Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island real estate in depth monthly analysis by Sea to Sky Properties’ broker, Li Read

April 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

This year, April is just month two of our market activity. The weather issues on the Coast, between December 20th and March 1st, caused a pause in both tourism and in real estate activity.

The listing inventory remains very thin. Although Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna are noting an increase in listings and a downturn in sales, this may be an outcome of the various provincial taxation measures to “cool” those particular markets…and further civic taxation measures to suppress the market in Vancouver. This may not apply to the secondary home markets. Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are exempt from the speculation (vacancy) tax, for example.

January and February activity options were erased by this unusual winter weather pattern, which left March to signal renewed physicality on Salt Spring and subsequent action. April will continue this rhythm. If a buyer wants to enjoy a new home by summer, then the buyer needs to be acting now.

Why Not Here?

It is becoming oddly busy, and the people viewing appear to be interviewing areas…this is a continuation of Fall 2018. Why you? Why not there?

The buyers viewing right now will live here…they are not the recreational/seasonal buyers of past years…and they “want to be sure” about their destination choice. Time lags are involved between first visit to view and final decision to buy…the buyer is thinking things over, and that does take time.

To buy on Salt Spring is a choice.

Salt Spring continues to have competition from Vancouver Island communities, such as: South Cowichan, outlying neighbourhoods of Victoria (Saanich, Metchosin, Sooke), Parksville/Qualicum, Courtney/Comox. The entire Coast is beautiful. In a way, a realtor has to sell a particular Gulf Island itself first and specific property decisions then come second. To buy on Salt Spring is a choice.

Salt Spring enjoys a year-round lifestyle (there is a life in January as well as in July) and there is a good hospital on Salt Spring, plus three different ferries servicing the Island, plus regular sked year round floatplane services. Everything is available on Salt Spring and it’s also easy to commute to nearby communities (Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo) if desired. Day trips to Vancouver are also “easy-peasy”.

Salt Spring is an authentic artists community

Salt Spring is an authentic artists community, which brings a strong cultural enjoyment. The Islands Trust form of governance for the Gulf Islands has protected them all from uncontrolled growth. The preservation of the natural environment is paramount. Hiking/walking trails abound. A vibrant agricultural segment, with farmers markets, is also a feature. Great restaurants to entice. A strong sense of community is very visible. There is huge tolerance, but also a caring basis…islanders do help other islanders in moments of need. Everything required for a 21st Century life is available on Salt Spring, yet it is also wonderfully “apart”. Salt Spring is a superb year-round lifestyle choice.

At the beginning of April, then, the listing inventory remains very “thin”. If this continues throughout April and May, and buyer interest in the secondary home regions continues steady, then price stability will remain…and we may even see price increases by summer.

The number of residential (dwellings) properties currently for sale (without separating out townhomes or waterfront or farms or view properties), at the beginning of April:


  • 101 listings (ranging from 299,900 to 3,900,000).
  • undeveloped residentially zoned lots/acreages: 62 listings (ranging from 148,000 to 2,495,000).
  • The number of sales at: 23 (ranging from 135,000 to 1,700,000).

    This is an extremely thin listing inventory, and there have been serious sales in the early Spring market.

  • Hmmmm…price increases to follow? Important to keep an eye on market dynamics. Secondary home/discretionary markets do not follow the same outcomes as seen in primary residence/city regions.

    Thinking of selling? Desiring to buy? How may I help you with your real estate decisions on Salt Spring Island? Look forward to your call (liread33@gmail.com).

    April welcomes the Saturday Market in the Park, the Easter Art presentations, the Spring openings in the Ganges galleries, the studio tour around the Island is underway, and Earth Day celebrations/clean-up plans are ready to enjoy. Special seasonal menus featured in our great restaurants, live music venues have moved to patio enjoyments, and al fresco dining is welcoming us all.

    Everywhere we look there is splendour in the wings…Nature is unfurling before us.

    March 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

    Salt Spring Island
    Salt Spring Island

    March 2019, Salt Spring Island Market

    The entire Pacific Northwest Coast region experienced a once-every-twenty-years winter season weather pattern, which erased the 2019 projected early market.

    A hurricane force wind on December 20th, with resulting power outages and severe forest damage, was replaced by an Arctic Front and snowstorm sequences (no melt between storms, due to cold)…the result of all of this was to cause a cancellation of potential viewers/buyers. Christmas/New Year week and February’s Family Day Holiday Weekend were both affected by weather-induced pauses. The good news: everyone did rebook and March appears to have “busyness” at its heart.

    Listings remain very low, in both residential and in undeveloped land options. With renewed buyer interest, coupled with this lack of owner desire to sell, we may see price escalation begin. It may take until late April/early May to see the true tone of this year, since weather issues have created a slow start to the market.

    Vancouver Real Estate Market 2019

    The Vancouver market is also beginning to reactivate, including in the higher end property segment. Vancouver sellers have been the main buyers on Vancouver Island and on the Gulf Islands, since mid-March, 2016. Hesitations from then to now can be attributed to various provincial government tax measures, specifically created to suppress the Vancouver market, plus El Nino/La Nina weather vagaries.

    March to Spring

    March sees the beginning of Spring, showcases the allure factors of Salt Spring, and invites market activity…to enjoy a property between late Spring and early Fall (the best weather months in our area), one pretty well has to buy in March/April.

    Low Canadian Dollar against the U.S. dollar, low interest rates, lack of inventory that may drive future price increases (would see this, if turns out to be the case, by summer), and a renewed global seeking of a safe haven destination, are all reasons for increased action. The hesitations of 2018 (mostly a reaction to the many provincial government tax burdens in Vancouver) seem to be over.

    How can you make this current market work for you?

    How can you make this current market work for you? Whether a seller or a buyer, and no matter the market trend, there are always elements that can work to your benefit.

    At the very beginning of March:

    • 87 residential listings (not separating out waterfronts, townhomes, farms)
    • 60 undeveloped land listings (lots/acreages)
    • 14 commercial/business listings

    10 sales to date, all residential, from 440,000 to 1,700,000.

    It is more usual to see a total of 380 to 420 listings on Salt Spring…this lack of current inventory (147 residentially zoned options, including dwellings and undeveloped land), if continues, could lead to price escalation by the summer season.

    March is an interesting month. It eases from winter into spring, daylight saving returns, and everywhere the resurgence of growth ignites our natural coastal beauty.

    The Best Time to Visit Salt Spring Island

    An annual Home and Garden show sponsored by the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce takes place in mid-March and the beginning of the Saturday Market in the Park “season” is in place by month’s end. Live music continues at Moby’s, at Woodley’s, at the Legion. ArtSpring showcases special events. And the days are enticingly longer…time to rediscover Salt Spring’s hiking/walking trails, beachcombing pleasures, gallery spring openings…time to consider a garden.

    April through October

    Although Salt Spring is seasonless, in the sense that there is always something to discover and to enjoy, it is true that April to October are the famously most delightful months on the great Pacific Northwest Coast. March is the shaking off of winter and the preparation for “real Spring”. Time for all of us to mirror the month and to shake it up a little.

    Thinking of real estate this March? Call me. Benefit from my knowledge of inventory and market trends. Your best interests are my motivation.

    February 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

    February 2019, Salt Spring Island Market

    The first stirrings of early Spring bring a renewed interest in real estate sales in secondary home markets…and Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are such discretionary regions.

    I often think that real estate activity in the Gulf Islands falls into “thirds”…and that November, December, January, February constitute one of these “thirds”.

    It does seem to take until March for the tone of a year to make itself felt, in secondary home markets.

    I do these regular market reports at the very beginning of a month, and try to update any changes as the month progresses, via my blogs.

    Sales Data

    At the close of January, there were seven sales for 2019. Two between 400,000 and 500,000. One between 500 and 600,000. One between 600 and 700,000. Two between 700 and 800,000. One between 800 and 900,000. All of these were residential dwellings, selling between 475,000 and 839,000.

    Inventory remains thin. There are a total of 150 residentially zoned listings at this moment. That breaks down to 89 residential dwellings (not separating out townhomes or waterfront options or farm parcels) and 61 lots/acreages (again, not separating out waterfront, view, or farm options).

    Of the current residential dwellings listed:

    • One is between 200 and 300,000
    • Three are between 300 and 400,000
    • Another three are between 400 and 500,000
    • There are seven listings between 500 and 600,000
    • There is one listing between 600 and 700,000
    • There are currently 10 listings between 700 and 800,000
    • There are 12 listings between 800 and 900,000
    • There are five listings between 900 and one million
    • There are 31 listings between one and two million
    • There are currently 13 listings between two and three million
    • There are two listings between 3 and 4 million and one property listing between 4 and 5 million

    Of the current inventory of lots/acreages listed right now, there are:

    • Six properties on the market between 100,000 and 200,000
    • 17 options listed between 200 and 300,000
    • Six listings between 300 and 400,000
    • Seven listings between 400 and 500,000
    • 15 listings between 500 and 600,000
    • One listing right now between 600 and 700,000
    • One listing between 700 and 900,000
    • Three listings between 900 and one million
    • Four listings between one and two million
    • One listing between two and three million

    Thin inventory is usually an indicator of potential price rises…that supply and demand equation. Secondary home/by choice markets do not always follow standard operating procedures. The important first step for a buyer is always that “where will I choose to purchase” question. Sellers need to remember that buyers are looking in Vancouver Island communities as well as on a Gulf Island. A wider field of competition perhaps, than in the past market cycles?

    An increase in real estate inquiries is being seen earlier than expected…and, in some cases, a following early physicality to view. Most inquiries and viewings are still from Vancouver/Lower Mainland potential buyers.

    Sign of the Times

    On February 5th the Asian Lunar New Year says goodbye to the Year of the Dog and begins the Year of the Pig. Will this animal totem represent a time of calmer international events? Hmmm…. No place is exempt from outcomes in other places…that butterfly effect is alive and well…no matter how far apart pocket places such as the Gulf Islands may appear. It’s important to keep in the loop of international events.

    There is an annual Family Holiday Weekend in February in B.C. Salt Spring offers many individual unique events (check the Chamber website calendar), and our great restaurants feature special Valentine menus. There is always a reason to enjoy a visit to Salt Spring Island. The Gulf Islands are really places for seasonless adventures.

    February is the bridge between Winter and Spring, in our softer climate region. It’s an ideal time to look at property…the bushes and shrubs that obscure property boundary pegs are still bare. In the summer season everything looks beautiful. At this time of year, it’s easier to pay attention to exposure, to weather elements, to privacy and to arable potential. It’s always a good idea to “look”.

    Change is the norm in our society right now. What about Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What will be the impact of 5G? If security is necessary on the Internet, how does block chain technology protect individual information…and is this personal information under the control of the person whose data it is? Augmented and Virtual Realities? Hmmm…an exciting time to be in the world, with still to be discovered opportunities.

    The Islands Trust

    The Islands Trust, created by the provincial government in 1974, to preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, perhaps has ended up by creating a withdrawing space to enjoy that real (natural) world…and to be apart from our “always on” digital universe. This was not the intent back in 1974, pre-Internet, but it may be the outcome in 2019. Salt Spring as a protected withdrawing/preserved renewal space? Yes.

    The Trust maintains a limited inventory of properties, via its strict zoning/density controls that prohibit growth. This will ensure, beyond market cycles, that the Gulf Islands may ultimately end as places that one will have to be able to afford. Low inventory coupled with buyer desire may end in price escalation. Hmmm…. Who will service the lifestyles of those who live here? The key issue in many communities (including on Salt Spring) remains the lack of affordable housing/work rental. Will the Trust revisit their bylaws that make it difficult to offer rental accommodations, both annual and vacation? Will the water moratorium put in place by the volunteer board of the North Salt Spring Water District (NSSWD) be resolved by the CRD (Capital Regional District)?

    Market Action Indicators

    February is often a month that sees investment conferences, real estate presentations, and other business-oriented opportunities that seek answers to the age-old question: what’s the market doing? It’s a good idea to attend and to listen. All ideas are as valid as any others…there is still no clear blueprint, or definitive plan, going forward.

    Government interventions to stop market growth in large cities do have an effect on secondary home markets. Do such interference measures last? It will be interesting to see if the faltering 2018 Vancouver market recovers, in spite of government measures to suppress it. Vancouver sellers, since mid 2016, have been the main buyers on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands, and also on Vancouver Island.

    So…here we are…easing towards the start of our main real estate sales window on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands (mid-March to mid-October are the busier months for both tourism discovery and subsequent real estate viewings).

    February, the last hiatus month, carries with it the first whispers of a market trend. Will more listings come onstream? If not…then what?

    Stay tuned…be observant.

    In change lies opportunity. How may I help you with your real estate outcomes? Call me. Benefit from my knowledge and expertise. I look forward to meeting you.

    Market Analysis, January 2019, Salt Spring Island

    View of Mount Baker from Salt Spring Island

    January is an interesting month. It’s mid-winter, a quieter time, with many people taking holidays in sunny places…and there is a sense of pause after December’s busy holiday celebrations.

    The beginning of a year is also a time to dream our plans into action.

    In real estate, potential buyers are active on the Internet, searching out information on areas that might be of interest to them. Potential sellers are wondering about market indicators…mulling over timing…seeing if it’s a good time to list.

    There are always sellers and buyers

    Real estate on the Gulf Islands is not time sensitive. Although tourism is busiest in late Spring to late Summer, real estate activity takes place throughout the year…the Gulf Islands / Salt Spring Island are really “seasonless”.

    January is a good time to catch up on the societal changes underway. Read information on block chain technology. Get behind the sound bites/prepared headlines. Think about what it really means in Life After Google. Attend investment conferences. Listen a lot…no one really has definitive answers. Your ideas are equally worthy.

    These profound societal shifts will also change real estate, as an industry. No aspect of our culture will be untouched. Important to remember: in change lies opportunity.

    One thing we know, locally, as we start into January: the listing inventory remains very thin on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. Owners are still preferring not to be sellers.

    The Islands Trust

    The Islands Trust maintains those 1974 “controlled growth” zoning/bylaws. This means there will always be low inventory, in spite of market movements over time.

    Buyers right now are hoping to connect with a Gulf Island property. Market signals like lack of inventory coupled with buyer desire do result in price increases, over time.

    In spite of immediate repercussions from the provincial government’s 2018 measures to suppress real estate markets in Vancouver (and also in Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna), it is not possible to artificially control a market long-term. Markets have their own rhythms. The spring/summer 2018 pause in action, as a result of government interventions, may be erasing.

    Vancouver is now a world-class city, and may never be affordable. The buyer market is global. When owners sell in Vancouver, they will buy in nearby areas…Salt Spring, with its year-round lifestyle and services/amenities at hand, is often top of mind for that buyer from elsewhere. Supply of product becomes of interest.

    There is no “local buyer” on the Gulf Islands

    There is no “local buyer” on the Gulf Islands…whether a recreational buyer or someone seeking a year-round lifestyle, the Gulf Islands destinations attract…and it’s rare that people move around once they locate here.

    I often think that real estate sales in the Gulf Islands fall into thirds. November, December, January, February are perhaps similar enough to be noted as a market “one third”. The first two months of a New Year do seem to mirror the patterns of the last two months of the previous year.

    It’s common to have some sales reported in the early days of January…the business would have been done in the latter part of 2018, but completing in early 2019 (perhaps for tax reasons).

    It really takes until March Break to see the emergence of a market trend, in our kind of secondary home/discretionary marketplace.

    Steady activity and consistent sales best describe the closing months of 2018. Most sales were residential offerings, below 800,000. This pattern may continue into the first two months of 2019. There does seem to have been a slow beginning in interest in the upper tier priced residential market segment, in 2018…this trend may continue more strongly in 2019. An interest in undeveloped land parcels/and a construction project may also be a feature of 2019…based on lack of residential supply.

    No one has a crystal ball. In our global village world, no area is immune from events in distant places. The allure of “pocket places” remains, however (and Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands, protected by the Islands Trust 1974 mandate, and close to major centres, are such pocket places).

    2019 may see continuing low inventory and also a beginning of higher prices (that old law of supply and demand).

    January gets its name from Janus, the ancient Roman deity with two faces…one looking back and one looking ahead. Pay attention to the past…but definitely be looking ahead. That’s where discovery lives.

    Discover Yourself Here!

    That’s the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce invitation: “Discover Yourself Here!”, and it’s a promise to those who respond.

    Are you seeking a Salt Spring Island or Gulf Island property? Benefit from my knowledge and expertise. How may I help you to buy your special place? Call me!

    Market Analysis, December 2018, Salt Spring Island

    December 2018, Salt Spring

    Here we are, starting into the last month of this haphazard 2018 market year.

    The weeks between January 1 and February 20 did promise continuing brisk real estate sales…inventory was diminishing in residential offerings and prices had solidified…undeveloped lots/acreages were catching interest…higher end properties were being shown…and a seller’s market was in play.

    Provincial Government Policies

    The coalition provincial government brought in a budget (February 20) that specifically targeted Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna…seeking to suppress the buoyant real estate markets in these areas. Several measures were introduced…the speculation (vacancy) tax being a key one.

    Between February 20 and March 27, the Southern Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island were included in the vacancy tax. The government used regional district boundaries to delineate where this tax would be applied. The government agreed that the Islands Trust (formed in 1974) had created a recreational ownership-resort based region and so all Gulf Islands were finally excluded.

    Since the slow recovery on Salt Spring (began in mid-March 2016), inventory in place, due to the economic meltdowns of late 2008, had slowly cleared out. Fall 2017 & up to late February 2018 saw consistent sales and in all price ranges. Then the February 20 budget…..

    Were the policies effective?

    The point of the taxation measures applied to Vancouver was to suppress the real estate market…the theory being that prices would drop and affordability would rise. It might have been a better idea to open up opportunities for construction of affordable rental and purchase units. Sales did shut down in Vancouver, but affordability may not have been addressed.

    Salt Spring, like other secondary home markets, is dependent on buyers from elsewhere. The recovery on Salt Spring, after the almost nine-year economic meltdown, was driven by Vancouver people who had sold in Vancouver…and were looking to relocate. The suppression in the Vancouver marketplace, after February 20, caused a corresponding pause in action on Salt Spring, for most of 2018.

    Inventory still remains low. During spring/summer there were viewings. Fall saw more sales…not just showings. Sales were mainly below 800,000, and residential, not lots/acreages.

    Visiting Salt Spring Island is the Key

    Some projections are calling for a bounce back in the Vancouver marketplace by early spring, 2019. This is an unknown. What is known is that Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are dependent on a buyer from elsewhere.

    Before the economic downturn, the main buyers were from Alberta and the U.S. The 2016 beginnings of a recovery on the Islands came out of Vancouver. There may be an upcoming reappearance of Ontario buyers, looking for retirement destinations.

    To Preserve & Protect

    Although Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands are beneficiaries of the Islands Trust’s mandate of “to preserve and protect”, which controlled growth through strict zoning/density bylaws, the Islands are not unaffected by changes and stresses globally. The Islands are affected also by the current provincial government’s various measures to suppress real estate markets elsewhere in B.C. Pauses in market cycles, no matter the cause, are always a feature…it’s never a straight line up or down.

    Lack of inventory, however, seems to imply a buoyancy beneath these many government restrictive measures. Those measures, designed to suppress a real estate market, may be being digested. In the end, consumers set the pace. The guru projection advisors may be right about a resurgence in the Vancouver market, by early 2019. Hmmm….

    So…at beginning of December, there were approximately 296 sales on Salt Spring, which can be broken down as follows:

    Some Sales Data

    • 11 sales between 138,000 & 195,000
    • 14 sales between 207,000 & 290,000
    • 11 sales between 320,000 & 398,000
    • 22 sales between 405,000 & 492,500
    • 28 sales between 500,000 & 595,000
    • 24 sales between 600,000 & 686,000
    • 25 sales between 705,000 & 795,000
    • 18 sales between 800,000 & 898,000
    • 13 sales between 900,000 & 999,000
    • 25 sales between 1,005,000 & 1,950,000
    • 4 sales between 2,025,000 & 2,850,000

    The above numbers relate to the sale figures…they do not show the tracking down of pricings, on the way to that sale figure. For example, a property selling at 730,000 was listed at 774,000. One listed at 2.8 sold for 2.383. Price reductions at the point of an offer can be quite common on listings over 800,000.

    Over half the current listings (approximately 106 residential listings, between 309,900 & 4.8, and approximately 57 lots/acreages between 159,000 & 2.495) are priced over a million, if in the residential category. (In a “normal market”, listings might run between 380,000 & 425,000, in total). Listings are not plentiful right now…particularly if below 800,000.

    If the water moratorium (put in place by 3 volunteers on the North Salt Spring Water District board) could be resolved, then 255 units (approved and funded), re affordable housing/work rental, could be built.

    Those business enterprises that cannot find housing for proposed staff are also recognizing that vacation rentals are required. The visitors staying at airb&b are the buyers of their local products. Both types of rentals are needed in a secondary home/discretionary area, reliant on a tourist based economy.

    Last Fall, the current provincial government canceled the fixed tenancy option on a lease, under B.C.’s Tenancy Act. In areas such as Salt Spring, this might be a reason for the reluctance to engage in a regular rental process.

    The provincial government is in charge of Improvement Districts (water is under this jurisdiction). The government has transferred Improvement Districts to municipalities. Salt Spring is not a municipality. The CRD (Capital Regional District) would have to assume the Salt Spring water districts…or the unfortunate moratorium will not be resolved. There is no water shortage on Salt Spring. The issue is one of capture & distribution. The 255 ready to build affordable housing/work rental units await the outcome.

    The changes to the Real Estate Services Act of B.C., enacted on June 15, 2018, are in place. Questions? Call me.

    Celebrate!!!

    December is a traditional time of celebrations. On Salt Spring there are many craft fairs (Beaver Point and Fulford Hall craft fairs, WinterCraft at Mahon Hall, pop-up events), plus ArtSpring presents seasonal music and theatre to enjoy. Volunteers create the Shop Local events clustered under the Christmas on Salt Spring label. Santa arrives twice: once by floatplane and later via a Carol Ship. The Village sparkles with Light Up. Lots to see and to enjoy.

    Be re-inspired by your personal traditions…take time to remember others…take advantage of the fallow field moment of calm. That’s where the creativity lives.

    Market Analysis, November 2018, Salt Spring Island

    November 2018, Salt Spring

    The Fall Real Estate Sales Season

    November 2018, Market Analysis

    The Fall real estate sales season separates into two parts: late summer/early Fall (end of August to mid-October) and late Fall (mid-October to early December).

    Salt Spring is really a “seasonless” market…buyers turn up throughout the year, and sales from later in a calendar year can take place right into very early January of the following year.

    Although tourism is most evident in late Spring/Summer months, and a successful visitor experience usually leads to a real estate purchase in our discretionary marketplace, the two don’t always occur at the same time.

    It often takes two visits, if not three, for an interested potential buyer to decide to make an offer. There can be substantial time lags between visits…it can take one to two years to have a successful sales transaction, even in a buoyant real estate trend.

    Where Do the Buyers Come From?

    Buyers are not local. They look in other areas, too. It’s perhaps about “being sure” about the “where”.

    Whether they live a ferry trip away or are a substantial flight distant, the buyer usually leaves some time between visits (a few weeks to several months). Their own lives come first and it just takes the time it takes to have a result in any secondary home/discretionary marketplace.

    That said, we enter November 2018 with a continuing “thin” inventory of available listings.

    Prices stabilized in Fall, 2017.

    The provincial government’s February 20, 2018 budget included taxation measures to cool the Vancouver market.

    These measures were also expanded to include Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna.

    Since mid-2016, Salt Spring has been chiefly dependent on Vancouver buyers. As a recipient marketplace, Salt Spring is affected by events in the areas where the buyers come from.

    Anecdotally, it seems that people take around five months to get over anger at something and then to just get on with things. The lack of solid action between February 20 and September 15 has now been replaced with some increased activity. Hmmm….

    The last two months of a year and the first two of the following year can be seen as a cohesive timeline.

    A Market Trend for properties below 900,000

    The market trend right now is showing most action in properties below 900,000. Over half the current listings are over one million. Will we see substantial price reductions at the point of an offer, in order for a transaction to proceed to completion? Will prices begin to suppress, to reflect those marked reductions now evident in Vancouver? Are we starting back into buyer’s market territory? Hmmm….

    November 2018, Salt Spring Real Estate Market

    Although there is a lovely sense of apartness to the Salt Spring lifestyle, no location is exempt from global issues. Currency concerns, tariff wars, prohibitive tax measures, etc…outcomes in countries around the world also end by impacting SSI. There’s that butterfly concept again.

    Uncertainty is not good for any market. We began 2018 with a strong seller’s market underway. We are ending 2018 with the impacts of the coalition provincial government measures to suppress that Vancouver “hot market”. These measures, short term, have been successful.

    At the same time, there does seem to be renewed interest out of Ontario (other provinces like to retire to coastal communities). Toronto does not have the tax suppression measures seen in Vancouver. That may augur well, going forward into 2019.

    Albertans & US Buyers?

    We are still not seeing Albertans or U.S. buyers. Before the economic meltdowns of late 2008, these two buyer profiles were 50% of our buyers. They were also seasonal. The Vancouver buyers want to live on Salt Spring. This may be why they take longer to choose the “where”. Salt Spring has competition from nearby Vancouver Island communities…why choose here? Why not there? Hmmm….

    Late Fall-into-Winter season, a softer time for tourism, is also an opportunity. The fallow field moment allows for some creative thinking, to keep that Salt Spring allure in play. The outcomes of the “real” 21st Century are around us all…Salt Spring is not exempt from the profound technological changes that are now the surround sound of our lives. Yes…block chain technology is our present.

    Initially, the Islands Trust, created by the provincial government in 1974, had the purpose of preserving the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents…the Trust capped growth and effectively created a park-like ambiance. Now, in our always-on, always-connected world, perhaps the real value of visiting and of living on Salt Spring Island is the ability to enjoy an experiential lifestyle…and not a mere searchable environment.

    The Gift of Reality

    The gift of reality…real reality, not virtual, not augmented…perhaps that’s the point of 1974 meeting up with 2018?

    Markets are always a wave of up and down. Over time, an investment in real estate, in an area where growth is strongly controlled, where a community blueprint pays homage to 1974 concerns about over-growth, will become an enclave area…it will rise in value. Important, then, to always be thinking five years out.

    At this moment in time, listings remain low, buyer interest is very present, and the allure of Salt Spring as a destination is high. Projections for early 2019, in areas that deliver buyers to Salt Spring, are about a bounce back in real estate dynamics. Hmmm….

    Meantime, November unrolls before us: craft fairs (WinterCraft), Village galleries showcasing their artists, studio tours, continuing Farmers markets, theatre and dance and choral presentations at ArtSpring, hiking/walking trails beckon, and kayaking adventures and sailing races delight year-round.

    There’s always lots to see and to do, on special Salt Spring Island.

    Enjoy the softer season!