The end of June marks the half-way point in the year, and it’s a good time to take stock of what’s transpired already this year, and what we are looking forward to in the second half of the year.

I don’t need to tell you that the hot real estate market has continued from last year into this year. You’ve all been very busy out there!  As I write this just days before the end of June, our stats are showing that new listings are down almost 15 per cent from last year, so there are fewer properties that buyers have available to them. Sales are also down, but by just 2.5 per cent from last year. I know that sounds like the market is reversing a little, until you consider that in the first half of last year, we had three all-time record-breaking months in a row.

There’s been much made in the press and in conversations about the increase in median and average prices – they are up 12.4 per cent and 11 per cent respectively over last year for the first half of the year. Those are significant increases, and there are certainly questions about affordability in the Hamilton area especially – it’s historically been a city that’s been considered “affordable”.

As I said at the recent Bay Area Economic Summit, there’s nothing on the horizon to suggest that things are going to change in the near future. However, the Hamilton and Burlington areas – and I should include our outlying areas as well – have such a wide range of housing options that there should continue to be affordable choices for home buyers.

In looking back over the first six months of this year, there are some highlights that stand out.

On March 23, 2016, REALTOR® CONNECTIONS AGM, Conference and Trade Show attracted 499 members for a day of education, networking, and learning more about RAHB and how we serve you, our members. It was my first REALTOR® CONNECTIONS and it was a great opportunity for me to meet and speak with so many of you there. Planning is already underway for next year’s REALTOR® CONNECTIONS – watch for changes!

RAHB’s annual Charity Golf Tournament was held on June 23 at Copetown Woods Golf Club. This event raises funds for the Karan Barker Scholarship Fund and it was a pleasure to golf on such a beautiful course, meet more of our members and support a great cause.

The Karan Barker Scholarship is one of our many member services and I’d like to remind you that the deadline for applications for this year’s scholarship is Friday, August 12, 2016. If you have a daughter, son, granddaughter or grandson who is or will be attending university or college in the fall, please look for the scholarship application on REALTOR Link®, under the Member Services tab – we would be honoured to assist with furthering the education of young people in our RAHB family.

I hope you have a great start to the summer and in my next column, I will talk more about what we are looking forward to in the next six months.