The number of real estate sales was down but the average selling price for all types of properties was up 4.9 per cent in February over the same month in 2012, according to the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB).
There were 961 property sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in February this year, according to the association. That represents a 14.4 per cent decrease in sales from the same month last year.
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Six markets saw price increases in 2012:
- Hamilton (7.4 per cent)
- Toronto (6.3 per cent)
- Halifax (5.6 per cent)
- Quebec City (4.2 per cent)
- Calgary (4.1 per cent)
- Winnipeg (3.9 per cent)
RAHB says the number of MLS listings was down 16.9 per cent compared to February 2012.
The association said it had expected sales to be a bit lower this year than last, since Feb. 2012 had an extra day because it was a leap year. But the 2013 numbers came in even lower than it had forecast.
"This year’s sales were not only lower than last year’s, but also below average for the month," RAHB chief executive officer Ross Godsoe said in a statment. "Does this constitute a downward trend? It’s too early to say. We should have a better idea at the end of the first quarter."
Overall residential sales were 15.7 per cent lower in the Hamilton region in February this year compared to the same month the previous year.
The number of residential freehold property sales was 17.8 per cent lower than last year. The condominium market saw a decline in sales of 5.5 per cent.
The average sale price of freehold properties showed an increase of 6.8 per cent in February over the same month last year, while the condominium market saw an increase of just under 1 per cent.
The RAHB also calculates a seasonally adjusted set of numbers that removes what it calls "normal seasonal variations." The seasonally adjusted sales of residential properties were 12.4 per cent lower in February than the same month last year, and the average sale price was up 5.1 per cent. New listings were 8.1 per cent lower than the same month last year.
The seasonally adjusted comparison of the first two months of this year indicates that new listings were down 1.4 per cent in February from January, sales were down 3.3 per cent, and the average house sale price was up 3.5 per cent.
The rising price of Hamilton homes in February is part of a trend that began months ago, according to a number of surveys of the regional market.
The city bucked the national downward trend last year, experiencing a7.4-per-cent growth in house prices in 2012, the highest of the urban centres studied, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index.
The Realtors Association of Hamilton and Burlington recorded similar but slightly lower numbers. It says local housing prices increased by about 6.5 per cent year over year in 2012.
Hamilton-area housing prices increased by 5.5 per cent in the last half of 2012 alone, according to National Bank of Canada numbers.
A January forecast by Central 1 Credit Union indicated that housing prices in Ontario are likely to rise the most in the Northwest and in the Hamilton-Niagara area this year.