Dave Mabell @The Lethbridge Herald wrote the following this morning. It is interesting to compare how the Lethbridge real estate market has weathered the economic downturn better than many other regions.
"Despite distress in Alberta’s energy industry, homes remain a hot commodity in Lethbridge.
Local real estate officials report 2015 turned out to be their strongest year since 2007. And the average sale price across the region reached $266,738 by December – up 14.6 per cent in one year.
December was a particularly busy month, according to figures released by the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors. The 132 homes sold through the association’s Multiple Listing Service that month went for a total of $35.2 million – up more than 20 per cent from the year previous, and the highest-ever for December.
Overall, officials report prices on the 2,543 housing units sold last year across the region – from Crowsnest Pass to Bow Island – rose an average of 4.5 per cent over 2014. Annual sales, including non-residential property, rose seven per cent last year to $672,759,945.
A reported 4,491 properties were listed for sale over the year, they add, and deals were closed on 2,549 of them. At year’s end, there were 1,274 active listings for all types of properties, down slightly from the year before. But residential listings fell 9.3 per cent over the year, to 1,087 as the year ended.
Over the first month of 2016, the association reports, sales continued at or above last year’s pace. The city’s westside saw 26 homes change hands, followed closely by north and south neighbourhoods with 25 sales each.
The most active price range last month across the region was from $250,000 to $299,999, with 28 sales concluded. Next were the $300,000 to $349,999 range with 15 sales and the $200,000 to $249,999 group with 14.
The Lethbridge association, with offices in many communities across southern Alberta, now serves 324 licensed real estate professionals.
Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association reports sales of existing homes rose by eight per cent last month compared to a year ago, while the national average home price soared 17 per cent.
The national average home price was $470,297 in January, it says, fuelled largely by price gains in greater Vancouver and greater Toronto. But excluding the piping hot markets of Ontario and British Columbia, the average sale price actually edged lower by 0.3 per cent from a year ago to $286,911.
CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said single-family homes remained in high demand in Toronto and Vancouver last month, while a number of Alberta markets continued to see ample supply while potential buyers sat on the sidelines."