Hot market enduring impact of oil crash

Alberta’s housing market may have gone cold when it comes to people looking to invest but one market is thriving under the pressure of the oil crash and weak economic conditions – Lethbridge.

”While Edmonton and Calgary’s housing market have had its share of challenges with oil and its economy, Lethbridge is remaining popular among investors and people from Calgary because the prices are more affordable and there are opportunities to make solid returns,” Clark Paul, a real estate agent from the southern city told CREW.

“As for the oil crash, we haven’t suffered here in Lethbridge because we don’t have the amount of rigs and people per capita working in the field so there’s a lot more balance.”

His comments certainly ring true as Lethbridge has reported a record increase month after month over the last several months. The same can’t be said about a city like Calgary which, according to CREA, recorded the smallest gain year over year in prices since 2011. 

Paul refers to the market as ideal for buyers and sellers, and is seeing demand from people in Calgary and even provinces like B.C. and Saskatchewan. Agriculture is one of the city’s biggest markets so the lifestyle resonates with those looking for the quiet life.

With employment and significant population growth in Lethbridge, agents are capitalizing and convincing potential buyers that it’s a solid market for them, especially investors with interest rates at an all-time low.

Over the first half of the year, members of the local real estate board completed 1,313 residential sales, averaging $269,391. The average resale value has increased to $277,000 compared with $240,000 by the end of June in 2014.

The number of homes sold increased 6.7 per cent this year while the average sales price is 4.3 per cent higher than a year ago.

According to Paul, MLS sales of Lethbridge-area homes passed $353 million by the end of June, up 11.2 per cent from a year earlier. 

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