Prices in central Hamilton more than double in 10 years

Home prices in central Hamilton have more than doubled in the past decade, rising 130 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

'Anything that goes up on the market, if it's reasonably priced, you see it sell': Realtors association

When prices keep rising (David Donnelly/CBC)

Home prices in central Hamilton have more than doubled in the past decade, rising 129.5 per cent between 2006 and 2016, according to year-end price and sales numbers released by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington. 

That area includes neighbourhoods between James Street and Kenilworth Avenue, and the waterfront to the escarpment. Hamilton centre's median price of homes sold in 2016 was $276,549 while in 2006, the median price of homes sold was $120,529.

Hamilton centre's median price in 2006 was $120,529, and in 2016 the median price of homes sold was $276,549. (CBC News/Realtors Association of Hamilton Burlington)

That area is the hottest in the city over the past decade, outpacing percentage growth in prices for the overall Hamilton-Burlington region. Over that period, home prices in Hamilton and Burlington have nearly doubled — up 92 per cent to $440,191 last year from $229,087 in 2006.

The median home price in Hamilton and Burlington was $440,191 in 2016, up 14 per cent from a year earlier and up 92 per cent compared to 2006. (CBC News/Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington)

The biggest price jumps between 2015 and 2016 were in the Hamilton east area, stretching past Kenilworth to include the Beach Strip, McQuesten, Glenview East and Red Hill. 

The median price for a home in that area rose 24 per cent, to $298,417 last year from $240,418 in 2015. In comparison, prices across Hamilton and Burlington jumped 14 per cent between 2015 and 2016. 

The median price in Hamilton East, stretching past Kenilworth to include the beach strip, McQuesten, Glenview East and Red Hill, rose 24 per cent, from $240,418 in 2015 to $298,417 last year. (CBC News/Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington)

'If it's reasonably priced, you see it sell'

The volume of Hamilton's real estate sales hit a new record in 2016, with 16,556 properties sold overall.

It was a slight increase over sales in 2015, which held the previous record for the region's relentlessly hot housing market.

The biggest jump in recorded sales was for commercial properties— including farms, vacant land, businesses and multi-residential properties — which went up by 17.2 per cent over the previous year.

"Obviously demand is high for getting the supply side up, and I'm sure developers are out there buying property for their future subdivisions," said Lou Piriano, president of the real estate association.

"Anything that goes up on the market, if it's reasonably priced, you see it sell. Demand isn't going away anywhere."

Anything that goes up on the market, if it's reasonably priced, you see it sell. Demand isn't going away anywhere.- Lou Piriano, president, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington

There was no concrete explanation for why commercial sales were significantly higher this year, although Piriano says it's possible more people are listing their properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service that realtors use, rather than using other avenues to sell.

"It's sort of like if you sold your property to your uncle Harry and you didn't use an agent. We'd never see that on our MLS system," he explained.

'Nobody wants to sell their house right now'

Meanwhile, residential property sales went down very slightly over the previous year, by less than one per cent, which Piriano says does not mean the market is slowing down.

"It means that nobody wants to sell their house right now," he said. "People who are getting older don't seem to be moving out at the rate they were previously. They're hanging on to their houses longer, maybe adult children are staying with them longer."

Real estate prices in the Greater Hamilton area jumped significantly over the last year, with bidding wars erupting over many properties, even as the overall number of listings fell about 9.1 per cent.

The average number of days a property stayed on the market also dropped significantly: typically, a freehold property stayed on the market for 26 days, while a condo sold within an average of 27 days.

In 2015, the average number of days it took to sell a Hamilton area property of either type was 34 days.

George O'Neill, the CEO of the realtors association, said the days on market varied in different neighbourhoods.

"For instance, the average for residential properties for Hamilton West was 27 days; in Caledonia it was 17 days and in Burlington it was 21 days. There can be wide variations from area to area." 

kelly.bennett@cbc.ca | @kellyrbennett