The year-to-date numbers this year are interesting! And year-to-date is the key phrase year. Reason being, there has been some buzz-talk about a big bump in October real estate numbers, not just in Lethbridge but in other Alberta municipalities as well. I tend to ignore those market bumps because they can’t speak to an overall trend, other than the possibility that the market is compensating for some kind of longer term trend. For example, October may have seen unusually high sales because the market was sluggish earlier in the year and now, for whatever economic reasons, buyers decided to make a move.
Year to date then, the city of Lethbridge has seen an overall 3% decrease in sales volume.
This number matters a lot because it indicates the third year in a row that we’ve seen sales down in the city. There is some consensus that significant changes to the mortgage rules in 2016 and 2017 continue to put a drag on the market as homebuyers may find themselves struggling to meet stricter lending criteria. Additionally, Alberta’s sluggish economy isn’t helping matters.
Of course, Lethbridge tends to be insulated from economic volatility, and GDP growth here has been relatively buoyant. However, consumer confidence still plays a huge role in the home buying process. Simply put, if buyers don’t feel secure in their employment and overall ability to carry the cost of home ownership over a period of time, they may stall on buying a home.
Price point still KEY when evaluating whether or not you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market.
Many are surprised to know that a $450k home in Lethbridge remains squarely in the luxury zone of the market. We have almost a year’s worth of inventory when looking at $400k and up. $250-$300k in North Lethbridge is also saturated and buyers have the advantage here, despite the affordability. It could be that new construction and west side growth is providing heavy competition for entry level buyers right now. Prices have recovered slightly but again, these aren’t numbers that indicate a de facto profit from your primary residence.
There are many, many factors shaping the real estate market. My job as your REALTOR® is to create a customized strategy for your home, your price point and your personal needs and goals. Contact us today to get started!