Local realtors are predicting home sales will climb as the market heads into the summer months.
From April to May this year there was a 33.9-per-cent increase in sales throughout the region, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), and that includes sales in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
In May 1,485 homes were sold across the entire Greater Vancouver, compared to 1,109 in April. However, when compared to May of last year – during which 2,638 houses were sold – there was a 43.7-per-cent drop in the region.
That’s no surprise to Maple Ridge realtor Jan Hickman. But she’s expecting more people to get into the real estate market again as the province enters into Phase 3 of the restart plan set out by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“I have seen an increase in some of my sales and calls for showings,” Hickman said.
However, she added, even though there still seems to be a fair number of buyers in the market, realtors don’t have the product to sell.
“There’s a lot of reluctant sellers because they still don’t want people in their homes,” she explained.
“Who knows what the rest of the summer will bring,” she said, noting that she doesn’t think it will be business as usual for some time to come.
REBGV stats indicate that the number of listings in May 2019 were 406 between the two communities, but that dropped to 240 last month. And in comparing listings overall in the first five months of the year – across single- and multi-family homes – there was a drop from 1,628 listings during that time in 2019 to only 1,351 in the same period of 2020.
Ron Antalek, another Maple Ridge realtor, blames the COVID-19 pandemic for the decline in the market, because, he says, the market was extremely active in February and at the beginning of March.
As soon as the emergency order happened that deemed the coronavirus a pandemic, Antalek said the market declined 60 per cent in activity and 60 per cent in new listings.
But, now that things are opening up, the market has improved dramatically, noted Antalek.
“March being the bottom, April improved, May improved over April, and June right now is improving over May – to date,” he said.
That’s supported by last month’s MLS stats show there was a drop in local sales in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows from 210 in May 2019 compared to 132 in May 2020. But, when comparing sales overall in the first five months of the year in the two communities – despite the pandemic – sales actually climbed from 704 (January to May 2019) to 763 during the same period this year.
Antalek expects prices to remain stable into June because the number of buyers has kept up with the amount of new listings.
And there is a silverlining found inside the REBGV stats for May, especially for long-time home, townhome, and condo owners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
For those with single-family homes, the benchmark price for a home in Pitt Meadows this May was $920,500, and compared to 10 years ago that has increased 84.2 per cent, while in Maple Ridge the benchmark price last month was $848,700, which means it has increased a little less than the neighbouring community – by 80.2 per cent.
Similarly, for a townhouse the benchmark price is now $633,000 in Pitt Meadows, that’s an increase of 93.6 per cent compared to a decade ago. In Maple Ridge, the price is now $548,400, up 77.2 per cent compared to 2010.
And, on the condominium front, Pitt Meadows’ benchmark price this past month was $500,100, up 98.3 per cent compared to 10 years ago, while an apartment in Maple Ridge is coming with a $360,500 pricetag, up 75.1 per cent compared to a decade ago.