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December housing numbers in Lethbridge leave experts hopeful

Prospective first-time homebuyers out house hunting are having to look a little harder these days, with entry-level price points in Lethbridge being highly sought after.

Jennifer Bodoway is a 15-year veteran of realty and understands the challenges people face as they look to break into the housing market.

“There just aren’t very many single detached homes available in the price range that people are ready to start out at,” Bodoway said. “So, if there’s a nice condo with granite counter tops that’s finished, less than 10 years old, that’s going to be quite popular with someone who is just starting out.”

BILD Lethbridge executive officer Bridget Mearns said the members of the residential construction industry are aware of the uphill battle of owning a house.

“I think that a lot of people have been waiting to see what will happen in the interest rates, but I think there are also a number of people who haven’t been qualifying,” said Mearns. “So, it has become a barrier to them, specifically first-time home buyers. ”

With the average price of a home in Lethbridge increasing 3.8 per cent to just over $360,000.

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Average prices on detached homes in the city increased 14.7 per cent to around $429,000.

But semi-detached homes saw prices nearly double, to around $315,000 on average.

Experts suggest the jump may be attributed to the lifestyle of living in a semi-detached community and affordability.

“What they can afford may be less than what they thought, so now they’re moving into a semi-detached as a temporary measure,” suggested Mearns. “Maybe moving into a detached later down or maybe they stay, but I believe that’s probably a reflection on what people can afford.”

With the Bank of Canada set to release an update on the interest rates this week, there is a sense of optimism and resiliency in the real estate community.

“People moving, either they’re coming to Lethbridge because they got a job transfer here or perhaps they’re going to move from a $300,000 house to a $500,000 house, or maybe they’re downsizing,” said Bodoway “Despite the rise in interest rates, we are still seeing quite a bit of activity in 2024 so far.”

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