Real estate sales in southern Alberta significantly increase over summer

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The southern Alberta real estate market is yielding some encouraging numbers after a few slow months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales are up this summer — but is this a trend that can sustain itself in the coming months? As Taz Dhaliwal reports – Aug 5, 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate sales are picking back up after a few slow months in the southern Alberta region.

According to the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, the number of sales in June increased by 12 per cent compared to the same time last year and by 16 per cent in July.

Monthly reports published by the association also show that the total residential average price increased by 10 per cent for the month of June, but dipped down to 0.5 per cent in July.

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“We saw this big increase in June and July where we’ve been swamped,” Lethbridge and District real estate board president Justin Myer said. “I think it was just that people that were waiting, they’re now back in the market. It was not surprising to see it. We kind of figured those people still need to buy, still need to sell, but they put their lives on pause [during the pandemic].”
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“A couple of things that could be driving that, certainly, some of the lowest interest rates we’ve seen with the Bank of Canada trying to stimulate the economy,” Economic Development Lethbridge CEO Trevor Lewington said.

“Maybe an incentive for people that are working and that do have a income, and that aren’t concerned about the future, perhaps to make that final investment or to move to another home.”

Read more: Edmonton’s real estate market looks to bounce back after sales drop due to COVID-19

When it comes to inventory in the real estate market in the region, that number has dropped by more than 10 per cent for both June and July when compared to 2019, which may lead to some added competition when placing offers.

“With it being so low, I think there’s going to be this fight for good inventory, and when a good house hits the market people will go for it. It still feels like it’s going to be busy for a little while and inquiries for listings haven’t slowed down for us,” Myer said.

Although, when asked how long this upward trend could be maintained, Lewington has some serious doubts about its longevity.

“I’m a little concerned about the fall honestly. Many people have been enjoying payment holidays and deferrals for property taxes and utilities, even for credit cards; a lot of those programs end in September/October,” he explained.

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Extra safety precautions during viewings of listings are still being taken. Those who are looking are being asked to wear masks, practice physical distancing and refrain from touching surfaces during visits.

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