Lethbridge continues to be most affordable city on the prairies

Date: 
November 1, 2013

Lethbridge Herald story

Lethbridge affordable for homebuyers

Dave Mabell

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

For homebuyers, Lethbridge will continue to be the most affordable large city on the Prairies. And more homes will change hands here next year, predicts Canada Mortgage and Housing.

But while homebuilders have seen an upswing this year in most Alberta cities, there’s been a drop in Lethbridge. And business will be a little slower next year, the CMHC predicts.

The price of a typical Lethbridge home sold through the Multiple Listing Service will average about $245,000, it says. It’s expected to rise to $249,000 next year, but that’s still short of last year’s $249,215.

By comparison, CMHC says this year’s average in Medicine Hat will be $263,000, in Grande Prairie it will be $288,888 and in Red Deer $299,000. As for the big cities, the Edmonton average will be $345,000 while Calgary will be up to $436,500. Winnipeg will be a more modest $267,000, but Saskatoon will jump to $331,500.

While prices will be up marginally in Lethbridge, so will MLS sales. The agency says 2,125 homes were sold here last year and a predicted 2,175 this year. But in 2014, that number could advance to 2,225.

On the homebuilding front, the news is not as good. The CMHC forecast for 2014 is 600 homes, including about 100 units of condo, apartment, townhouse or duplex design. That compares with 660 units started in the Lethbridge census area last year and a predicted 645 by the end of 2013.

Medicine Hat should continue its slow recovery, the CMHC predicts, but the number of starts next year will be just half the Lethbridge total. If the predicted 300 units are begun, that will be 30 more than this year’s prediction and 16 more than the number actually started in 2012.

Starts in Calgary are expected to reach 11,700 by the end of December and 13,100 in 2014.