LETHBRIDGE – Despite a down month of September and a slight drop in the overall number of homes sold this year, the local real estate market remains solid, according to the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors (LDAR).
Through the first three quarters of 2017, 2,115 homes have been sold in the Lethbridge and district area, down about two-per cent from the 2,164 homes sold during the same span in 2016. For September alone, the drop was about 9.5-per cent.
Lethbridge Real Estate Board Executive Director, Cathy Maxwell, says the news isn’t all bad though, stating that the total dollar volume of homes sold so far this year is actually up a small amount, sitting at $597-million, compared to $596-million in 2016.
When looking for possible reasons for the downturn in sales, Maxwell pointed to one in particular.
“You know the mortgage rules that took hold, almost exactly a year ago, they're playing havoc on the market. The people have to qualify much higher [for a mortgage], and it is playing a part in our market.
“It's for anybody who's applying for a mortgage, and it's even affecting some people when they're just re-mortgaging… And the question is: do people adjust their wants and needs? So, maybe they're going to lower their wants and needs to a lower price, or are they just waiting until they can afford to buy the house of their dreams?”
As for the dollar volume increase and the overall stability, Maxwell credited the diversity of the economy in our city, which shields the area from swings seen elsewhere across the province.
Taking a closer look at the numbers, Maxwell says the price point that is moving the fastest is in the starter market of homes, between $220,000 and $280,000, with an average sale price of $279,000. She also went over where they’re seeing the most sales in Lethbridge, and the average price points for those properties.
“Numbers at the end of September had more sold in west Lethbridge, followed by the south and then the north,” explained Maxwell. “Also, the average house price follows in that same direction. The average house price in west Lethbridge is about $301,000, on the south it's about $294,000 and on the north it's about $243,000.”
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