The Emerson Apartments on 122 Avenue under construction.

Home sales dropping as market cools

Prices dip five per cent in six months in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows

Homes sales are dropping across Metro Vancouver, and the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows market has not escaped the downturn.

Sales of detached homes dropped almost in half, down 47.6 per cent according to the statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The board’s latest sales summary looked at the past three months, and from September to November 2018 there were 194 sales of houses, compared with 370 during the same period in 2017. Sales 0f townhomes and apartments are both down about 24 per cent.

Across the entire Metro region, sales are down 37 per cent for houses, 41 per cent for townhomes and 42 per cent for apartments.

Still, Maple Ridge realtor Ralph Telep of Coldwell Banker Tri-Tel Realty said the real estate market in the Lower Mainland couldn’t run as hot as it had been, and people selling their houses should not worry.

“Everything sells. If it’s priced right and it’s clean, it sells,” he said.

In fact, he said some people looking to sell a property worry that they will not be able to get back into the market, because prices are so high they may not qualify for a mortgage, he said.

Looking at prices, they have edged downward, with the board reporting the composite of all residential housing types in Maple Ridge has dropped 5.4 per cent over a six-month period, and in Pitt Meadows the composite is down 4.8 per cent. Most of the drop has occurred in the past three months.

Examining the entire year, from January through to the end of November 2018, prices have been up in all housing categories in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. Detached homes jumped from $800,000 in 2017 to $870,000 this year, attached units from $485,000 to $555,000 and apartments from $325,000 to $395,000.

The benchmark price in Maple Ridge is $830,000 for a single family residence, and $895,000 in Pitt Meadows. Both have increased approximately 50 per cent over three years, which is the fastest price growth among the Lower Mainland communities that are members of the board, which includes Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Vancouver and other cities.

Telep, a realtor for 43 years, said buyers should not be looking for the bottom to fall out of the market, based on the long-term growth it has seen. The proximity to Vancouver and the favourable climate in “the California of Canada” mean Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will always be desirable.

“It’s not coming to an end. Maple Ridge was hotter than a pistol,” he said. “It has cooled, but it’s not the end of the world. Nothing to worry about.”

The real estate industry has been a key economic driver in B.C. Last year 35,993 homes changed ownership in the board’s area, generating an estimated $2.4 billion in economic spin-off activity and an estimated 17,600 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transactions through the MLS system in Greater Vancouver totalled $37 billion in 2017.

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