October 24th, 2020

Real estate rebounds from COVID effects


By Jensen, Randy on August 20, 2020.

A sold sign marks a southside home as the Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS report city stats continued to trend upward last month. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Real estate sales in Lethbridge enjoyed a bumper month in July as people took advantage of lower interest rates, and “pent-up” sales finally came through after being delayed due to COVID-19 earlier this year.

“The city stats continued to trend upward for July,” confirms Cathy Maxwell, CEO of the Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS, “and we believe that’s because there were pent-up deals that didn’t happen in April and May; so we are seeing them happening now. What that’s doing is it is causing around a 14 per cent increase in sales for the month of July.”

The market started out the year hot compared to 2018 and 2019, says Maxwell, but COVID-19 put a bit of a kink in it through the province-wide spring shutdown.

“How do you show a place when people are afraid of COVID? That does play a part,” she acknowledges.

Looking at the overall numbers year-to-date, Maxwell says the local real estate market has done astonishingly well, all things considered.

“Year-to-date, we are only about one per cent higher than we were last year,” she states. “But that is still pretty good considering what we have just come through.”

Another bit of good news, says Maxwell, is local inventories of houses for sale have continued to come down over the past year, creating a good balance for both buyers and sellers in the Lethbridge area at the moment.

In 2019 at this point in the year there was about eight to 10 months of inventory available, creating a strong buyers’ market, she says, but as of August this year that inventory is sitting at about five to six months’ worth.

“It’s a pretty nicely balanced market,” Maxwell states. “Right now, we are sitting pretty good for Lethbridge and district.”

And, of course, says Maxwell, with housing sales staying strong at the moment, it is a good sign Lethbridge’s economy may be weathering the worst effects of the current COVID-driven worldwide recession fairly well for the time being.

“They say that with every house or property sold the economic spin-off is between $55,000 and $60,000 per unit sold,” she explains. “That is impactful on our community. This is a good sign, and we are sitting pretty good (as an economy) at the moment. This market is certainly an encouraging sign.”

Maxwell does not know what the next few months may bring with COVID cases reportedly on the rise across the province, but she is hopeful for Lethbridge things will continue to hum along in the real estate market at their current pace.

“Personally, I think we will still see a fairly strong August and September,” she says, “but COVID does play a part in consumer confidence, and what they think they can do. So who knows what that will be for the future?”

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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