With the ongoing housing crisis throughout Canada, more and more young families and individuals are struggling to find – and afford – housing.

However here in Lethbridge, the housing market is remaining stable.

Chief executive officer of Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, Cathy Maxwell, talked to The Herald on Friday about the housing situation here.

“I can say about Lethbridge is we are a very diversified city in that we have top post-secondary schools – the university, college” as well as industry with manufacturing and the potato plants. 

“Of course, agriculture is huge. Lethbridge is stable. And for that reason, I think we will be able to withstand any sort of recession that might be upon us. We seem to be able to manage that pretty, pretty good, at least over the last 10 to 20 years,” said Maxwell.

Maxwell noted that as of the end of August, Lethbridge home sales were up about 22 per cent over the past year. 

She added new listings have experienced an increase as well, being up by 23 per cent. 230 new listings have come on-stream in Lethbridge in August. However, despite the good news, inventory has declined, said Maxwell.

“Our inventory generally is about 30 per cent lower than long-term trends. Unpacking that a little bit, right now, we have a about two-and-a-half months’ worth of supply of listing. That’s very low. I think if we talk, say 2019, or even before the pandemic news, January 2020, we were sitting at about eight months of inventory. 

“That’s a lot. So even though our new listings are going up, we still are lacking housing, the number of houses that we really need. When you consider the months of supply. I say we have about two-and-a-half months.”

Maxwell said the housing prices have increased in the city. 

“Our average house price in Lethbridge went up about four per cent, year over a year. We’re sitting at about $348,000 for an average house price. So, four per cent increase over the year, that’s a decent increase.”

She said the question most people are curious to know is the most sought-after price range on housing.

“A lot of times people want to know, what is the price range that has the biggest turnover. So the highest sales are coming between the range of $300,000-$400,000. That’s where the biggest turnover is followed by $200,000 to $300,000. Those are the price ranges that are the most popular.”

Maxwell expressed her confidence in a stable real estate market as time progressess.

“I feel like the market for real estate will continue to move along. And maybe we’re not going to break any big records. But I think we’re going to keep moving along because there’s a housing shortage. As people are listing the house, its gonna sell.”

Maxwell said Lethbridge is one of the most stable places in Alberta and is withstanding the pressures on interest rates.

“We’ve been stable. As I say, we are withstanding the pressures on the interest rates and the stress tests that people have to pass in order to get a mortgage. And they did that to cool the market. And it worked. Lethbridge is one of the most stable centres in Alberta. And the other thing to consider is the migration to Alberta from other provinces. It’s the highest. We have the highest migration. Our economy in Alberta seems to be pretty healthy.”

She reminds members of the community that real estate is a safe investment.

“I think it’s important to know that it is still a good time to transact in real estate. Real Estate is a solid investment. And that’s an important one to know. Because sometimes some of the markets you don’t always know, but purchasing real estate is a solid investment.”

By Steffanie Costigan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 12, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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