Sales of homes in the Lethbridge, Alta. region, including Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass, rose by 70 units last month, compared to January 2023.

Figures from the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors show there were 169 transactions region-wide last month, up from 99 during the same month a year earlier.

Rural home sales climbed from 54 to 62 year over year, with the total residential average price also climbing over the course of a year from $299,614 to $365,279 — a rise of almost 22 per cent.

While the statistics might suggest an opening in the market, there were only 209 new listings region-wide, January versus January. This 18-plus per cent descent indicates there’s not a great willingness to sell.

In short, according to Pincher Creek-based Realtor Rylan Brown, it all comes down to supply and demand.

“It’s inventory. The numbers are really low,” he says. “I think we have six or seven active properties in the town right now.”

During 2023, Brown says, the number of listings bounced between six and 15.

“It seems like some homes are taking a little bit longer to sell on the market in that $400,000 range and above,” he says. “The smaller homes that are priced closer to market value, in the 250 to 350 range … they’ve been selling pretty fast.”

In some cases, he’s had offers as quickly as 24 hours after the showings.

Last month, there was one recorded sale each in both the town and MD of Pincher Creek, with five homes remaining on the market. It’s a different story in Crowsnest Pass, where four sales dropped the inventory to zero.

When looking at supply, Realtors, and the industry in general, like to look at a figure known as months of supply. It’s a barometer that provides a scope for Realtors of what’s still out there.

January’s figure was 3.12, down from 4.32 a year earlier.

“Technically speaking, if there’s less supply, it can definitely raise the prices,” Brown says, commenting on the 24.5 per cent plunge in the number of available homes year over year.

For most buyers, the starter or family home remains the leading choice, with 141 of the 169 last month being “detached.”

“That 1,200-square-foot, three- or four-bedroom home. If it has a garage, even better. That corner of the market is still hot,” he says.

Asked if the Bank of Canada’s key lending interest rate of 5.00 per cent factors into the decision-making process for his clients, Brown says he doesn’t feel it’s a leading determinator.  

“I think in our area, it’s a mixed bag of why people sell. I mean, you typically see people upsizing or downsizing. You can also see where someone is selling because they have to move for work.”

While providing some mixed results, the latest monthly summary by the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors did contain a record low.

With only 293 available units up for sale last month, the city of Lethbridge established a new mark for the lowest number of homes available on the market for any January — the old mark having been set 17 years ago, in 2007.

By Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 14, 2024 at 11:46

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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