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What to expect when buying a home in southern Alberta’s ‘hot market’

Click to play video: 'Lower-priced home sales spike as new build costs rise in southern Alberta' Lower-priced home sales spike as new build costs rise in southern Alberta
WATCH ABOVE: Experts say the real estate market is doing well in southern Alberta right now, but home buyers may have a hard time finding what they’re looking for. Eloise Therien hears from a home builder and realtor about what to expect – May 7, 2021

Taking the plunge into the world of real estate and buying a new home is one of life’s larger decisions, one that industry experts say many are making right now.

Lonny Hoy, who owns Cedar Ridge Homes in Lethbridge, said business was a little slow when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, but has since picked up drastically as people start to “think a little bit about their space and where they live.”

“Once we started to see restrictions here at the start of the year, there was a big influx of people interested in a new home,” he explained.

“We’re building probably about double what we were doing at this time last year.”

Read more: Lumber industry and home building materials seeing a drastic increase in price, shortages

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However, there are issues when it comes to building: increased material costs.

“We’ve seen an increase in material expenses kind of across the board right now, so things like PVC, plastic, metals, aluminum — lumber is a big one,” Hoy said.

While builders are spending more to construct homes, buyers are subsequently paying more to live in them.

Courtney Atkinson, a Lethbridge-based realtor, said home prices in the city typically increase 3.3 per cent annually.

“The average house price now in Lethbridge is about $313,000, so it’s not astronomical and it hasn’t changed dramatically,” he said.

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Real estate agents continue work with virtual tours and heightened safety measures – Apr 16, 2020

“What we’re finding with new home construction is that the materials’ costs have increased dramatically, so those prices are up by 10 and sometimes 15 per cent depending on the price point.”

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For prospective buyers, this means finding a new home in a lower-price range may be difficult, especially with an increase in demand.

“Folks are sometimes hesitant to act quickly, but the challenge is you might end up in a multiple offer situation, or worse yet, missing out on the property altogether,” Atkinson warned.

“If you find a property on Friday night, you better be offering Friday night — not waiting the weekend to think about it because chances are by Monday or Tuesday it’ll be sold.”

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