Finding raw land on Burke Mountain is a developer's dream.
But one property stands out — maybe because it looks so lonely on its bare acreage in the midst of a subdivision.
The one-acre property with a newer five-bedroom Craftsman-style home with a legal suite is also notable for its hefty sale price.
According to the listing at Zealty.ca, the property at 1277 Creekstone Terrace has six building lots and is listed for $8.95 million.
That's up 12.6 per cent from the original listing price on April, 8, according to the real estate website, and higher than the $5.12 million assessed value in July, 2021, according to the BC Assessment Authority.
But a Vancouver realtor and commentator who has been watching the market carefully over the last few months says building lots can't be compared to built homes.
Real estate market is 'cooling'
Steve Saretsky of Oakwyn Realty Ltd. says builders have to weigh risk with reward, and must consider construction costs in the analysis, including recent labour and supply chain challenges.
"Mortgage rates are going up to four, four and a half percent. Buyer demand is pretty obviously slowing down. [Developers are thinking] 'What can I resell this thing for? What's the risk reward?' I think the risk right now is increasing. So the reward has to be a little bit more lucrative, in my opinion. So that's kind of how developers should be looking at it."
In addition, while the strategy of listing a property at a low price in the hopes of spurring multiple offers and a hefty price gain has worked for the past several months, it may not be as practical today as buyers aren't putting in those crazy offers to win the bid.
"In the the last month, that’s definitely changed because it is risky," said Krista Lapp, of Keller Williams Elite Realty.
"That’s why you see higher listings because the seller didn’t get what they expected."
Sellers may now be more likely to list a property at the price they actually want to get, said Lapp, who lives in Burke Mountain and sells real estate in Coquitlam.
As for the property on Creekstone and whether it's priced appropriately or not, Lapp would only note that those who purchased homes in the area have seen significant appreciation and there's a lot of potential in the growing community, which will eventually be home to 50,000 people.
There's no question that Burke Mountain buyers have seen some spectacular gains in home value over the years.
A 2,200 sq. ft. four-bedroom townhome near Victoria Park that was purchased for $515,000 in 2011 sold April 27, 2022 for $1.344 million, according to information shared with the Tri-City News by another realtor.
However, the sale price was less than the original $1.369 million listing price.
Saretsky believes Burke Mountain was one of the neighbourhoods that benefited from low interest rates and the pandemic trend to moving to the suburbs and finding a place to call one's own.
However, Saretsky believes that with higher interest rates and inflation, buyers will be more cautious and won't necessarily pay the higher prices that were common in the last couple of months to a year.
Eighteen months ago, he helped a client purchase a Burke Mountain townhome pre-sale for $850,000; the same home in the second phase sold for close to $1.3 million, said Saretsky.
House prices not sustainable
He believes the market is cooling. He told the Tri-City News' sister publication BIV that house prices are dropping, even in Coquitlam, and some people are considering walking away from their deposits and cancelling purchase commitments.
"It's not really sustainable. So eventually, the market kind of exhausts itself. But I do think the mortgage rates are having a significant impact as well. So I think it's a whole confluence of factors."
He said buyers should take the time to evaluate the market, predicting that prices might come down.
"I think just being patient, I don't think it makes sense to be chasing properties in this market where I think conditions are turning and will probably start to favour the buyer over the next say, three to six months," said Saretsky.
As for Lapp, she recommends that the market has not dipped all that much.
"For buyers, depending on what their motivation is, if it’s a primary residence they want to get into and they want to find a home they love that fits their budget, make that move. I think that for sellers there is a great opportunity to sell their home at a higher price because the appreciation is substantial."
New village, schools on the way
Burke Mountain is a desirable community in Coquitlam's northeast that has been subject to years of planning and, after some fretting over the slowness of school construction, has one new elementary school, another to open in the fall and is in line to get a new 80,000 sq. ft. community centre and a retail hub at Burke Mountain Village.
A new high school has also been proposed for the area, and is waiting for provincial funding after School District 43 agreed to put up $25 million toward the project.
In addition to private land holdings, the City of Coquitlam is a major land holder in the area. In fact, it is the primary landowner of the Village lands, which is expected to have more than 2,000 residential units (apartments and townhomes) and include 120,000 sq. ft. of retail.