Is it too late to get into Hamilton’s hot housing market?

Hamilton is poised to be one of the strongest housing markets in the country in 2015 -- but is it too late for investors to catch the train?

Far from it, said Cam McCarroll, an investor and sales person at Harbour Properties.

“The hot market in Hamilton means that increased demand makes finding discounts on price more challenging, that paying close to full price is the norm, and often multiple offers are creating sales over asking price,” he added. “But this is just the cost of admission for accessing a hot appreciating market like Hamilton.”

Analysis published this week by TD Economics showed that, across Canada’s largest 14 cities, Hamilton is the only one expected to see house prices grow over the next two years.

Diana Petramala, TD’s real estate economist, said: “Unlike other markets, where we see prices decline, we do see prices growing by about two or three per cent per year in Hamilton. The sharp gains we’ve seen are probably behind us, but it’s still going to be one of very few markets where home prices will continue to grow.”

Housing prices in Hamilton rose an average of six per cent in 2014, reminiscent of the kinds of sales and price activity more typical of Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s figures for November 2014 showed a year-over-year percentage change of eight per cent, from an average price of $368,947 in November 2013 to an average price of $398,590 one year later.

Only two or three years ago, McCarroll said, investors were wondering whether Hamilton was the best choice for investment. Much has changed in the ensuing years.

Hamilton has a wide spread of housing stock from $140,000 to $400,000,” he added. “Identifying transition areas is the key to long-term success when investing in hot markets like Hamilton. These key transition areas are where new and experienced investors can take advantage of greater appreciation and good rents.

“A report like TD's deals with averages across the city, but a smart investor would be buying in areas that are in a specific neighbourhood that will transition upwards in value and is going to perform better than the average.”

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