(January 14, 2011 – Hamilton) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) held its annual news conference today, and this year’s President  anticipates  the real estate market will further stabilize through 2011, with a market that performs much as it did in 2010.
In her inaugural speech, Ann Forbes Arndt, 2011 RAHB President, noted that consumer confidence is a concern for next year.  “Although we have seen some signs of recovery with unemployment down and stabilizing,” she said, “economic projections for the year call for cautious optimism with respect to full time job creation.”  Employment numbers released in January bode well for the year ahead, she noted. “If we continue to see stabilization in the employment rate, we expect to see confidence in the market, and by mid-year housing sales should be on the rise.”
Arndt predicted that 13,000 residential properties will be sold through RAHB’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2011
Area media were on hand to hear Arndt report that the 2010 real estate market ended with 13,440  sales reported on the association’s  Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) , which can be considered an average number of sale based on sales figures over the last ten years.
The total volume of real estate sales in the area surpassed 4.2 billion dollars, the highest volume recorded in the association’s history as well, which speaks to just how powerful the MLSÒ marketing system is to the real estate industry.
In 2010, 66 per cent of all residential properties listed were sold.  The list to sales ratio is an excellent barometer to determine whether it is a buyers’, sellers’ or balanced market.  The 2010 list to sales ratio indicates a more balanced market than 2009’s year-end average of 73 per cent.
The average sale price of all property sales was $314,501, again the highest on record.
The year was characterized by brisk sales through the first half of the year, fuelled by low interest rates and buyers wanting to avoid the HST beginning  July 1, with sales dropping off through the summer months and early fall.  Sales rebounded in December to higher-than-average levels.
Moving into 2011, Arndt noted that “one area that will be interesting to watch is the employment numbers for young people.  Youth unemployment is still near record highs and this will have an impact on the number of first-time home buyers over the next few years.”  Traditionally, first-time buyers drive the housing market, allowing existing homeowners to move up.
As a result of low interest rates, a gradually improving economy and no unexpected volatility, 2011 will be stable and looks promising for both buyers and seller.