RAHB President Donna Bacher. “The demand remains strong and the supply remains low. Overall, we need more supply on the market to meet the demands of buyers and investors. There’s nothing on the horizon to indicate that October will be any different.”

What Might We Expect in Hamilton-Burlington?

With a population of just under 900,000 residents, the Hamilton-Burlington housing market is the perfect home-buying destination for those looking to live in a large city, while avoiding the high prices and heavy traffic of Toronto. The relatively lower housing cost combined with other desirable factors, have made Hamilton-Burlington the perfect place for new families, young professionals, and retirees to plant new roots and upgrade their indoor and outdoor living space – both of which are high on many homebuyers’ priority lists after the multiple lockdowns of the past two years.

As 2021 progresses, it is expected that inventory levels in the area will remain strained as demand continues to be consistent.