Hamilton Condo Sales Continue to Rise, But Prices are “Levelling-Off”
As real estate prices continue to soar throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), homebuyers continue to turn to neighbouring cities such as Hamilton, a popular option for urbanites seeking both more space and the ability to stretch their dollar a little further.
Hamilton’s housing market has made a strong comeback after an inevitable decline in activity at the onset of COVID, with residential sales in the Hamilton-Burlington area almost 25% higher year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to statistics from the REALTORS Association of Hamilton-Burlington, while sales were up 54% in February since the month prior, and 14.9% since February of last year.
But it’s not just the region’s housing market that’s experiencing robust activity, as Hamilton’s condo market has already recorded nearly triple the number of condo sales compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from Strata. Though, despite the surging activity, prices appear to be cooling off amid the pandemic’s third wave.
According to Strata’s data, there were 75 condo sales in Hamilton, compared to just 28 the year prior. Aside from a small dip in January, transactions have steadily increased — a trend that’s expected to continue until the summer.
At the same time, despite the rising sales numbers, overall condo prices appear to be coming down in Hamilton, as the price-per-square-foot is currently sitting at $501, down from February’s record-high of $535, according to Strata.
The report suggests that while condo appreciation values are up 5% over the past year, there has been a “levelling-off” since a pricing surge kicked off in December, likely due to an increase in inventory, which forces sellers to lower their asking prices in order to stay competitive.
As you might expect, downtown Hamilton is one of the more expensive pockets to buy a condo, with units selling for around $567 per-square-foot — considerably higher than the aforementioned city average of $501. But that’s not to be outdone by the community of Lakeshore-Stoney Creek, which has an average price-per-square-foot of $662. In the past 30 days, the typical selling price of a condo there was $618,000.
While some pockets remain hotter than others, Strata says the communities of West Mountain and Red Hill-Vincent-Gershome still remain most affordable, as the average sale price in these two areas are considerably lower at $538,000 and $522,000, respectively.
“Rental demand is up as well, with Q1-2021 seeing an increase in apartment style condos up 7.2%, while the last 12 months saw a 10.4% increase,” explained Zurini.
Zurini has also noticed a shift in Hamilton condo prices and told STOREYS they have come out of their “slump”.
Though, he noted that that they are not keeping pace with single family homes, which has seen a 33% increase over the last 12 months.
Given that prices in the Hamilton area are significantly lower than those in Toronto, Zurini says “there is a great opportunity for people to enter the market and begin to share in equity appreciation like other types of properties in Hamilton have been realizing.”
For those priced out of the Toronto market, the cooling condo prices in Hamilton are encouraging. Plus, condos in Hamilton tend to have more spacious layouts compared to those in Toronto, and you get more value per square foot in Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Robert Van Rhijn, Broker of Record at Strata.ca, believes a rise in condo inventory could be the reason why overall prices appear to be coming down in Hamilton.
“Although appreciation values are up 5% over the past year, we’re noticing what appears to be a levelling-off since a pricing surge that kicked off in December. A lot of this is likely due to a rise in inventory, forcing sellers to bring down their asking price so they can stay competitive,” says Van Rhijn.
That being said, for first-time homebuyers looking to move away from their current living situation and into more space, Hamilton continues to serve as an attractive option.