Where to buy real estate in Canada 2021: Langley, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge
These three B.C. regions offer an alternative to sky-high City of Vancouver real estate in 2021.
These three B.C. regions offer an alternative to sky-high City of Vancouver real estate in 2021.
|Sub division||Postal FSA||Neighbourhood name||Overall rank||Avg price 2020||1-year growth||3-year growth||5-year growth||Value score (out of 5 stars)||Neighbourhood economics score (out of 5 stars)||Neighbourhood accessibility score (out of 5 stars)||% Households with Children|
|maple ridge||V2W||websters corners||3||$896,217||6.5%||9.9%||70.0%||3.6||5.0||0.4||56%|
|maple ridge||V4R||silver valley||7||$1,010,258||3.7%||11.6%||75.0%||3.4||4.7||0.8||53%|
|pitt meadows||V3Y||north meadows pl||10||$783,033||2.5%||21.6%||95.6%||4.2||2.0||3.5||43%|
|pitt meadows||V3Y||central meadows||11||$684,492||3.0%||16.5%||75.0%||4.2||2.0||3.5||43%|
|pitt meadows||V3Y||mid meadows||12||$689,933||2.1%||17.1%||75.9%||4.1||2.0||3.5||43%|
|pitt meadows||V3Y||south meadows||13||$884,617||3.8%||12.3%||65.1%||3.6||2.0||3.5||43%|
|maple ridge||V2X||northwest maple ridge||14||$773,533||4.9%||13.7%||71.2%||3.9||0.8||4.0||40%|
To the east of Surrey, marking the start of BC’s Fraser Valley Region you’ll find the cities of Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge. Their proximity to the city of Vancouver—it’s about an hour drive or 40-minute train ride away—makes these cities popular with commuters.
Besides their great location, each of these cities has its own distinct small-town feel and boasts commercial town centres, revitalized retail and dining experiences, and high-density housing. Consider that they’re surrounded by mountain ranges, lakes and rivers, and they make a fantastic home base for just about anyone. Here is what each city has to offer.
Adjacent to the Township of Langley, and just south of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, is Langley City. Home to approximately 27,000 people, it’s considered part of both Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley. Speaking of Vancouver, Langley City is only 47 kilometres away, making this a great spot for commuters. The city is accessible by the Langley bypass and also intersected by the Fraser Highway, which runs through the downtown core and is reduced to a one-way strip that’s a dining and shopping hotspot.
Even though there’s an abundance of nature in Langley—the city boasts nearly 20 parks and has hiking trails—it’s largely known for its bustling town centre. There’s the one-way strip as well as McBurney Plaza, a large pedestrian boulevard filled with twinkling lights, cafes and shops. The city hosts a number of festivals each year too, including the Langley Cruise-In, the Arts Alive Festival, and the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. Major city attractions include the Cascades Casino and Coast Hotel and Convention Centre, Mural Walk and Rose Gellert Concert Hall. It also features a botanical garden and a number of nearby wetlands and trails, including the Brydon Lagoon and Nicomekl Flood Plain.
While much of the surrounding land in Langley Township is agricultural, the main industries in the region include manufacturing (for aircraft and helicopters, mining equipment, and softwood lumber processing), education, administration and the film industry.
Langley City offers more affordable real estate without sacrificing urban amenities. Add to that its small-town charm, and you can see why the city’s attractive to homebuyers and business owners looking to put down roots.
The city of Pitt Meadows, also known as the gateway to the Fraser Valley, is a unique community with a fascinating history. Unlike the surrounding municipalities, Pitt Meadows is naturally isolated, sandwiched at the intersection of the Fraser and Pitt Rivers which separate it from the Tri-Cities to the west and Langley to the south. To the north are the Thompson Mountains and Pitt Lake, with the city of Maple Ridge, which it was a part of until 1892, to the east. It is connected to Surrey and Langley via the Golden Ears Bridge on the Lougheed Highway, and to Port Coquitlam by the Pitt River Bridge.
The land was originally a watershed but was drained and dyked by Dutch settlers in the early 19th century, creating its downtown core and an extensive network of waterways. These rivers, bogs, and lakes are ideal for canoeing, hiking and birdwatching. This network also protects the community from flooding, as it is surrounded by floodplains, lakes, and forests including Pitt Lake, the Pitt-Addington Marsh and the Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area. Much of its downtown is considered historic and classified as Heritage Preservation Areas, including the original general store.
As it’s mainly a residential community with a population of 18,573, 85% of Pitt Meadows residents commute to work elsewhere. Commuters either drive or take transit, like the West Coast Express passenger train to Vancouver or the Coast Mountain Bus Company (which is an arm of Translink), to other nearby municipalities. Within the city, the largest employers are the education, healthcare, accommodation, food and construction sectors. Agriculture is also an important industry.
The city of Maple Ridge is home to 82,256 people and is the fifth-oldest municipality in B.C., though it only officially achieved city status in 2014. Located in the northeast section of the Metro Vancouver region, it’s separated from Langley by the Fraser River to the south, with Pitt Meadows to the west, and Mission to the East. North, you’ll find the Golden Ears Mountains.
The city has a bustling downtown core—known as Haney—which features a municipal hall, library, malls, a farmer’s market, and cultural centres such as the Maple Ridge Art gallery and Arts Centre and Theatre. The city hosts a number of festivals annually, including CountryFest, Caribbean Festival and the Adstock Music Festival.
Mainly a commuter city, it’s serviced by the TransLink bus network and the West Coast Express Commuter Train. Maple Ridge economy was originally built on the forest and agriculture sectors—which remain the largest private-sector employers there today— and is known for its berry crops, greenhouse crops, and horse breeding, contributing $40 million annually to the economy. It is also home to Ridge Film Studios, as the area is a popular filming location for TV and film projects.
Prior to the pandemic, in March 2020, housing conditions across these three cities were relatively stable. Demand was particularly strong for detached houses as buyers priced out of the City of Vancouver looked out of the city for more affordable options. In fact, houses in these markets had been largely spared the stratospheric growth rates experienced by Vancouver real estate—prices had remained generally flat year over year, offering more affordability to buyers.
Of all three cities, Langley is the priciest place to buy a house, with the benchmark for a single-family home at $1,026,600 in March 2020—an increase of 4% from the previous year, following a 10% increase in sales, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. Similar homes could be found under the million-mark in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge at $897,900 and $835,000, respectively. Sales had been slow in these cities, dropping 1.7% across both of them (the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, which reports on these two cities, combines them in its reporting).
Townhouses remained an affordable option in each city, within the $500,000 to $600,000 range, with the segment experiencing a 50% jump in sales year over year. While condos apartments remained quite affordable overall—priced between $350,000 to the mid-$500,000s in all three cities— sales had been flat.
As seen in other markets across Canada, once the pandemic began in April of 2020, the number of sales plunged. Detached house and townhouse sales dropped between 40 to 60% and condo sales in the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge markets dropped 17% for apartments in the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge markets. Prices, however, didn’t budge.
By June, the market had returned to historical norms, with sales for detached and townhomes more than doubling, and the apartment market seeing healthy gains of 46%, though this uptick in activity had yet to impact pricing.
By March 2021, the market had experienced a year of steady gains, which was now reflected in home prices, decreasing the once-coveted affordability of these cities. Detached benchmark house prices in Langley now cost roughly $200,000 more at $1,279,600 (an increase of 25%), with townhouses at $635,500 (13%) and apartments at $434,100 (2%). In Pitt Meadows, prices rose to $897, 100 for detached houses (27%), $676,700 for townhouses (11%), and $548,600 for apartments (10%). Prices have cracked the million-mark for houses in Maple Ridge at $1,043,900 (25%), $634,400 for a townhouse (19%), and $403,900 for an apartment (12%). Sales are up between 160 and 200% for detached homes across both cities, up 147% in Langley, though up 47% in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, and condo sales rose 184% in Langley and 248% in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
While affordability has been moderately eroded in these markets, they still remain affordably priced compared to the City of Vancouver, and will continue to be buyer destinations moving forward, especially as new developments create more housing supply to meet rising demand.
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Located on the shores of the Fraser River, the neighbourhood of Albion is known for its old rural charm. One of several small towns incorporated under the Maple Ridge banner, Albion is the oldest non-Indigenous community in the district, second only to neighbouring Fort Langley.
Albion has a reputation as a laid-back, family-friendly neighbourhood, as half of the local households have children. It’s filled with various green spaces and is a stone’s throw from Golden Ears Provincial Park and Kanaka Creek Regional Park to the north. A highlight of the neighbourhood is the Albion Fairgrounds, which hosts the Maple Ridge Country Festival each July.
While off the beaten path, Albion is well connected to neighbouring Pitt Meadows and the Metro Vancouver municipalities to the west, as well as the B.C. Interior to the east, via Highway 7. There are a few local dining joints, though most retail and entertainment are clustered within a 10-minute drive on 240 St. in the neighbourhood’s north end, including the Maple Ridge Shopping Centre, or on Dewdney Trunk Road. It’s also a six-minute drive to the neighbourhood of Haney, Maple Ridge’s downtown core. Local schools include Albion Elementary, and Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary, which draws out-of-boundary students for its technical programs. Residents are vehicle-reliant, however, as Albion lies outside of the range serviced by the nearby bus network.
While originally a remote rural area, there has been an extensive new development in recent years in Albion, providing buyers with a number of home options priced in the lower mid-range compared to markets throughout the rest of Metro Vancouver. It is very popular with young families and commuters as it’s still possible to purchase a detached home under the million-dollar mark, contributing to its position as the top-ranked neighbourhood in the region. According to Zoocasa’s analysis, the average price of an Albion home was $867,125 in 2020. This more affordable price point has driven demand and values over the medium term; home prices have grown 70% from 2015.
Just two kilometres from downtown Maple Ridge is the picturesque neighbourhood of Cottonwood. Originally a stand-alone town, this community is full of historic charm, featuring a blend of lovely older homes and modern new builds, drawing a variety of home buyers from across the Metro Vancouver region. It’s easily accessible, right off the Lougheed Highway and Highway 7, and is bordered to the north by Dewdney Trunk Road.
This neighbourhood has a ton of great amenities, many within walking distance, as well as shopping, dining, and entertainment a 10-minute drive away in nearby Haney. Local shopping spots include Lougheed Plaza, Valley Fair Mall, Selkirk Town Centre, and Maple Ridge Shopping Centre. Telosky Stadium and Thomas Haney Park are located within Cottonwood, offering locals space for sports and outdoor activities. Rieboldt Park and Alexander Robinson Park are also just a short distance away from the community. Cottonwood is perfect for those who love the outdoors as the beautiful Trans Canada Trail runs right through the neighbourhood. As well, the picturesque Kanaka Creek runs along its southern edge.
Homebuyers will find a variety of properties in Cottonwood, ranging from heritage homes on sprawling lots to newly-built townhouses. However, single-family detached houses are the most common, making the area very popular with young families.
What sets Cottonwood real estate apart is its comparatively lower price point from nearby Metro Vancouver. In 2020, the average price for a home was $733,875, reflecting 4.7% from 2019. Following the extensive supply of new homes built in recent years, overall price growth has been considerable, up 67.2% from 2015.
Situated just northwest of the neighbourhood of Albion is Webster’s Corners, a beautiful, rural neighbourhood filled with farms, century homes, and new developments, all on generous lots. The area is mostly residential but is a short drive from all the amenities at Maple Ridge Town Centre, and the downtown core of Haney. It also boasts beautiful Kanaka Creek Regional Park with its Cliff Falls, as well as Webster’s Corners Park.
The neighbourhood is located near the border of Maple Ridge and Mission, just off Dewdney Trunk Road, which connects it with Highway 7 and the rest of the Metro Vancouver municipalities to the west. At just over an hour’s drive from Vancouver, it could be a feasible option for someone who doesn’t mind making the commute, or with the flexibility to work from home.
The community is surrounded by nature, and it is well-known for its extensive network of mountain bike trails, complete with a series of twisting ramps, ladders, and jumps for intermediate and advanced riders. Mostly, though, Webster’s Corners is desired for its calm ambiance and is an ideal locale for those seeking a quiet lifestyle with close access to green space.
There are two local schools in Webster’s Corners, which are a part of the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows School District 42: Blue Mountain Elementary and Garibaldi Secondary. Many of the local properties are three- and four-bedroom homes, which make the area ideal for families. As well, it has become popular with luxury developers, who take advantage of the supply of spacious, private lots.
Because development is possible at a lower cost than in the neighbouring municipalities like Richmond, Coquitlam, Surrey, and Burnaby, home buyers in Webster’s Corners can find large, 3,000-square foot homes at comparably affordable prices. The community also has a large stock of older, historic residences with ample square footage, all with incredible views of the Golden Ears Mountains. It’s no surprise this relatively rural enclave continues to be a draw for buyers; the average home price was $896,217 in 2020, reflecting growth of 6.5% from the previous year, 9.9% over three years, and 70% over five years.
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