Home prices are up in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, according to recent real estate data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
The benchmark home price for all types of properties in Maple Ridge was $955,700 in April — a five percent year-to-date increase from January 2023, according to the Multiple Listing Serivce (MLS).
Pitt Meadows saw a roughly six percent spike in home prices since January. The average property now costs $881,200.
Specifically, the price of a detached home in April in Maple Ridge was $1,219,600, while townhouses and apartments cost $747,000 and $525,800.
In Pitt Meadows, the averages were slightly higher — especially for townhouses and apartments — with the price of a townhouse and apartment costing $800,700 and $596,000 respectively. The price of a detached home was recorded at $1,220,900.
Andrew Lis, director of economics and data analytics with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said that the increase in both cities is reflective of a wider trend gripping the Lower Mainland’s housing market.
There is a lack of homes on the market which is driving up the sale prices for prospective buyers.
“The number of new listings wasn’t coming up as much as we normally expect in the earlier part of the year,” Lis said. “That was keeping sales back because you can’t sell what isn’t listed.”
For example, there were just 252 newly listed homes for sale in Maple Ridge in April, which was a 43 percent decrease from April 2022.
Additionally, there were only 52 homes listed in Pitt Meadows this April, a roughly four percent drop from last year.
“New listings were slow, it slowed down sales, active listings not rising to the level they normally would, meaning we have a supply-constrained environment,” Lis said.
“There’s not enough active listings around, or product in the market, for all the buyers who want to purchase right now.”
That is corroborated by the fact that home sales were down in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows compared to April 2022.
Maple Ridge, specifically, had a roughly five percent decrease in the number of home sales in April 2023. Pitt Meadows, meanwhile, experienced a 38 percent drop.
Although Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows serve as a microcosm of a larger trend in the Greater Vancouver housing market, Lis clarified that the drastic percentage drop in home sales and new listings is caused by relatively small housing activity in both cities.
“The number of sales in this region is not enormously high in any given month, so the data is kind of small,” he said.
However, the growing rate of home prices in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is not a data abnormality.
Explaining the rising prices
Lis theorized that high interest rates are driving the increase in home prices for both cities.
In March 2022, the Bank of Canada increased interest rates from 0.25 percent to 4.5 percent to cope with rising inflation levels.
That has created a “locked in syndrome,” Lis said, where it doesn’t make financial sense for people to list their home on the market.
Especially for people considering a jump up the housing ladder — such as moving from a townhome into a detached property — the current interest rates are dissuading them from making the leap.
“If you wanted to move right now, and move up [to a detached home] specifically, you’re going to have to break the mortgage and take out a new one,” Lis said. “Because you’re taking out more mortgage to move up the housing ladder, that means you’re going to pay a much higher interest rate than if you just stayed in your property.”
The stagnation of detached house sales is impacting the housing ladder in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, where a majority of the homes that are on the market are detached.
The low inventory of detached homes is not incentivizing current apartment or townhouse owners to list their properties on the market, which is causing more demand and raising the prices of available listings.
“It’s not a very dense area of British Columbia,” Lis said. “It’s not that townhouses and apartments aren’t unpopular… What happens in the detached [home] market tends to spill over into the apartment and townhouse segments.”
In January, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver forecasted that the price for all properties — detached homes, townhouses, and apartments — in the region would increase by one to two percent by the end of 2023.
Although there are still six months remaining in the year, Lis said he doesn’t think home prices across Greater Vancouver are going to drop and the final tally will be higher than the increase they predicted in January.
“It’s possible that prices could move down a bit,” Lis said. “But based on the inventory situation and demand in the market right now, I don’t think that’s very likely.”