Source – westerninvestor.com
- “…Alberta city ranked among Western Investor’s five top towns for real estate investors is ‘flying under the radar’, data suggests…Cathy Maxwell, CEO of the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, reports that 81 per cent more homes were sold in December 2020 at 116 compared to the same time in 2019. Houses sold for an average of about $300,000, which is an increase of approximately 13 per cent”
Lethbridge posts Alberta’s highest home sales, price increase
Alberta city ranked among Western Investor’s five top towns for real estate investors is ‘flying under the radar’, data suggests
Lethbridge, which was ranked among Western Investor’s top destinations for real estate investors in 2021, is posting Alberta’s highest annual increase in residential real estate sales and prices. The annual ranking of the “top five towns” was published in November 2020.
The city’s commercial and industrial property sector, while feeling the pandemic sting, is also punching above its weight, according to Avison Young, the international real estate agency that has an office in the southern Alberta city.
In 2020, Lethbridge and region posted a 15 per cent increase in housing units sold compared to a year earlier, the highest increase in more than 10 years, according to Re/Max Lethbridge. Second-place Edmonton reported a 1.5 per cent sales increase.
Lethbridge also led the province in year-over-year average home price increases, with a hike of 13.3 per cent to $299,300, as of December 2020, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. .
Ranked as Alberta’s fifth-biggest city with an estimated 128,851 residents in 2020, Lethbridge’s population increased by 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, based on Statistics Canada data, matching the level in both Calgary and Edmonton.
With a diversified economy anchored on agriculture production – food giant Cargill is a major employer – Lethbridge saw its industrial vacancy rate fall to 7.1 per cent in 2020, down from 8.2 per cent a year earlier, Avison Young reports. The industrial space could tighten further in 2021, the agency suggests, “due to demand from national tenants.”
In 2019, the City of Lethbridge raised the benchmark pricing on about 300 acres of industrial land it owns, which now range from $230,000 to $290,000 per acre.
The office market, as in most cities, has seen the vacancy rate spike, rising to 15 per cent downtown, up from 11 per cent pre-pandemic. The vacancy rate remains below that in either of Alberta’s two biggest cities. The office sector is platformed by educational and health sectors that make up 20 per cent of the city’s economy. This includes Lethbridge College, the University of Lethbridge, the Chinook Regional Hospital, and the St. Michael’s Health Centre.
Lethbridge home sales shot up 81% in December, city leaning towards a “seller’s market”
Jan 5, 2021 2:41 PM
LETHBRIDGE, AB – While much of the economy was down in 2020, the local real estate sector thrived.
Cathy Maxwell, CEO of the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, reports that 81 per cent more homes were sold in December 2020 at 116 compared to the same time in 2019.
Houses sold for an average of about $300,000, which is an increase of approximately 13 per cent.
These strong sales have helped to lower inventory levels from about eight-to-nine months back in the spring to about four months now.
“I would say we’re pretty balanced, but maybe leaning towards a seller’s market. When the inventory is down, you can ask a little more for your property because there’s not as much for sale.”
Despite a drop in activity back in April when the first COVID-19 shutdowns were still fresh, Maxwell says Lethbridge finished the year off in a strong spot as she reported increases in every month since.
For 2020 as a whole, 1,666 residential properties were sold, up about nine per cent year-over-year.
The most popular price category was the $300,000-$400,000 range followed by $200,000-$300,000.
Total real estate transactions totalled $803-million. This rose from approximately $664-million in 2019.
“Lethbridge is the only larger city in the province to record this magnitude of annual sales growth and to see sales rise above long-term averages.”
While Maxwell was surprised to see the numbers rise to the extent that they did, she believes there are a few understandable reasons for why.
First and foremost, lending rates were and are still around record-low levels, promoting prospective buyers to act more quickly.
As always, she cites Lethbridge and the surrounding area as having a strong diverse economy that was better equipped to weather recessions.
With more people working primarily at home this past year, Maxwell was not sure if people looked to upgrade their houses to both be a home and a place of business.
Looking into what the future might hold for real estate is always a difficult task, especially during a chaotic year for the economy that was 2020, but she remains optimistic that the local home-buying market will be able to maintain its upwards trajectory in the first quarter of 2021
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