Lower housing values have brought buyers back into the Hamilton housing market, but supply constraints at affordable price points have hampered sales activity. Just over 3,600 properties have changed hands in the first six months of 2023, down 24 per cent from the same period in 2022. Year-to-date average price has declined 14 per cent, despite an increase of close to 11 per cent in June compared to January of this year. First-time buyers have been exceptionally active in the market, driving sales of product priced under $800,000. The upward momentum in values caught many by surprise, sparking the leap into home ownership before prices moved beyond their grasp.
Move-Up Buyers in Hamilton Housing Market Holding Out for “The One”
Move-up buyers and those making lateral moves in the Hamilton housing market have been more strategic in their approach this year, with most waiting for the right listing to come on-stream. Unique properties in sought-after neighbourhoods are moving quickly. The lack of product available for sale is having an impact on would-be move-up sellers, with many concerned that they may not be able to find a suitable home when they sell.
Demand for move-up properties is greatest at the coveted $900,000 to $1.1 million price point, where just over 13 per cent of sales are occurring. Equity gains over the past five years have provided some incentive for buyers to trade up, while housing values have dropped from last year’s heady levels.
Communities most popular with move-up buyers are those where walkability scores are high, including Ancaster, Burlington, Dundas, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, and Pelham. Some move-up buyers from the Hamilton area are looking farther along the QEW in areas such as Niagara-on-the-Lake where they can realize greater value for their dollar. Sales in Niagara Region overall have taken off in recent years, with the move-up market starting between $700,000 and $900,000.
Economic expansion in Hamilton and the surrounding areas has led to tremendous job growth and opportunities in recent years. Affordability is a major factor, drawing homebuyers from the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Given the cost of housing in Hamilton and the surrounding areas, demand for properties – condominium, townhouse, semi-detached or detached – is expected to remain steady throughout the summer months. The June interest rate hike shifted buyers into high gear, with many who have been pre-approved hoping to buy before their rate-holds expire. Showings, at present, are ahead of last year’s levels in Hamilton and Niagara, with most buyers prepared to pounce when they find their perfect home.