May to end of September might be the main grid of tourism and real estate activity on the Gulf Islands.
Real estate sales do take place throughout the year, and in a way the Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island can be described as “seasonless”, but the predominant arrivals time for the mainly non-local buyer profile does fall between these late Spring – into – late Summer months.
The Islands are in the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world, and the boating season coincides with this early May to end of September timeline.
After an eight year downturn (end of 2008 to early Spring 2016), the secondary home/discretionary markets on the Pacific Northwest Coast began to see an improving trend, throughout 2016, in both tourism and in real estate sales. This upward trend has continued in the first months of 2017.
I think there is a direct link between a successful visitor experience and a decision to purchase a property, in all discretionary and recreational regions.
A buyer has to choose “for” a place first…and then will choose “for” a property in that place. This is why it can take longer in a secondary home location, regardless of market trend in play, for a sale to take place…the buyer has to be sure about the region choice…that’s step one, always.
It is, however, quickly turning into an authentic seller’s market on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands…and in Vancouver Island communities, too.
A seller’s market is characterized by few listings and strong buyer demand.
In the beginning, prices stabilize…buyers have to offer closer to or at sellers list prices…then back-up offers, multiple offers, offers over list become next steps, if a property is unique or listed below market. Price rises follow. The law of supply and demand governs all markets.
Hmmm…. Yes, there are fewer listings, and yes, prices have solidified…but there are always opportunities. Seeking a Gulf Island/Salt Spring Island property? Call me, for suggestions on how to make the current market work for you.
Our 2017 Spring has arrived a good 4 to 6 weeks later than usual…it seems more like early April, not early May. This past winter was one of the once-every-twenty-years La Niña events….lasted from Dec 3 to March 12 (even skating on Cusheon Lake!). The last part of March and most of April have remained unseasonably cool and also rainy. Apparently, precipitation records have been broken.
May is welcome!
Sales at close of April:
- 7 sales between 160,000 and 199,500.
- 6 sales between 200,000 and 299,000.
- 11 sales between 305,000 and 396,000.
- 16 sales between 400,000 and 487,000.
- 11 sales between 506,250 and 599,000.
- 7 sales between 625,000 and 690,000.
- 4 sales between 710,000 and 769,000.
- 5 sales between 800,000 and 899,000.
- 2 sales between 900,000 and 945,250.
- 5 sales between 1,075,000 and 1,750,000.
- 3 sales between 2,200,000 and 2,500,000.
The trend is clearly towards less inventory in all property types and price points. The main sales are still below 750,000. Upper tier priced residential offerings are now also starting to see interest and subsequent sales. Undeveloped land sales are on the increase.
The buyer profile still is mainly from Vancouver, with smatterings from U.S., Ontario, U.K., Europe, China. Alberta is still not yet seen as a strong buyer profile, although that buyer had been involved in about 20% of sales in previous years.
Sales will start to be less, compared to 2016 statistics, simply because less inventory is available.
The referendum asking Salt Spring whether to incorporate or not will be held on September 9th. The Trust documents will remain in effect in a “yes” vote (these documents govern all of the Gulf Islands and this provincial government body, the Islands Trust, has been in place since 1974). The CRD (Capital Regional District) will still have a presence. Two trustees and one CRD director will still be in place. The difference: a mayor and council will be elected locally, to manage Salt Spring locally. At the moment, decisions are often made by off-island parties. More information? Be informed. It may be time to introduce 1974 to 2017…important to have all information and to be thoughtful about your response to the yes/no question on September 9th.
May welcomes in several events as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. These events began in mid-April and will continue through to early October…150 days of celebration events. July 1st is Canada Day. Time to be on Salt Spring! (P.S. the Flower Power event is encouraging gardeners to plant red and white flowers).
The great Pacific Northwest Coast is a superb locale at this time of year, and Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands are a part of this coastal allure. Enjoy!