Hamilton is the hottest housing market in the country when it comes to escalating real estate prices, according to a new study.

The RE/MAX annual Housing Market Outlook Report says real estate in Hamilton-Burlington shot up by 19.8 per cent this year compared to last. That’s a few notches ahead of second place Fraser Valley, which rose by 19.5 per cent.

But unlike the B.C. community, which is expected to see a 5 per cent decline in prices next year, the report predicts another double-digit increase next year in the Hamilton area. Prices here are predicted to jump by 11 per cent, again putting Hamilton on top in Canada.

That means next year the average house in Hamilton-Burlington will spike to $594,427 from $535,520 this year.

The jump next year is consistent with predictions by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corp., which sees the hot market continuing over the next two to three years.

“As long as we keep seeing people move from the GTA to Hamilton, this will not slow,” said Abdul Kargbo, a senior market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“Right now, price growth will continue for the next two years. But the rate won’t be as strong as we saw this year.”

However, he said, income increases are not keeping pace with real estate price jumps. So it is becoming increasingly more difficult for first-time buyers and people hoping to upgrade.

Conrad Zurini, broker of record for RE/MAX Escarpment Realty, says: “We have been experiencing the GTA spillover effect. People from the GTA are coming to Hamilton in search of a single-detached house, the great Canadian dream.”

He says there are people with single-detached homes in Toronto who moved to Hamilton to buy another single-detached home and pocket their windfall. And there are others who realize for the same price of a condo in Toronto, they can buy a single-detached home in Hamilton.

Hamilton numbers

23 per cent — This year’s price increase for Hamilton alone (without Burlington)

13 per cent — The predicted increase for Hamilton (without Burlington) in 2017

$441,619 — The average price of a house in Hamilton today

$499,029 — The average price of a house in Hamilton next year

Source: RE/MAX housing report

Economic notes

•RE/MAX and CMHC say increased GO Train service to the region and LRT will further boost the housing market as well as the local economy.

•The Conference Board of Canada says Hamilton’s economy will expand by 2 per cent in 2017.

•The City of Hamilton says building permit activity has surpassed $1 billion for 2016. That’s the sixth time in seven years that the city has reached the milestone.

“This is very affirming,” says Glen Norton, the city’s newly appointed director of economic development. “This confirms that local business owners are continuing to invest in Hamilton and there’s an ongoing confidence that if you have an idea, our city is the place to make it happen.”

Article courtesy of the Hamilton Spectator and written by Mark McNeil

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