Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are again named the fifth best place in Canada to invest, according to the Real Estate Investment Network, but even with that distinction, sales have been slow in the area.
As the summer drew to a close in September, home sales were well below historical averages, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
REBGV reported that residential property sales reached 1,516 in September, a 32.5-per cent decline compared to the 2,246 sales in September 2011 and an 8.1-per cent decline compared to the 1,649 sales in August 2012.
September sales were 41.6 per cent below the 10-year September sales average of 2,597.
"There's been a clear reduction in buyer demand in the three months since the federal government eliminated the availability of a 30-year amortization on government-insured mortgages," Eugen Klein, REBGV president said. "This makes homes less affordable for the people of the region."
According to local realtor Bonnie Telep the market has slowed down a bit, "probably due to the new mortgage rules."
But there are many great reasons to consider buying in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, said Telep, who is broker-owner of Coldwell Bank Tri-Tel Realty and Tri-Tel Mortgage.
"Look what you get for your money. The further west you go, the more you pay and less home you get," Telep said.
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are reaping the benefits of the two major transportation projects completed in the region in 2009 (the Golden Ears and Pitt River bridges) and will also benefit from the completion of the Port Mann Bridge.
Construction of the bridges, along with the widening of the Lougheed Highway, west of Pitt River, has shortened the commute times for residents working outside the communities.
"With tolls on both the Golden Ears Bridge and Port Mann Bridge, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are the only places to live where you can commute to work in Vancouver, Burnaby, or New Westminster and not have to pay a toll," Telep added.
This increased accessibility will attract strong and consistent growth to the region.
Bringing in more people, as well as more companies, who discover the lower cost of the region is good for market value.
"This is good news for you... because more jobs bring more people, which means the value of your home increases," said Melanie Reuter, manager of research with Real Estate Network (REIN).
"Not only have you bought in a wonderful community with nature right on your doorstep, you have also made a great choice because the future of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, both economically and for lifestyle, will prove to be second to almost none in the Lower Mainland," Reuter added.
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are in the centre of what she calls an economic springboard, and the area is expecting major population growth in coming years.
The Golden Ears Bridge is expected to draw 20,000 to 25,000 people to the Metro Vancouver region, the next few years, of which almost 50 per cent are expected to make their homes in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, according to REIN.
"It's a long-term growth opportunity and in a fantastic community poised to outperform the rest of the province on so many levels," said Reuter.