Lifestyle

Early spring real estate season needs inventory

Ken and Jane Ambrose with Keller Williams Elite Realty, say it’s a buyer’s and a seller’s market. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Ken and Jane Ambrose with Keller Williams Elite Realty, say it’s a buyer’s and a seller’s market.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are extremely fortunate when it comes to the buying and selling of real estate these days because the market is being good to sellers and buyers alike right now.

That’s the opinion of long-time local realtor Ken Ambrose of Ambrose and Associates, who has been working in the industry for almost a quarter century in these parts, and so has had plenty of opportunity to see the real estate cycles at their highest and lowest – and right now he sees a nice even playing field that benefits all parties.

The Keller Williams Elite Realty agent says affordability is the key factor for this area’s success, because Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge homes of every kind are still within reach, especially for newer families that don’t have a lot of money to put down on Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey or even Langley housing.

“It has to be said that a lot of people, even if they don’t really want to move out this far, are still going to come because our homes are affordable,” says Ambrose.

“They may not want the long commute and gas expenses, but they don’t have a choice if they want to own a home.”

Mark Cardas, from the Cardas Mugridge Group at Re/Max Results Realty, agrees the market is busy right now.

He points to open houses over the past month and a half that might have seen two or three people apiece for much of last year, but which are now drawing many times that number.

He also likes the fact that he’s been seeing more multiple offer situations lately, which suggests buyers are more motivated right now than they have been for a long time.

“I think what we’re seeing is an early spring market,” Cardas states, referring to the expected spring real estate activity boost that seems to happen each year in April and May.

“We don’t actually have enough inventory on the market right now because those people who typically wait for the spring to list haven’t done so yet.” He suggests those waiting might want to consider advancing their timetable a bit to take advantage of the buyers who are out there right now.

Ambrose has noticed the greater interest as well; he’s also noticed that people are continuing to be extremely picky in their search for a new home.

“They’re better informed, they’re cautious, and unless they get emotional for some reason they’re willing to wait and see if anything “better” comes on the market.

“There has been a check in the market for some time, and I would say at least 95 per cent of the price changes on listings have been downward over the past year.”

Cardas says houses that are single-family entry level homes priced in the $350,000- to -$450,000 range are desirable right now, especially if they’re “nice and clean” – and he’d love to see more of them on the market.

Homes in the $500,000-to-$600,000 range are busier in terms of sales today compared to last year, but there aren’t nearly as many of those being sold, when compared to the less expensive homes.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver real estate statistics for February bear out what Cardas and Ambrose are saying, in that that while listings for detached homes, attached homes and apartments in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows combined were down last month (298) compared to the same period the year before (331), the number of sales was actually up 59 per cent – from 103 to 164.

The benchmark price for a single family detached home in Maple Ridge in February was $458,400, and in Pitt Meadows it was $500,200. For townhouses the numbers were $271,700 and $323,800 respectively, and for apartments $173,100 and $251,600 respectively.

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