As we head into Christmas the Hamilton real estate market’s recovery continues to gather momentum. It is our expectation that November’s volume of 211 house sales will be bettered in December. Of greater interest is the number of contracts written in December but that will become unconditional in January is 35% higher than in the same period last year. This gives us confidence that the market will continue to improve during early 2012.
We have observed that first home buyers are particularly active in the market. Many have delayed their purchase decisions as they were concerned about job security, house price stability and wanted a bigger deposit to get started with. However, many Hamilton businesses have coped well with the recession and are now showing early signs of expansion. Hamilton house prices have also remained relatively stable over the last four years. Couple this with wage growth and bigger deposits and smart young house buyers are sensing that moving early may avoid pitting themselves in competition with a growing number of young house buyers or investors. If they have done their homework they will also be aware of the low number of housing starts Hamilton has experienced during the last few years. This undersupply of new homes looms as an inflationary threat to house prices.
Of even greater importance to the market have been the types of housing that first home buyers have been buying. Earlier in the year there was a large pool of investment housing bought by first home buyers. Investors were exiting residential rentals to rebalance their own balance sheets and therefore did not buy again. Empirical evidence suggests that recently first home buyers have been purchasing the homes of first home sellers. This is freeing these sellers to re-purchase in the city and create greater momentum through the entire Hamilton real estate market.