House prices rise in Hamilton region, but pace of sales cools

The average home price in the region was up 8.5 per cent in November compared to the same month in 2011, according to the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

The average Hamilton-area home price was up 8.5 per cent in November compared to the same month the previous year, according to a new realtors association report, but the number of sales was down.

"Our general market area continues to see rising average sale prices from last year," said RAHB president Cameron Nolan in a statement. "That should not be understood to mean our area is less affordable than it was a year ago. We have a number of communities which showed very modest increases over last year or slight decreases."

The average selling price for a home in the Hamilton region in November was $369,201 — up from $366,428 in September this year and $340, 297 in November 2011, according to the report from Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

The median sale price was $303,750 in November, which represents an increase of 4.7 per cent from $290,000 recorded in November 2011.

The average sale price of freehold properties showed an increase of 7 per cent in November over the same month last year, while the condominium market saw an increase of 14.8 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted sales of residential properties were 10.6 per cent lower than the same month in 2011, with 1,043 homes selling in the region in November this year.

The average number of days a home in Hamilton-Burlington spent on the market in November was 49, up from 45 the previous month.

National sales cooling

Hamilton's real estate market bucked the national pricing trend. The average Canadian resale price was down 0.8 per cent in November from the previous year, to $356,687.

Sales volumes were down 11.9 per cent across Canada from October to November this year.

"National sales activity lacks the momentum it had a year ago," said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist. "Interest rates have remained low and the economic backdrop has remained supportive for housing activity, so that should leave little doubt that recent changes to mortgage regulations are responsible for having cooled activity."

CREA says national resale housing activity is now projected to reach 456,300 units in 2012, a 0.5-per-cent decline from 458,412 sales in 2011, and 0.9 per cent below the 10-year average.

In 2013, CREA now forecasts that national sales activity will fall by two per cent to 447,400 units.

CMHC outlook

In comparison, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicted in a report Nov. 20 that the average listing price for houses in the Hamilton area will peak by the end of 2012 at just over $360,000.

Its report said average home prices are expected to stabilize at around $350,000 by the end of 2013.

CMHC said it expects homeowners in Hamilton's downtown and east end will see a bump in resale activity. The condominium and townhouse markets in Glanbrook and Stoney Creek are also expected to see increased demand.

However, sales of existing houses in the city's west, mountain and Stoney Creek regions are predicted to remain flat, while sales are expected to decrease in Burlington, Ancaster and Flamborough, the report said.

House prices for Hamilton-Burlington, Jan. 2008 to Nov. 2012. (Source: CREA)