The Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington has released our market stats for October 2018. It was another record-breaking month for our team. This was the best October in company history, which bucks the trend market-wide — as sales were down 16 percent for the month. Overall, Hamilton’s real estate market fundamentals remain strong. We’re looking forward to seeing how the rest of the year unfolds.

In October 2018, 659 homes were sold versus 781 homes sold in October 2017. New listings were down again. Inventory is continuing to tighten slowly but surely. New listings were down 6 percent, with 1,031 listings on the market in 2018, versus 1,201 in 2017. Active listings are up 28 percent, so we do still have lingering inventory from months past. In October 2017, there were 1,817 homes on the market versus 1,418 in October of 2017.

We have months of inventory on the market. In October of 2017, we had about 1.8 months on the market. In October of 2018, we had 2.8 months of inventory. We saw a ton of inventory put onto the market in late last year. We’re still working our way through that. However, inventory has been tightening over the second half of the year.

After a long period of balance, where things were about equal for buyers and sellers, we have started to swing back into sellers’ market territory. The fundamentals of the market remain extremely strong from a national, regional, and local level. All things add up to our market moving forward, and supply remaining relatively low, due to strong market demand.

The Fair Housing Plan, the New Mortgage Rules and multiple interest rate increases over the last few months did slow the market down from the ‘red hot’ level experienced in the first half of 2017. The effects of these changes have now been absorbed and market fundamentals are re-gaining control.

Average sales prices are up 7 percent. The average sales price was $499,382 in October of 2018, versus $467,432 in October of 2017. Prices are continuing to rise. They continued to rise in 2017. They will continue to rise through 2018. The Hamilton area should see substantial gains versus most markets in Canada at the end of the year.

On a local level, what’s happening is very different from what most communities are experiencing. Our market was moving forward prior to some of the craziness we saw last year — and it will continue to move forward now that things have turned on a national level. Real estate is local. Markets can vary dramatically from city to city and province to province. Hamilton remains one of the best places in the country in terms of growth and fundamentals.

Average time on market was 31 days in October of 2018, versus last October, at 26.5 days — a 4.5 percent increase. Things are taking slightly longer to sell but still hovering around that 30-day average, which historically is very positive. Up or down a point — we’ve been in or around 30 days for the majority of the year. With the market re-entering sellers’ market territory and new listing territory continuing to decline, we may see average days on market come down a little bit.

Taking a quick look within very specific areas across the city, we’re seeing a lot of price growth in Hamilton East, West, Centre, and Mountain. I would anticipate average sales prices in the city will be above $400,000 by the end of next year. Hamilton Mountain will likely cross over the $500,000 mark by the end of next year. Things are still moving incredibly fast in the $250k-$500k range. Multiple offers are prevalent with buyers frequently missing out on homes, removing conditions and paying over list in this price bracket.

As you move out into the suburbs, in Flamborough, average sales prices are taking a bit of a hit. Dundas is up, Ancaster is up, Waterdown is hovering very close to what we saw last year, Stonycreek is up, Glambrook is down a little for the month, and Burlington is up. There’s a mixture in the suburbs, with the higher price points feeling a bit of the pressure over the last few months. In Hamilton proper, affordability is still pushing prices upwards.

We anticipate a return to a more normal November, as last year, buyers were racing to get into the market ahead of the new mortgage rules — which decreased their budgets by 20 percent. We saw strong market activity as buyers raced in before their approvals expired.

We should see a more normal November and December, so I suspect sales will be probably less brisk than they were in 2017 in the next few months — but it’s nothing to worry about, just a return to normal. We should be off to the races again very early in 2019 after the holidays. Things will wind down as we get closer to the holiday season. With snow already flying, we may see buyers and sellers packing it in and celebrating the holidays early.