The October real estate market has come to a close, and it was a busy one! I apologize for the delay in getting this update out, but it was an extremely busy October — and things appear to be just as busy in November. This fall has been very positive for the real estate market in Hamilton, and show no signs of slowing.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

First, sales were up 9%. Sales have been picking up following the release of the new mortgage rules, and sales prices were up 9% as well. Our team sales are up 60% year-over-year, a pretty dramatic difference. In fact, it was a record October for us.

Last year, 689 homes in Hamilton traded hands. This year, 752 homes were sold. Yet new listings continue to be down; they’re down 5%. Last year, there were 1,141 homes hitting the market this time of year. This year, there were 1,086. We’ve seen a number of months now, consecutively, in which new listings have been down. With sales up and listings down, prices have no choice but to go up.

Active listings are down 23%: 1,854 homes were on the market last year in October, and 1,431 are on the market this year in October. So again, inventory is decreasing. New listings aren’t coming to replenish the inventory that’s being sold. We’re firmly in seller’s market territory, and it’s likely to continue.

On the ground, homes are selling very quickly. There are multiple offers and competitions occurring in the marketplace. This is occurring in a variety of price brackets, not just the most affordable.

Currently, we’re down by 0.8 months of inventory. In October 2018, there was almost three months of inventory available: about 2.7. Now we’re down to 1.9 months of inventory in October 2019. That’s creeping back to the very low one month of inventory mark, which we saw in 2017.

Last year, the average home in October sold for $499,598. This year, it’s selling for $544,980. To some Hamiltonians, that may seem like a lot. But to buyers from here to Barrie, we still look extremely affordable.

Let’s look at time on the market. Last October, it was 30.9 days. It’s now down to 30.1 days. We’re just about to cross that 30-day mark, which is incredibly quick in the grand scheme of things. If you look at other, comparable real estate markets, it’s not abnormal to see 60, 90, or even 120 days. We’re almost below a month, and that’s taking into account that half the inventory on the market probably will never sell — it’s just not priced right.

We’re seeing some pretty significant fluctuations depending on where you are in the city, but every part of the city is up from a price perspective.

The fundamentals of the market, as a whole, are strong. Unemployment is low, wages are high, and the economy is doing well. There are more immigrants entering now than virtually ever before. We remain a beacon of prosperity in the eyes of those around the world. We’re bringing in foreign students, temporary workers, and people from other provinces in Canada that aren’t doing spectacularly well economically. So many of the smartest and brightest are migrating to Ontario.

There are a lot of positive real estate articles out about the national scene. Many of them are talking about sales recovering and picking up, prices regaining momentum, and so forth. Hamilton never saw the type of slowdown that the other communities have seen.

Average prices continue to rise here in Hamilton at levels far greater than most other communities. The market and the positives that we’re seeing aren’t only because people from Toronto are moving here and purchasing our real estate. It’s because Hamilton is a fast-growing, major city, with a lot of incredible developments on the horizon.

Really, I challenge people to sort of overlook the “Toronto factor” as being the only reason things are moving forward in our community. It’s good to hear that things are picking up outside of Hamilton, but Hamilton has continued to plow forward, against all odds, throughout the last number of months after the new mortgage rules were enacted.

The impact from the new mortgage rules has worn off, and we believe the year will end on a very positive note. It hasn’t let up as of the end of November here, and I’m expecting a fairly positive outlook going into 2020, with a lot of momentum after a few years with some fairly significant government interventions.

If you’ve been sitting out of the market and waiting for things to change, values have not gone down, and they will not go down anytime soon. Looking at things again over the mid to long term, it’s hard to see a scenario right now — based on supply and demand, immigration, and the flow of people — where prices decline. There’s really no data that can back that scenario. The time to get in is now, and you need to get into any type of real estate you can.

October was a very busy month — a very positive month. I expect to be back to you in a very short period of time, as we’re getting closer to the end of November already. I expect another very positive report for the Hamilton market.