A new study says housing prices in Hamilton are rising faster than anywhere else in Canada.
The city bucked the national trend by seeing 7.4-per cent growth in 2012, the highest of the urban centres studied, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index.
'If you look at the stats published by the Canadian Real Estate Association on new listings and sales, it looks like Hamilton is still a tight market. There are few places like that in Canada.' —Marc Pinsonneault, National Bank of Canada
Eleven major urban centres are covered in the composite index. Eight of those 11 markets showed declines from November to December. Among them were Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Hamilton, Quebec City and Victoria had higher readings.
"If you look at the stats published by the Canadian Real Estate Association on new listings and sales, it looks like Hamilton is still a tight market," said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist with the National Bank of Canada who worked on the index. "There are few places like that in Canada."
The index grew 3.1 per cent overall in 2012, the slowest growth in three years. It was down 0.4 per cent overall from November to December, which marked one of the weakest Decembers in 13 years.
But Hamilton housing prices increased by 5.5 per cent in the last half of 2012, Pinsonneault said.
Prices are likely increasing in part due to an influx of commuters from Toronto, said Neil Everson, Hamilton's director of planning and economic development.
"I think people are getting ready for the 2015 GO station in Hamilton," he said. "I think we've been discovered."
Numbers from the Realtors Association of Hamilton and Burlington show that Hamilton housing prices have increased by about 6.5 per cent year over year, said president Bruce Moran.
He agrees that it's caused by an influx of people from the Greater Toronto Area
Housing prices are "not in a range that would be alarming," he said. "They're still good and steady like they have been for a number of years."
Six markets saw price increases in 2012. They were:
- 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).