Photo: James Bombales

Just how much sizzle is there in Hamilton’s housing market? Well, a major real estate company is calling for it to be the hottest in the country this year, and picky Millennials are already descending on the one-time industrial powerhouse like locusts.

But here’s another way of looking at it: by at least one measure, single-family homes in Hamilton’s census metro area (CMA) are more expensive than those in the Vancouver CMA, new BuzzBuzzHome data suggests.

As of 2016’s fourth quarter, the median price of a brand new single-family home in the Hamilton CMA was $1,029,900 while it was only — and we use that term loosely — $976,980 in the Vancouver CMA.

The numbers arrive via BuzzBuzzHome’s New Home Outlook 2017, which digs into Canada’s new-construction residential market and includes a review of 2016.

The research team at BuzzBuzzHome, the new home search portal which operates BuzzBuzzNews, based calculations on pricing of units currently listed for sale at new communities during the fourth quarter of last year.

Have doubts that the Hammer and surrounding area could boast a higher median price for new single-family homes? Greg White, BuzzBuzzHome’s VP of data and partnerships, explains:

“Currently we are seeing a number of higher-priced estate-style communities with pricing over a million [dollars and] sizes over 3,000 [square feet]. This is pushing the median price in the Hamilton CMA upwards,” says White.

Single-family home development activity in the Vancouver CMA is concentrated in the outer areas of the region (although on an average price per square foot cost basis, these dwellings are still more expensive).

It’s worth noting both CMAs’ Statistics Canada surveys are much larger than the cities they are named after.

Vancouver’s spans roughly 2,882 square kilometres of land and includes sprawling Burnaby and Surrey. Hamilton’s occupies 1,371 square kilometres encompassing suburban Grimsby and Burlington.

And the higher median price doesn’t mean Hamilton’s market is more expensive overall. Rather, it reflects recent new-construction home listings in the respective markets. “Pricing is based on actual homes being marketed for sale… at Q4 2016… This price will fluctuate based on current market offerings,” White clarifies.

With several more affordable housing communities expected to hit the Hamilton market this year, White expects the market data to rebalance and reflect Vancouver’s relative strength.

BuzzBuzzHome’s research team went with median pricing because it “reduces the skewing effect of outliers,” White tells BuzzBuzzNews. “For instance in the Vancouver CMA there is a new home development priced at almost $13 million,” he adds.


Table: BuzzBuzzHome’s New Home Outlook 2017

BMO Senior Economist Robert Kavcic points out that Vancouver’s resale market is still considerably pricier than Hamilton’s.

“Look at the benchmark single-detached home in Vancouver. It’s about a million and a half dollars, GTA’s about $850,000… [and] Hamilton would be another step down from that,” he tells BuzzBuzzNews.

In terms of new-construction, single-family homes, Kavcic goes over factors that could lead to the Hamilton CMA’s median price surpassing Vancouver’s in this case.

“I would say that it’s probably something to do with the comparable of one home to another, because your typical benchmark home in Vancouver is still going to be a lot more than Hamilton,” he says.

“So it probably has something to do with either the lot size or just the quality of the home in the Hamilton versus the Vancouver case — or the actual location of it, too.”

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