In a year the housing market cooled, these Hamilton neighbourhoods stayed hot

In a year that the housing market in the Hamilton area cooled both for sales and prices, pockets of the city are still surging with high demand, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Sales and prices are expected to rise in 2019, says CMHC

Senior Market Analyst Anthony Passarelli gave an outline of what realtors can expect in the Hamilton and Burlington regions Thursday morning at Liuna Station in downtown Hamilton. (Adam Carter/CBC)

In a year that the housing market in the Hamilton area cooled both for sales and prices, pockets of the city are still surging with high demand, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Houses around the Gage Park and St. Clair areas outperformed both on price and number of sales compared to the rest of Hamilton in 2018, said Senior Market Analyst Anthony Passarelli.

"That means there are more buyers than average and less listings. It's that perfect storm," Passarelli said Thursday morning at the Hamilton-Burlington market economic outlook for 2019 breakfast, which was co-hosted by the CMHC and the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

Passarelli spoke to a room full of realtors, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the market, while also pinpointing areas in Hamilton where demand is up, or sagging.

After years of intense activity in the market, things slowed down in 2018, the CMHC says. From January to October, there was a 15 per cent drop in sales compared to the previous year, which Passarelli attributed to uncertainties in the job market caused by NAFTA negotiations, and mortgage rate changes.

The average price of a home in Hamilton also dropped slightly, down two per cent from the year before.

Gibson/Stipley, Crown Point and the North Sherman areas are all spots where price is outperforming the rest of the city, he said. It was a similar story in the McQuesten, Parkview and Homeside neighbourhoods.

This is going to be the highest number since the mid-1970s for [condo] starts.- Anthony Passarelli, CMHC senior market analyst 

It was the opposite on parts of the Mountain, Passarelli said. The Mountview, Westcliffe and Buchanan areas all saw sales underperform, while the nearby Centremount, Inch Park and Eastmount areas underperformed on price.

Some parts of West Hamilton, Passarelli said, saw some areas outperforming on sales, but underperforming on prices. "It's because there's so much inventory in that area relative to the number of sales," he said.

Meanwhile, Ancaster generally underperformed on price, while Dundas and Waterdown were fairly neutral, he said.

2019 turnaround expected

Housing prices and sales slowed in 2018, figures from the CMHC show. (Graeme Roy/Canadian Press)

The CMHC is predicting things will turn around in 2019. Passarelli said he expects sales to jump between 11 per cent and 18 per cent next year, and for average prices to grow between four per cent and ten per cent.

Those figures would put the average sale price of a home in the region between $620,000 and $585,000.

The CMHC also found that housing starts shot way up this year. The five-year average for housing starts in the region is 2,788, compared to 3,292 units in 2018.

Condo projects surge

"That's well above the average," Passarelli said. He predicts a "scale back" to between 2,650 to 3,150 housing starts next year.

As evidenced by the sheer number of cranes in the sky, 2018 was a banner year for condo projects, the CMHC says. The five-year average for condo starts in the region is 737. Last year, there were a whopping 1,803 condo starts.

"This is going to be the highest number since the mid-1970s for [condo] starts," Passarelli said.

While condos might be booming, vacancy rates for rentals are below the 10-year average, he said.

"There's not a lot of choice for rentals … there's still a need for more new units, definitely."


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