The May 2019 real estate market has come to a close and the final numbers have been tallied. It was an extremely busy month here in the Hamilton area: Sales were very brisk, with lots of properties hitting the market and lots of sales taking place.

Still, it’s a tale of two very different markets, depending on your location and your price point. We’re seeing dramatically different results and market conditions in each and every area. So again, it’s very important to take a look at where you’re going to buy or sell because the market can vary quite drastically.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Sales in Hamilton are up 17% from May 2018 to May 2019.

Sales were up significantly. We felt this right out of the gate. Sales increased 17% from May 2018 to May 2019, with 877 homes trading hands this month versus 749 the year prior. Sales were moving very quickly.

New listings are down less than 1%. In May 2018, we saw 430 homes hit the market: Last year, we saw 437 homes hit the market.

I did say over the last few months in my updates that we expect new listings to decrease, inventory to decrease and days on market to drop.

Months of inventory are down 0.4% and the market is tightening.

Months of inventory are down 0.4%. In May 2018, there were about 2.3 months of inventory; in May 2019, that had dropped to 1.9 months of inventory. That’s low. Even last year’s numbers were historically quite low. Now we’re below two months inventory, and we’re likely to see that number continue to go down.

We’re moving toward a low inventory environment. As the shock of the government interventions such as the new mortgage rules (B-20) wears off, people are starting to move into the market again. Our homes are hovering just over that $500,000 mark on average, which means we represent extremely good value compared to many other communities in this region.

As the next largest city to Toronto in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, we’re still very affordable at this point. Prices have a long way to go before we catch up to surrounding communities.

Average prices continue to rise: sales prices are up by 6%.

In May 2018, the average sales price was $519,146. In May 2019, the average was $549,891. Home prices are up quite significantly compared to virtually every other community in the country. CMHC had predicted home values would go up 1% to 2% in Canada. This year, at best, we’re already beating that a few times over. We expect average price growth to continue, to be strong, and to pick up.

This is all keeping in mind that we’ve got the mortgage rules in place that are suppressing average price growth. We’ve continued to move forward from a price standpoint throughout all of the changes that have occurred over the last few years. Most of the country has seen stagnate or in decline. Despite this, Hamilton home values are a fraction of the home prices in Toronto or even communities like Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga.

Average days on market are up 0.7% despite fast-paced sales.

According to the stats, average days on market are up 0.7% — but I’m not sure how that’s occurring. Last year in May, properties were spending 23.5 days on market; this year in May, they spent 25.9 days on average. Yet new listings are not growing, active listings are down 4%, months of inventory is down, and sales activity and prices are up significantly. So I’m not sure how the average home is sitting longer.

Regardless, this is still well below the 30-day mark, and that’s incredibly quick. That’s taking into account areas where homes aren’t selling as quick, such as Flamborough. The more expensive the home, the fewer buyers there are available. Homes in that $600,000 to $1 million range are taking longer to sell than the homes in the $0 to $600,000 range.

Active listings are down by 4%, with sales and prices way up.

Active listings are down 4%. Last year in May there were 1,741 listings on the market. This year there are 1,669. With less inventory sitting on the market and less inventory coming into the market, prices are likely to continue to increase. If you’re looking in the $0 to $500,000 range, expect to see multiple offers on properties and getting into bidding wars. Homes are selling quickly and buyers need to act.

May 2018 May 2019
Houses Sold 748 877 17%
New Listings 437 430 -0%
Months of Inventory 2.3 1.9 -4%
Average Price $519,146 $549,891 6%
Average Days on Market 23.5 25.9 0.7%
Listings on Market 1,741 1,669 -4%

Sellers: Getting the right price for your home requires having the right strategy.

Sellers: Having the right agent, pricing strategically and doing the right type of marketing is critical to achieving these record sale prices. More than half of the listings on the market aren’t moving despite the market being in a strong position. At one end of the spectrum, things are selling in hours or days with sales prices coming well above list. At the other end of the spectrum, homes aren’t moving at all.

If you’re in the suburban communities or in a price bracket that is of a higher number, you’re going to see activity at a lessened rate than the rest. There are fewer buyers out there, and things on the ground vary tremendously from price bracket to price bracket and product type to product type. It’s still a tale of multiple markets within the Hamilton market. But with the right strategy, you can have multiple offers and see your home move at above list price.

Buyers: Get into the market now, any way you can, because it’s only going to continue rising.

The days of an affordable home within that $0 to $500,000 bracket will come to an end shortly, so my suggestion for buyers is to get into the market by any means necessary. Look at your needs versus your wants, consider any type of product, and look at homebuying as a series of steps. You may need to take multiple steps in your journey to get into the home of your dreams. At this point, just building equity is key. You don’t want to get priced out of the market as many have been and are about to be.

Overall, it was a fantastic May. It’s looking like we’re on track for a very busy June already.