Some homes in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are seeing multiple offers, and many are selling quickly, according to local realtor Debbie Sheppard. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are moving on an upward trajectory

Home buyers and sellers are still a little cautious but definitely becoming more at ease with all the new COVID safety protocols, said long-time local realtor Debbie Sheppard. And that’s being seen in the most recent real estate numbers for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“People are getting a little more comfortable with the COVID thing,” she said, pointing to statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) that are showing a jump in listing last months that are higher than June 2019, and a return in actual sales numbers that are almost double May’s figures.

“People are still leery, but they’re a little more comfort out there,” she said, noting how customers have been quick to adhere to the new rules and suggested safety measure.

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Sheppard expressed appreciation for living and working in B.C., where COVID cases remain low as the province engages in a slow restart plan. She’s grateful not to be working south of the 49th Parallel where the numbers of deaths and COVID diagnoses are climbing significantly day over day.

Greater Vancouver, and in particular she spoke to her own communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, are thankfully seeing a strong real estate market where prices have not dramatically changed – in fact, continue to go up slightly. Likewise, she said realtors are starting to once again see fast sales all across the board in detached homes, townhouses, and condos. And, Sheppard noted, they’re still seeing multiple offers on some of the more competitively priced homes.

“Our market is quite good, quite brisk,” added the realtor with ReMax Lifestyles Realty.

Last month, that meant 212 house sales between the two cities, that compared to 132 in May, and only 156 in June 2019.

“There’s still a good demand out there,” said Sheppard, who through her 40-year career in real estate has witnessed a number of different economic cycles and associated ups and downs in the real estate market.

“This one is just so different,” she said, noting how realtors are doing business has shifted considerably, including the introduction of all new safety precautions and administrative changes that aim to curb the spread of the virus. She expects those practices will remain status quo until a vaccine is found, at least.

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Yet, she said, the demand to buy and sell homes in the community is returning to pre-COVID levels and she remains optimistic, noting the Greater Vancouver region doesn’t seem to be seeing the bigger dips predicted on the national level.

Looking at year-to-date figures, the numbers of homes sold in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows between Jan. 1 and June 30 increased to 975 in 2002, compared to 860 in the same period during 2019.

The local median selling prices for June were also above past, with detached selling for $925,000, townhomes selling for $544,500, and condos selling at $395,000.

Sheppard said the single-family homes selling around the $800,000 mark are still her most active, and she’s continued in the past weeks to personally witness a strong townhouse market.

The local figures are somewhat indicative of what’s happening around the region.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,443 in June 2020, a 17.6-per-cent increase from the 2,077 sales recorded in June 2019, and a 64.5-per-cent increase from the 1,485 homes sold in May 2020, said chair Colette Gerber.

“Realtors continue to optimize new technology tools and practices to help their clients meet their housing needs in a safe and responsible way,” Gerber said.

“Much more of the real estate transaction is happening virtually today. Before considering an in-person showing, realtors are helping potential buyers pre-screen homes more thoroughly by taking video tours, reviewing floor plans and an increased number of high-resolution images, as well as often driving through the neighbourhood,” said the board chair.

The board represents 13,700 realtors from Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminister, South Delta, as well as Whistler, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast.

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