Average Hamilton-area home price passes $1M: report
Detached homes in Hamilton sold at an average of $1,101,059 in January
Marie Sedward has spent half of her life hoping to buy a home in Hamilton, but each year, the 40-year-old's "be all, end all goal" seems farther and farther out of reach.
The lifelong Hamiltonian said she has saved what she could over the years, while paying her way through both college and university, weathering a recession, getting married and having two children.
But the money she had saved has gone to necessities after she became unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now she said she's just trying to afford the $1,500 monthly rent for her two-bedroom apartment (a rate that is beneath market value according to a recent report).
"You do all the right things, you do what society tells you, study hard, work hard, go to school, get an education, make something of yourself … and yet the doors are continuously slammed in your face," Sedward said.
No expectation prices will decrease: RAHB president
New data from the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) shows Sedward's prospects may be even more bleak.
The figures show the average price for residential properties in Hamilton, Burlington, Niagara North and Haldimand County during January 2022 was $1,058,756 — a record high.
The average sales price in Hamilton specifically was $976,423.
Detached homes in the city sold at an average of $1,101,059 in January, compared to $874,193 for semi-detached units and $571,988 for apartment-style units.
RAHB president Lou Piriano said those prices aren't likely to decrease in coming months, but noted interest rates on mortgages have edged up slightly, which could deter some buyers.
The figures also show there were fewer detached and semi-detached homes sold compared to 2021, despite there being more listings. Apartment-style properties, however, saw a rise in sales because of their affordability, according to Piriano.
He said people looking to buy a home may want to look outside of Hamilton.
"Lots of people moved as far as Woodstock and beyond just to get affordable housing. The other thing would be to .... lower your expectations to a reasonable amount," Piriano said.
He said for optimists trying to stay in Hamilton, as of Feb. 8, there were 71 properties listed under $600,000 in Hamilton and 38 properties under $500,000 — although he acknowledged units generally sell for more than the original listing.
Piriano also cautioned people to not completely rely on the average figure.
Ontario task force report met with mixed reaction
Piriano said there needs to be more houses on the market to help lower the cost of homes.
A new report, commissioned by Premier Doug Ford's government and released Tuesday, says Ontario should aim to build 1.5 million new homes in the next decade by increasing density in urban and suburban areas and by drastically overhauling how cities approve housing projects.
Some of the key recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force are:
- Increase density in neighbourhoods zoned exclusively for single-family homes.
- Repeal municipal policies that focus on preserving a neighbourhood's character.
- Set uniform provincial standards for urban design, including building shadows and setbacks.
- Limit the time spent consulting the public on housing developments.
- Legislate timelines for development approvals, and if the municipality misses the deadline, the project gets an automatic green light.
Piriano and Sedward said they both support some of the recommendations.
But Ontario Big City Mayors, an alliance comprised of mayors of Ontario cities with populations of 100,000 or more like Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, expressed concerns over provincial influence in local development.
"Unilateral actions, absent municipal input, may have unintended consequences that slow down development and reduce the community support needed to continue to sustainably add housing in our communities," reads its statement.
During the debate over whether to expand Hamilton's urban boundary last year, groups such as Environment Hamilton also questioned the province's involvement in growth plans and called for more high-density infill options.
More recently, the federal government promised $26.7 million in funding to build roughly 109 affordable housing units in Hamilton.
Whatever the solution, Sedward is hoping she'll be able to hang on long enough to maybe achieve her lifelong dream.
"I've gotten to the point where ... I'm just thankful that I'm not homeless," she said.
With files from Lorenda Reddekopp and Mike Crawley