Overall, April 2019 was a very busy month. Despite the fact that many major Canadian cities experienced flat or declining markets, Hamilton continued to shine.

In April of 2018, we saw 709 homes trade hands: This April, we had 769 homes trade hands, a significant increase. Sales are back into positive territory, which is great. New listings are up 2%, with 1,205 listings last April and 1,227 listings this April. Active listings are also up, which is again a trend that we’ve seen over the last six months.

Active listings are up by a total of 42%: Last year, 1,066 homes were on the market, and this year, there are 1,509. We have more inventory on the market. Last year, we had about 1.5 months of inventory, and this year we have about two months of inventory. These numbers will tighten up more now that we’re in a busier season.

Yet despite the higher amounts of inventory, prices are up again. Last year in April, prices averaged $511,549. This year, the average is $528,286. Overall, prices are up 3% — but again, price points are going to vary wildly depending on where you are in the city of Hamilton. We are a city made up of many communities, and prices and sales are different depending on where you are and where you’re looking.

We’re seeing the largest amount of growth in Hamilton proper, the Hamilton mountain and the lower city; 3% overall is great. It’s better than most communities in Canada. Yet, if you zoom into Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton Downtown, you’ll see prices up far higher than 3%. The more affordable the product, the more desirable the product. This is where we’re seeing the greatest changes in valuation. Homes in Downtown Hamilton are flying like hotcakes. Homes in suburbs are seeing their prices growing at a slower pace.

Price points are now approaching $400,000 in Hamilton Centre and Hamilton East. I’ve said before that we’d crack $400,000 this year. The days of having a $300,000 home in downtown are almost over. We’re seeing a lot of homes crossing that $400,000 mark, and a few other territories are also getting close: There’s going to be a $400,000 minimum as we move into the next year. Now’s the time to buy if you’re looking at Downtown Hamilton.

It’s very clear that certain types of product are experiencing more significant price increases. If you look at the numbers in April, single-family homes went up 2.3% on average. Townhomes went up 6%, and condos went up a tremendous 10.6%. We see people trending toward smaller product, in many cases, newer product, and definitely more affordable product. We’re seeing the townhomes and condos just growing at far higher paces.

There are many sellers in single-family homes who are struggling to comprehend how a townhome could be selling for the dollars that they are — yet their own home doesn’t seem to be much more expensive. It’s been a difficult thing to understand, but demographics and demand are changing. What buyers are looking for is changing. And price point is everything.

We’re seeing people being driven toward smaller, more efficient, more sustainable and newer product. We’re seeing condos growing the most, and townhomes are also seeing healthy gains. That doesn’t mean single-family homes aren’t seeing gains; they’re just comparatively smaller.

Average days on the market are down 0.9%; homes are selling quicker this April versus last year. Last year, the average was 25.7 days, and this year, it’s 24.8 days. Again, this is going to vary wildly depending on where you are and the price point of your home. If you’re within the $0 to $500,000 range, I’d say that this number is going to be significantly lower. If you’re in the $500,000+ range, this number is going to be more accurate.

Overall, we’re below the 30-day average, which is incredible. There are definitely parts of the city, mainly Hamilton proper, where things are selling within days, if not hours. We see bidding wars as routine in certain areas and price points, and so again, depending on where you are, the climate on the ground could be different.

Nationally, sales are down, and prices are down, across the country. Certain communities are really weighing down the national averages, such as Vancouver. In both Calgary and Edmonton, sales are pretty flat, and prices are slightly down. Most of the remainder of the country is growing in that 1% or 2% range.

Two or three communities are really seeing significant growth: Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal appear to be holding their own. Things are being artificially slowed due to the mortgage rules and stress test; if they were to remove those measures, we’d see growth at an even faster pace.

According to economists, the new mortgage rules are slowing things by an average of 6%. So if parts of Hamilton are growing at 3%, 6% and 10%, and if the stress test were removed tomorrow, you could easily add 6% to that.

Overall, it was a great month. I expect May to be a very busy month as well. We’re now in the heat of the spring market and seeing everything progress very well, even despite issues such as the new mortgage rules. We’ll see how things play out at the end of May.