Market Analysis

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

July 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island, BC

July, August, September are always the key months for tourism outcomes and for real estate activity, in our Gulf Islands marketplace.

Beginning of Season

I do these market reports at the beginning of each month, and so we are just starting into this year’s busier season. Inventory remains thin, and there are qualified buyers seeking a Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island property.

Where is Salt Spring Island?

The Southern Gulf Islands are positioned between Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle. With excellent ferry service (three different ferry routes service Salt Spring), and two year-round floatplane services, and with schools, a hospital, and all services/amenities provided on Island, Salt Spring offers a pleasing lifestyle…and all while enjoying the natural world protected by the Islands Trust (a non-growth policy, to preserve the environment on the Gulf Islands). This Trust has been in place since 1974.

Are Market Conditions the same on Salt Spring Island?

No area is immune from global intricacies, and the Gulf Islands did experience, along with most secondary home regions, an almost nine year downturn, after the 2008 economic collapses. During that time, inventory built up and there were few buyers around. The secondary home areas began to recover in March 2016 and, in spite of government tax measures to suppress real estate action in city markets, a slow improving trend was underway in all rural/discretionary regions.

Where is the market currently?

On Salt Spring, we have now arrived at the classic definition of a seller’s market: low inventory coupled with increased buyer desire. Price increases can be an outcome, over time.

It’s interesting that one local company reduced prices on almost all their listings in late May/early June. Also, in mid-June, a waterfront listed with another company sold for well above list price (which implies a “bidding war”). Transition periods are often characterized by different outcomes, all on the table at once.

As we enter July, there are 122 residential listings.

  • 38 of these are below 799,000
  • 59 of these are over one million

There are 88 lots/acreages listings

There are 77 “solds to date” (Solds range from 135,000 to 1,700,000).

Most owners do not want to be sellers, right now. The inventory of available listings is very low…as soon as one differentiates between price and type, this is immediately clear.

What is the impact of technology on real estate?

Along with the narrow specifics of our local marketplace, 2019 is ushering in the true 21st Century to the real estate industry as a whole.

PropTech has already visited our sister industry, the financial investment world. E-trade, for example, connects users directly with the means to trade. There is no middleman.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, data-driven investing, globalization of search, changes to privacy of information, PropTech, tokenization of real estate, block chain technology that eliminates lawyers and realtors and puts sellers and buyers into direct touch, crypto currencies that avoid bank charges…real estate’s organization and execution will soon be different and very quickly so.

This is an interesting aspect when one considers a rural/discretionary property segment. Each property in a secondary home marketplace often mirrors the lifestyle of the owner…it’s even difficult for an appraiser…there are no comparables…each property is uniquely itself.

If one cannot use real comparisons to rank sales data, then how can cloud robotics state that such data is valid? Hmmm…perhaps this might mean that the interpretive voice of a knowledgeable local real estate agent will still be needed?

Definitely different days, and initial choices will be made on analyses of data. Interpretation of raw data will be important, but perhaps not at the beginning of an investor-buyer’s initial search. Data first…then interpretation…then it becomes information? Hmmm…..

So…how to position a seller’s property to catch maximum interest? So…how to facilitate an investor-buyer’s successful outcome? It is not business as usual, in this globally structured cloud universe.

Real Estate is a “People Business”

Real estate at its heart is a “people business”. Choices of location and style are often emotion based. We love a home. We feel at ease on a property. We are inspired by a location. These are emotional responses. Raw data is about statistical reports on past events, in an attempt, perhaps, at verifying future decisions.

Both are needed.

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)

Meantime: here we are at the very beginning of July (Canada’s birthday on July 1st and the U.S. celebration on the 4th). Salt Spring welcomes its visitors and both locals and visitors alike enjoy the many special summer events.

Saturday Market (one of Canada’s best), Tuesday Farmers Market, concerts in the Park (Tuesdays), sailing races (Wednesdays), kayaking to Chocolate Island, ArtCraft, Ganges galleries openings, Treehouse live music every evening, dining on a deck or patio (Salt Spring Inn, Auntie Pesto’s, Moby’s, Treehouse, Rock Salt, Piccolo’s, Kitchen), ArtSpring events. Forest breathing at Ruckle Park, Burgoyne Park, Channel Ridge trails. Wine tastings, cider tastings, craft brewery offerings. Salt Spring is a foodie paradise!

So many things to enjoy…look forward to hearing about your summer experience faves.

June 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

June. It’s a lovely hiatus month, between two real estate market moments: it straddles early Spring and Summer market patterns.

June also welcomes graduations, weddings, school’s out/summer holidays enthusiasm, and, on the great Pacific Northwest Coast, it can often be a showery weather month.

Gardens are in full array, roses are at their abundant bloom best, farmers markets, vineyard tastings…the opulence of Salt Spring’s rural heritage surrounds us.

Upper Tier & Entry Level Activity

At this hiatus moment, between two real estate sales patterns, it’s evident that entry level priced properties were where the action was in our short (due to weather vagaries between December 20 and end of March) early Spring cycle.

The upper tier priced properties don’t usually begin to see activity until after the Victoria Day Holiday Weekend, in mid-May.

Between mid-May and end of October, our real “season” takes place…and it invites buyers, in all price ranges and seeking all property types, to come forward to view.

Listing Inventory

The listing inventory remains very thin. We are seeing price reductions, but are also seeing that the very few new listings coming onstream are at higher price points than would have been the case in the previous year. Everything on the table at once means we are in a transition market…with an apparent upward momentum. Few listings, coupled with buyer desire, can lead to price increases. This outcome may not be evident until mid to late August.

I do this market update at the beginning of a month. June can have a “pause” in the first two weeks. Perhaps it’s about those family celebrations, but it might also be that late June begins summer travels and so early June is calmer.

At the beginning of June, then, we have 124 residential listings on the market. This does not separate out townhomes or waterfronts…it’s just residential/dwellings listings. There are 79 lots/acreages on the market. There have been 60 “solds to date”.

This is an extremely low listing inventory, particularly in the entry level priced categories. Most sales remain in that entry level price segment.

Of the 124 residential listings, at beginning of June

  • 12 under 500,000
  • 10 were under 700,000
  • 19 were under 800,000
  • 18 were listed below 900,000
  • 7 listings were under 1,000,000
  • 40 listings between 1 & 2,000,000
  • 12 listings between 2 & 3,000,000
  • 5 listings are between 3 & 4,000,000

Of the 79 lots/acreages, without separating out waterfronts, at beginning of June

  • 27 were listed under 300,000
  • 20 listed below 500,000
  • 16 were listed below 600,000
  • 10 were below 1,000,000
  • 6 were listed between 1,020,000 and 2,495,000

Of the 60 “solds to date”

  • 28 were below 600,000
  • 12 sales below 800,000
  • 10 sales were below 1,000,000
  • 10 sales between 1,000,000 and 1,700,000

Patience in the Secondary Home Markets. Invaluable

Patience is a part of all sales in all secondary home markets. A decision to buy is a choice…no one “has to” move to Salt Spring. In deciding about that choice, there are always time lags. Buyers do look in competing areas, “just to be sure”. It can take three visits before a decision is made.

Obstacles Can Play a Role

There are always issues facing all communities: for Salt Spring, the lack of affordable housing/work rental is also a problem. There are three public (and one private) affordable housing/rental options that are funded and permitted and they cannot go ahead because of the water moratorium.

Brought in by the three volunteer board members of NSSWD (North Salt Spring Water District) in 2014/15, this effectively prohibited connections to the water systems. There may be a capture/distribution issue on Salt Spring, but there is not a water shortage issue.

Water is under Improvement Districts at the provincial government level. The government has off-loaded Improvement Districts onto municipalities. Salt Spring is not a municipality…it is part of the Islands Trust. The CRD (Capital Regional District) out of Victoria could assume the NSSWD, but has not done so.

The lack of work rental options led to the Trust bylaw enforcement officer shutting down airb&b/short term vacation rental options (STVR). This was done under the assumption that vacation rental landlords would then rent to regular annual tenants. This is the Trust response to lack of work rentals.

The lack of people wanting to rent to regular tenants has to do with the current provincial government’s change to the B.C. Tenancy Act. The government canceled the Fixed Tenancy option, in Fall, 2017. This is why people do not want to be landlords to regular tenants…unless the owner moves in, one cannot give notice to a tenant.

Underlying Issue

The underlying issue, lack of affordable housing/work rental, gets back to the volunteer driven NSSWD moratorium on connecting to water systems. In our non-municipal form of governance, there is a lack of proactive oversight.

Summer Begins!!!

Meantime, the summer-summer season begins with June…and visitors to Salt Spring generate the economic well being of business enterprises. Check with the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce for more information.

So, lovely June is upon us. Time to dine al fresco on restaurant decks and patios, to enjoy live music venues (Treehouse Cafe, Moby’s, Woodley’s), to meander Ruckle Park trails, to go jump in the lake (St Mary’s, Cusheon, Weston, Stowell) and swim to your heart’s content, to paddle board off Vesuvius, to kayak to Chocolate Beach, to enjoy Saturday and Tuesday Markets, to simply “be”, and to definitely stop and smell those roses.

Seeking a real estate outcome on delectable Salt Spring Island? No matter the market trend in play at any given time, there is usually a way to make things work. Call me! Let’s discuss. Your best interests are my motivation.

May 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island Farmer's Market

The season is with us! The great Pacific Northwest Coast is at its very best between May and October, and Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are a part of this.

Salt Spring, the largest and best serviced of the Southern Gulf Islands, is in the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world.

Lots of bays and coves and also Marina anchorages to explore.

Gulf Islands Economic Activity? Tourism, Tourism, Tourism

The main economic driver on the Gulf Islands is tourism.

I often think that a happy visitor experience on a Gulf Island may result in a real estate purchase…and then all other businesses get busy (architects, designers, builders, septic installers, driveway creators, soft furnishing providers, painters, etc etc etc).

Let’s not forget B&Bs, all accommodation providers, grocery stores, banks, lawyers, notaries, restaurants, ferries, car rentals, wine & craft brewery & cider tastings, arts showcases (such as studio tour)…they all benefit from a successful visitor experience.

What is Shoulder Season in Canada?

There is often a local business effort to create “shoulder season” events, to extend that “season” at either end…some years, it seems to work…weather variability becomes a part of this equation. The Salt Spring Chamber presents Sip and Savour, showcasing the agricultural community, in October…the Chamber also presents a Home and Garden show in March, emphasizing local trades and suppliers. These two events do bring visitors and locals alike, in an extended season.

What about that real estate market as we enter our true seasonal marketplace?

Listing inventory continues to shrink…especially in that entry level residential price segment. Undeveloped land is also finding a buyer…it is a way for a purchaser to keep to his/her budget.

A high number of the listings right now remain priced over one million.

Some of the few new listings appear to be coming onstream at higher price points than last year. There are also serious price reductions occurring…a sign of a market in transition, perhaps? Everything on the table, all at once….

Although May to October are seen as the main months for both tourism and real estate activity, it does remain a mainly weekend business until late June. The weekend action pattern returns in early September. Yes…very short and very intense.

It’s also true that there are really no real estate comparables on Salt Spring or on another Gulf Island. Owners create their personal dream.

When properties come on the market, even though priced similarly, these offerings will often have nothing in common with each other.

In the end, buyers set markets (not sellers or realtors), and it’s a buyer who offers what he/she judges the property to be worth. A serious seller always listens to a buyer.

To purchase on Salt Spring or on another Gulf Island is always a choice. No one “has to” buy on Salt Spring. Often it takes two to three visits/viewings for a buyer to make that choice.

As we enter May, there are approximately:

  • 108 residential listings on Salt Spring (not separating out townhomes, waterfront, view, or farm parcels), with around 56 of these listings below 1,000,000. There are 11 properties listed over 2 million and 5 listed over 3 million.

At the start of May, there are approximately:

  • 68 land listings (again, not separating out waterfront, farm, view, lots or acreages), with 6 of these between 1,020,000 and 2,495,000.

At the beginning of May:

  • There are 16 commercial listings (business only or land/business).

This is a dramatically low inventory for a buyer to consider. In a more balanced market, there are usually approximately 380 + listings…low inventory may result in a seller’s market.

At the start of May there have been:

  • 45 “solds to date” between 135,000 and 1,700,000.
    Of these sales, 8 have been between 1,000,000 and 1,700,000

Salt Spring remains a very alluring and energizing place to call home. It does attract an international buyer. In the main, during the past 2+ years, the principal buyer profile on the Gulf Islands and on Vancouver Island has been someone from Vancouver/Lower Mainland. These buyers plan to reside full time in their new chosen area.

Unique Governing Body: The Islands Trust?

The form of governance on the Gulf Islands is the provincial government body known as the Islands Trust. Created in 1974, with a mandate “to preserve and protect” the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, the Trust controls growth via strict zoning/density bylaws. Ask me about this important aspect of ownership in these Islands. The Trust documents will, over time, ensure limited inventory on any Gulf Island.

With a strong artistic base (painters, writers, actors, musicians call this Island home), with organic farming underway (farmers markets, tastings at wineries, craft brewery, cideries), with a myriad of hiking/walking trails throughout the Island, and with an amazing cadre of volunteers who create and maintain much of what Saltspringers enjoy…all of this variety creates a very vibrant and caring community.

The month of May offers the Saturday Market in the Park, the Tuesday Farmers Market, the Round Salt Spring Sailing Race, the Victoria Day holiday weekend (a cross-Canada signal for the start of the vacation season), studio tour locations are open, and all of Salt Spring says “welcome”.

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 (

    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.