Hamilton real estate boom over: Report

The real estate boom for Ontario’s hottest market appears to be coming to a screeching halt, according to new numbers.

Economic growth in Hamilton is predicted to slow down this year, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook: Fall 2015, which calls for a drop to 1.5 per cent this year, down from 2.1 per cent in 2014.

While housing prices continue to rise, the region’s housing starts are also expected to decline by 23 per cent this year, according to the report, which is the lowest level the city has seen in six years.

“The slowdown in Hamilton’s economy is broad-based, as many sectors of the economy are expected to see weaker growth this year,” said Alan Arcand, associate director of the Centre for Municipal Studies, in a statement.

But while residential housing starts are soft this year, non-residential construction is helping to bolster the industry. Projects like McMaster University's $118 million multi-purpose building and clean-up efforts for Randle Reef, which is slated to start this year, will help.

Conference Board of Canada economist Jane McIntyre told CBC News that the decline was caused in part by condo projects starting last year that are now finishing up — but also due to the weather last winter, which was one of the coldest on record.

The long-term trend appears brighter, with economic growth projected to pick up next year, and the conference board says housing starts should increase by 29.5 per cent in 2016.

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