If you’re considering buying a new home in Maple Grove, you’d better hurry. Buyers have been snapping up homes in existing developments, according to city planner Peter Vickerman.

That’s good news for existing residents, especially those who bought their homes in the late 1990s, according to Rob Monson, an agent with ReMax Results in nearby Plymouth. Compared with some of their neighbors who bought in the mid-2000s, these folks are more likely to have considerable equity in their homes and can price them competitively.

Homes priced below the Federal Housing Authority lending limit of $326,600 for Hennepin County have often sold within weeks of being listed, according to Carrie Schmitz, a Maple Grove resident and agent with Keller Williams Classic Realty in that city.

The shrinking availability of new construction is driving existing home prices up, Schmitz added.

“I’m not seeing my sellers underwater anymore,” she said. “They’re not pricing their houses out of need. They’re pricing out of reality.”

Buyers have found they can purchase an existing home for about $150,000 less than a new home with the same square footage, Monson said. These existing homes may be 15 to 20 years old and need cosmetic updates, such as paint, carpeting, appliances, countertops and lighting, he added.

About 60 percent of those buying in Maple Grove already live there, according to Monson. They include families who want to move their children from the Osseo public schools to the highly regarded Wayzata School District, he said.

Maple Grove has “a plethora of townhouses” that are affordable to first-time buyers, Monson said.

“The rental market is really hot and very expensive, so with low interest rates, when you’re matching up [costs] and getting into a home for less than rent, that’s appealing for people.”

The city also attracts many families relocating to work at nearby General Mills or Medtronic. The Cedarcrest and Maple Brook developments have been particularly popular with this demographic, Monson said.

Home buyers find Maple Grove attractive for several other reasons, these agents said. The city has extensive shopping, with a combination of national chains and locally owned stores, as well as plenty of restaurants.

Maple Grove also is home to Elm Creek Park Reserve, part of the Three Rivers Park District; it has three major recreational lakes plus a handful of smaller ones, and it has its own arboretum.

“The positive around Maple Grove is that we kind of can live in our own bubble,” Schmitz said. “We don’t have to go anywhere to do anything. We can just live here and be totally entertained.

“We’re still a quick drive to downtown [Minneapolis] and a quick exit out of the city to go north for the weekend.”