Hamilton’s identity and hot housing market
Part of Hamilton’s identity is that it is an affordable place to live with a large creative base.
The housing market is a very delicate balancing act. Homeowners need affordable mortgages, tenants need affordable rentals, and landlords need to earn an income on their properties because no one works for free.
Since the new mortgage rules, sales and listings in Hamilton, Burlington and Grimsby have become more balanced. A senior economist with the Confidence Board of Canada says that how the market will fare is “hazy.”
“You’re probably looking at a few months at least of the market kind of feeling its way along slowly while everybody waits to see what’s going to happen,” says Robin Wiebe.
A contributing factor to Hamilton’s hot housing market over the years has been overspill from the GTA, aka residents looking to move here in search of a more affordable home in an urban environment.
Wanting an affordable home is a completely normal expectation. People move to achieve that goal all the time. Hamilton has always been considered affordable and was even once called one of the cheapest places to live in Canada.
Another key factor in the equation is the number of rental properties available. A city needs rental properties, but if too many homes are purchased as investment properties there are fewer properties available for those wanting to own their home.
A city can only grow so quickly and hold so many people. What happens to the people that lived here because it was affordable and prices become comparable to the GTA?
That’s why having balance in the market is key. For example, in a hot housing market, both the sale and rental prices of properties will increase with demand, making it more difficult for renters and aspiring homeowners who are at the mercy of the rental market.
If prices increase too much, we may start to see the people with the lowest incomes leave Hamilton or risk becoming homeless. A too-hot market may push out the disabled, the millennials with precarious employment who grew up here, and the people who drew the GTA here in the first place by building Hamilton’s identity as a hub for small businesses, musicians and artists.
**Opinion piece written by Jessica Sovie**