The summer housing market in Metro Vancouver – which includes Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – mirrors the weather.
In July, momentum spilled over from the highest selling June, and the second highest overall monthly total, on record for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
“Demand in our detached home market continues to drive activity across Metro Vancouver,” said Darcy McLeod, a Maple Ridge-based realtor who is also the REBGV president. “There were more detached home sales in the region [in June] than we’ve seen during the month of June in more than 10 years.”
Last month, Metro Vancouver home sales were more than a third above the 10-year average for July, while the number of homes listed for sale continues to trend below recent years.
The REBGV reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 3,978 on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in July. This represents a 30 per cent increase compared to the 3,061 sales recorded in July 2014, and a decrease of 9.1 per cent compared to the 4,375 sales in June 2015.
Meanwhile, sales in July were 33.5 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
Combining the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows markets, a total of 159 detached houses were snapped up in July, third most among regions under the REBGV umbrella.
Only Richmond (218) and Coquitlam (198) saw more detached homes sold last month.
As well, 74 attached homes (rowhomes and townhouses) and 43 apartments were sold in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows in July.
Meanwhile, new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,112 in July.
This represents a 3.8 per cent increase compared to the 4,925 new listings reported in July 2014.
In June, REBGV sales were 29.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month of June. It was the fourth straight month with over 4,000 sales, a first in the REBGV’s history.
The previous highest number of residential home sales was 4,434, recorded in May 2005.
“Housing market activity comes in cycles; we’re in an up cycle right now that looks similar to the mid-2000s,” McLeod said. “It would be easy to point to one factor that’s causing this cycle, but the truth is that it’s a number of different factors.
He added, “Conditions today are being driven by low interest rates, a declining supply of detached homes, a growing population, a provincial economy that’s outperforming the rest of Canada, pent-up demand from previous years and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that we live in a highly desirable region.”
Prices in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are inching up with the demand, even though Maple Ridge has the second-most affordable market in the REBGV next to the Sunshine Coast, which includes communities such as Gibsons and Sechelt.
For example, in Maple Ridge, the benchmark price for a detached home was $510,400 in July, up one per cent in price from the previous month and 7.9 per cent higher than July 2014.
In Pitt Meadows, a detached home would have set a buyer back an average of $565,400 last month, up 9.6 per cent from last July.
The benchmark price for townhouses in Maple Ridge in July was $292,100, making it 9.6 per cent more expensive than July 2014.
Pitt Meadows townhomes, at $361,700 on average this past month, are 11 per cent more expensive than they were exactly a year previous.
The apartment market in Maple Ridge is still relatively stable, with condos costing $169,100 on average last month, down 0.8 per cent from the previous July.
Condos in Pitt Meadows cost on average $249,600 in July, up 1.2 per cent in price from July 2014.
McLeod said much of today’s real estate activity can be traced to “strong consumer confidence, low interest rates, and a reduced supply of homes for sale.
“We have about 5,000 to 6,000 fewer homes for sale today than we’ve seen at this time of year over the last five to six years,” he added.
With the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 34.6 per cent, the region remains in seller’s market territory.
“Although there aren’t as many homes for sale today compared to recent years, homebuyers continue to have a range of housing options, at different price points, to choose from across Metro Vancouver,” McLeod said. “The diversity of housing options is part of what’s driving today’s demand.”