Avison Young in Lethbridge
Since Avison Young opened its Lethbridge office in 2009, the company has since become a dominant presence in the Southern Alberta commercial real estate market. It was started by a team of highly-skilled professionals who had established themselves as very successful associates in both sales and leasing in Lethbridge and the surrounding area. The professionals in our office work closely with other Avison Young offices, particularly Calgary and Edmonton, to facilitate national and international sale and leasing transactions.
The Lethbridge office also houses Avison Young Appraisals and Avison Young Property Management, allowing us to better service the needs of our clients.
Lethbridge is the fourth-largest city in Alberta by population and third-largest by area. Located in Southern Alberta, Lethbridge is in the center of a trade area that serves over 340,000 people across parts of Alberta, British Columbia and Montana. Lethbridge is officially a census metropolitan area and currently the fifth-fastest growing city in the country, growing at a rate of 10.8% between 2011 and 2016.
Initially built around agriculture and coal-mining, Lethbridge now has a diverse range of key industries including commercial, financial, transportation and industrial. Additionally, Lethbridge is home to one university and two colleges.
Lethbridge’s office market consists primarily of downtown Lethbridge with new developments emerging in West Lethbridge and business parks in recent years. The business parks are located on the city’s outskirts, providing more ownership opportunities for office users, as well as locations with more parking. With many businesses looking for ownership opportunities and expansion, significant movement is possible in coming years.
Lethbridge’s commercial retail sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years with many new retailers coming to the city. The strongest growth has been and is expected to continue in West Lethbridge, the largest and fastest-growing region of the city.
This past year saw the completion of the first phase of the Crossings, a new 60-acre mixed use development located in West Lethbridge. North Lethbridge witnessed the major redevelopment of Centre Village Mall and South Lethbridge remained steady with some movement but little growth. Steady growth is anticipated in coming years as the Crossings development continues and many new retailers open stores across the city.
The industrial market in Lethbridge continues to see significant growth as new developments emerge around the city, providing ownership opportunities and creating movement. Cavendish Farms recently announced plans to build a new processing plant in the city; at 116 hectares of land, it is the largest development ever made in the city and is expected to create significant growth in all sectors.
The Lethbridge investment market saw capital markets activity increase slightly in 2016. Low interest rates have kept cap rates compressed and investor interest remains high with capital not placed in previous years. Local, private and long-term investors have softened their hold positions due to estate planning and/or current pricing, and have begun making new inventory and portfolios available. Institutional and private investors have begun to focus on location-specific redevelopments, creating higher in-place returns. Overall demand is focused on higher-quality, core and stabilized assets. All asset classes are trading at healthy levels in Lethbridge and are expected to continue to offer 6% to 8% capitalization rates into the future.