According to a recent report from the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, the city continues to see record-highs when it comes to home sales.
In July, there were 241 sales, bringing the total for 2021 up to nearly 1,500. That’s a 55 per cent increase over long-term trends.
Dallas Harty, owner of RE/MAX Real Estate Lethbridge, said the market saw a boost a couple of years ago and is currently doing very well.
“Four to five, even six years prior to that we were in totally different conditions,” Harty said. “We were in conditions that were favouring the buyer, there was lots of inventory to look at, there wasn’t enough buyers, houses were sitting for a long time. Quite frankly, we were due for an uptick.”
Although average house prices have increased in the city by around 12 per cent, Harty explained the pricing for many properties is lower than many other markets in British Columbia and Alberta, especially when it comes to single-family homes.
“We’re averaging right about $325,000 right here,” he said. “In Calgary it’s $540,00, so it’s about $200,000 higher.”
Harty added despite new stress test measures that came into effect in June and changed the way buyers can qualify for a mortgage, there hasn’t been much change.
“This last adjustment to the stress test, it didn’t have a huge impact and the reason is – one of the reasons why – interest rates are still very, very low,” he explained.
Trevor Lewington, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge, said while everyone has different reasons for moving towns, the financial appeal of Lethbridge might be attracting new residents.
“The fact that we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the province, so Lethbridge is very much a job seekers market,” he said.
“There’s more employment opportunities than there are people looking for work. So that’s good if you’re coming from another area of the province that perhaps doesn’t have that same situation.”
Lewington added others may have realized the potential of a smaller city during the pandemic, like being able to work remotely while improving quality of life.
“Lethbridge has everything that a bigger centre has to offer, but it’s easier to get around, it’s more affordable,” he said. “People are perhaps prioritizing quality of life over some of the other considerations in the past.”