Housing market has cooled recently. (THE NEWS/files)

Breathing room for Maple Ridge home buyers

Condo prices down four per cent over last year

Buyers are getting a bit of a break if they’re house hunting in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows this spring, but they’ll still be paying a pile of money for a place to live.

That break consists of a five-per-cent drop in prices for an average single-family home in Maple Ridge, when this February’s prices are compared with February 2018 prices. For condos, there’s been four-per-cent drop in price.

It’s a different story in Pitt Meadows. House prices have dropped only two per cent, while condo prices have also slumped by four per cent in Pitt Meadows.

According the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, there has been a six-per-cent decrease overall in house prices in Metro Vancouver in the past year, while the sales volume has dropped by a third when February 2019 is compared to February 2018.

Despite the drop, the overall average price for a home in Metro Vancouver is still just more than $1 million. And if you bought a condo in Maple Ridge five years ago, it’s value has increased 80 per cent.

Maple Ridge realtor Ron Antalek said the changes are creating a balanced market, not over saturated, with buyers having a good choice.

“It really is a good time,” he said, adding the changes to mortgage qualification rules have last year affected a quarter of the market.

He said that, last month, there were 30 townhouse sales in Maple Ridge and they sold at an average price of $525,000, down by 4.8 per cent over February 2018.

With the market no longer red hot compared to a few years ago, buyers have time to think about a possible purchase, he added.

Downtown Maple Ridge is about to see the start of a major condo development on the corner of Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street by SwissReal. The first phase involves four buildings will be composed of 154 townhouses, condos and apartments on the western side of Haney Plaza.

Just to the north on Brown Avenue, next to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District office, a proposal for another 300 condos, ranging from studio suites to three-bedroom apartments, is about to go to council.

Realtor Adrian Keenan said that if prices are down five per cent, that works out to a $50,000-drop in the price of a million-dollar home. But many people are waiting to see what will happen with the economy, he added.

“There are some good opportunities there. People are just a little nervous. It will be interesting to see how the condo market fares because there’s a lot on the books to be built.”

He added that the condo market is more affected by investors leading to prices fluctuations.

“People are out there. There’s pent up demand.”

Some could be waiting for prices to drop. He’s always told clients that if they have a good job, the money and the place to buy, “and it works for you, do it.”

In Maple Ridge, the benchmark, or average price for a condo is now $353,600 while the average price for a single-family home is $807,000.

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