April 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Here we are at April 1st. The beginning of real Spring. Early April mirrors March…late April is a forerunner of amazing May. April is a shift month.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

 

Salt Spring Island, A Unique & Creative Space to Call Home

Whatever the season or weather pattern, beautiful Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands welcome one…these islands nestled in the Salish Sea are unique and creative spaces to call home.

Is It Easy to Move to Salt Spring Island?

Real estate in the Gulf Islands is always slightly apart from larger market trends. The form of governance in these islands is a provincial government body known as the Islands Trust.

Created in 1974 by the government, to “preserve and protect” the environmental beauties of the islands for the benefit of all B.C. residents, the Trust has curtailed growth (via strict zoning/bylaws). This effective cap on growth ensured that the Gulf Islands would remain these lovely park-like entities.

A cap on growth means that, over time, these islands will become enclave areas that one will have to be able to afford…already, they are not entry level pricing areas. First time buyers are not usual, without family help.

Mount Baker

Mount Baker

What was B.C.’s response to covid?

B.C.’s first response to covid was to shut down/require people to stay at home. A ten week covid closure was in place by March 12/20. Around June 23/20, restrictions were softly lifted and Immediately a strong real estate sales pattern clicked into place. The allure of a rural lifestyle was the theme.

Starting with entry level residential and then including affordable lots/acreages, the inventory thinned out and price points on Salt Spring began to rise…“bidding wars” occurred by mid-February 2021. Around late February/early March 2021, the higher end/luxury properties segment caught sales interest.

The Vancouverite Migration

Almost all buyers were from Vancouver and they were wanting to live permanently on Salt Spring. Sale prices to date range from 199,000 to 5,645,000. The volume of sales to the end of March now match an entire year’s sales in previous recent times.

So, at this very beginning of April, we have 39 residential properties listed. Townhomes, waterfront, view, farms are not separated out…it’s just residential/dwellings.

  • 15 listings are between 349,000 and 995,000.
  • There are 13 listings between 1,069,000 and 1,985,000.
  • There are currently 5 listings between 2 million and 2,699,900. One listing is at 4,995,000.
  • There is a listing at 5,995,000.
  • A farm parcel is listed at 6,688,800.
  • An acreage is asking 12,000,000
  • a waterfront acreage is on at 14,000,000.
  • A waterfront farm is asking 14,000,000.

We have 45 land listings at this very beginning of April, again not separating out type…just undeveloped land options. Prices range from 239,000 to 2,495,000

  • There have been 77 solds to date
  • There were 58 sales below one million
  • 14 sales between one and two million
  • 4 sales between two and three million
  • and one sale over five million

This extraordinarily thin inventory of listings is partly due to strong buyer action. It also reflects owner reluctance to be a seller. Unless they “have to” sell, most owners are choosing to “hold”.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

A Hyperbolic Market

One recent scenario: one entry level priced listing and twelve buyers for it, resulting in a listing agent stating a time for all offers to be presented, no ability for a buyers agent to present their offer, the offers all seen by the seller at same time and a choice then made. This kind of outcome is why many buyers put in unconditional offers and also why the offers are “over ask”. It’s a hyperbolic market everywhere. Salt Spring is no exception. Will it last? Ah…the key question.

A Lifestyle Rewrite

The lifestyle rewrite in this post-pandemic moment is the main propeller to rural real estate activity, throughout B.C. Vancouver sellers remain the main buyers in all the secondary home venues. Recreating a life script is a strong motivator to action and this does not seem to have run its course…perhaps it’s just beginning?

Salt Spring Island & Land Banking

Also to be considered: the desire for safe hard asset investment, as a way to preserve capital in an era of printing press currencies and fears of inflation. Land banking is one such outcome. Current low interest rates invite buyer ability to buy. The societal shift to all things digital and the “work from home” ethic have become mainstream, which allows a rural move. Everything seems to have coalesced…the perfect storm, if you will.

Lack of inventory may continue for some time. An outcome will be serious price escalation.

There is always opportunity, no matter the background noise of daily events.

Are you thinking of selling? Call me…I look forward to sharing my knowledge of this current sellers market trend. You may decide to “hold”…you may decide to sell. “Of the moment” market knowledge is essential to make that important decision. I look forward to connecting with you. As a top selling agent, I bring to your benefit my expertise, plus creative and productive marketing solutions (local and global), and a solid understanding of the sale process.

March 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

First Whispers of “The Season”

It’s here…the month that sees the segue from winter-into-spring. Gulf Islanders/Salt Springers recognize March as the month that brings the first whispers of “the season”.

Mid-March to mid-October is often seen as the best weather time in the great Pacific Northwest Coast, and Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands benefit from a “cool Mediterranean” micro-climate. Less rainfall/more hours of sunshine…a welcome temperate pattern.

Even with the ongoing closures and pauses and delays of covid, this time of year brings with it a special enjoyment…that awakening of the earth that Spring delivers. Gardens and orchards and roadside bushes flower forward. Longer days. Sun warmth at patio coffee stops. Beauty everywhere.

The real estate market on Salt Spring is now mirroring the same explosion of sales first experienced in Vancouver and then fanning out to Sunshine Coast, to the Interior, to Victoria, and to Vancouver Island. Now it is occurring on Salt Spring and on the Gulf Islands.

The inventory of listings is shockingly low.

Most buyers are still from Vancouver. There are now multiple offers and “bidding wars” in some price ranges. Buyers do have to put their best foot forward.

Hastings House

Hastings House

The Vancouver sellers do become the buyers in all the rural/secondary home markets. The Vancouver market, which did suppress between 2017 and 2019, because of provincial government taxation measures to do so, is perhaps being driven by sales to Hong Kong based residents, with Canadian passports. These buyers ignore the provincial 20% offshore purchase tax.

It appears to be a lifestyle rewrite that is underway.

Many things are occurring: the initial covid shut-downs in 2020 pushed everyone into the digital world. The ability to work from home is now accepted as mainstream. Extraordinarily low interest rates. A desire to leave the city. A concern over all the monies being printed by governments…the seeking of preservation of capital by turning to hard asset investments. Hmmm…a perfect storm? Maybe.


Sales Data March 2021

So, at this very beginning of March, there are 31 residential listings on Salt Spring Island, not separating out waterfront, view, townhome.

  • 11 of these residential listings are between 445,000 and 998,000
  • 9 listings between 1,069,000 and 1,985,000
  • One listing at 3,100,000
  • One listing at 4,995,000
  • One listing at 5,995,000
  • One listing at 6,688,800
  • One listing at 12,000,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000

Only 11 fall into the category of “entry level” pricings. Hmmm….. usually there might be over 200 residential listings available. This is a sellers market.

At this very beginning of March, there are 49 land listings, ranging from 239,900 to 2,495,000. (Not separating out lots, acreages, view, waterfront). Land listings up to 500,000 remain the most active, at this moment.


At this very beginning of March, there have been 51 “solds to date”. That is a huge increase in sales in the first two months of the year.

  • Seven sales have been between 199,000 and 298,000
  • Four sales have been between 430,000 and 455,000
  • Six sales have been between 505,000 and 552,000
  • Ten sales have been between 605,000 and 685,000
  • Four sales were between 730,000 and 799,000
  • Three sales were between 800,000 and 878,500
  • Five sales took place between 900,000 and 979,000
  • Eleven sales took place between 1,015,000 and 1,850,000
  • One sale took place at 5,645,000

For the first time in several years, consistent high end sales are underway. It appears that the Vancouver buyers plan to live on Salt Spring…these are not recreational only buyers.

Not Since 9/11

The entry level residential options and the lower priced land options have all sold. The last time we saw a lifestyle rewrite was after 9-11. Between 2003 and 2006, there were few listings and prices rose by 60%. However, at that time, owners, who may have wanted to cash out, did start to slowly list.

Salt Spring Island Coast

Salt Spring Island Coast

Right now, though, with the faceless potential killer of covid still with us, most owners want to sit tight. Where would they go? Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands offer the allure of safety, in their cohesive apartness. The arrival of consistent vaccinations may be the solution to this treading water time.

Still on Hold, Virtually

Meantime, March sings its way through our lives and the Gulf Islands are offering virtual reminders of their pleasures. Loved events will be on hold until next year, as the provincial government prohibition on gatherings continues. It’s interesting, that virtual connection. Neither good nor not good…just different.

Meantime, on Salt Spring, hike the Mt Erskine Trail, picnic at Ruckle Park, watch the floatplanes chortle in and out in Ganges Harbour, enjoy a coffee break on a patio or deck (many to choose from…try them all), sunset watch from Vesuvius Beach, kayak out to Chocolate Island beach, and always always follow the protocols and support local.

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands swim enticingly in the Salish Sea. Their welcome is always there.

February 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Light at the end of the tunnel

Wow…February…and the days are appreciably longer…with snowdrops, crocus, early rhodos, camellias, forsythia inviting us to pay attention to gardens.

A short month, with both late Winter and early Spring in its days, February promises positive change.

Hesitations still continue on the covid front, but the vaccine roll-out (which is not without its distribution hiccups) has encouraged people to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

On February 12, the Asian horoscope changes from the Year of the Rat (known for turbulence and societal shifts) to the Year of the Ox (perhaps a year to digest and solidify all the rapid changes that struck 2020?).

Alice-astro, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In change lies opportunity. We all relate differently to change…the key perhaps is in how we approach it. The universe reminds us that we only face one way in time: forward.

So what about real estate activity at this exact moment? I do this report at the beginning of every month…updates as the month progresses are found on my twice weekly blog. Thank you for checking in!

The early closures in 2020, due to the government’s efforts to control the pandemic outcomes, resulted in a buyer desire to sell in the city and to seek a rural haven. It was a short season in 2020 (on Salt Spring, from around June 23rd to year end), but an intense one.

As listings steadily sold, nothing new came onstream to take their place. At the same time, most owners did not want to be sellers. Plus, the societal shift to the online world allowed people on the right side of the digital divide to continue to work from home…thus allowing the rural opportunities to encourage that lifestyle rewrite. A further plus: historically low interest rates. A perfect storm? Possibly.

Prices Stabilizing due to higher Demand

We are right now at a moment of extremely low inventory coupled with continuing high buyer demand…usually a recipe for serious price escalation. To date, prices have stabilized. In some entry level price ranges, there are small bidding wars. In the higher tier priced options the spread between list and sale prices remains in place, although that spread is slowly narrowing. Buyers now need to make their highest and best offer when presenting.

That said, even with desire to buy, it still takes time to achieve a sale in any secondary home market. First step is to choose “for” the area…it can take three visits before an offer. For higher priced options, it can take longer. It’s that need “to be sure”, in that all important “decision for” a specific area.

At this very beginning of February, then, there are 50 residential listings on Salt Spring Island.

  • 25 of these residential offerings are listed between 299,000 and 998,500.
  • Fifteen of these residential listings are between 1,025,000 and 1,985,000.
  • Five of the residential options are asking between 2,000,000 and 2,625,000.
  • One property is listed at 3,100,000. One property is asking 6,688,800.
  • There is one listing at 12,000,000.
  • There are two listings asking 14,000,000.

By the time you get here …

Meantime, the beauty found on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands is both inspiring and restorative. To be able to own and to enjoy a property of any description here is a gift we give ourselves. Nothing/nowhere is perfect…maybe ownership and enjoyment of the rural lifestyle in this particular place, though, is “practically perfect”?

On Salt Spring? Whether sit down or take-out, remember to support our amazing local restaurants. All covid protocols are in place and they are consistently following safety measures for your protection.

And yes, it’s so easy to shop online…but before clicking to order from that non-local big box option, check out our local retailers. They may be able to match item and price, if not already in stock, and your support of “local” keeps the community alive and well. Our “season” really only fully clicks into place in April…our local businesses need our care and support now. “Buy local…or bye bye local”…a sign in another community, but it says it all.

Time on your hands? Check in with the many volunteer non-profit organizations that exist here…find out what you can do to be helpful. In our form of non-municipal governance (Islands Trust and CRD), it is these very non-profits that help to create our community’s well-being.

In business (my definition: if you are providing an item or a service for sale, then you are in business), you need to join the local Chamber of Commerce. This gives you a larger voice in creating good outcomes for the entire community. The Chamber has a non-government “voice” and can therefore think out of the box. Those words “resilience and recovery” can be an integral part of that Chamber voice.

So…February. Let’s step into it with enthusiasm and creativity. Yes…different days…but days of possibility. In real estate, there may be less inventory choice and we may be at the beginning of serious sellers market outcomes, but there is always opportunity.

Seeking to sell? Benefit from my targeted and productive marketing solutions. (2020 Medallion sales award). I look forward to presenting your property to optimum in today’s digital universe.

Seeking to buy? Look forward to hearing from you. There will always be ways to connect your hopes with best outcomes.

January 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island

January is named for the Roman god Janus…he had two faces, one looking back to the past and one looking straight ahead, into the future. At this very beginning moment of 2021, it’s clear that we are looking forward into pivotal change.

Roman god Janus
Roman god Janus

The various closures in 2020, propelled by governments trying to control the covid-19 virus, unleashed a shift to the online world. Now that this acceptance of a digital environment has become the new normal, it means that new and dynamic communication formats will just be the surround sound of our time. If you are not in, you will be out.

Nothing is untouched. For techies, who have for years been able to work from anywhere, this is just how things are. For the rest of us, the learning curves may be deep or shallow…but evolve we must.

Is Rural Living the new ‘Chic’?

In times of extreme change, it’s important to be practicing our periphery vision. No leaning forward to go down prepared tunnels of information…instead, lean back and take in that 180 vista that periphery vision allows…that’s where creative change lies.

With the immediacy of data today, anyone anywhere can think about outcomes and so can create ways and means to go forward. Hmmm….in this digital universe, how might we create lifestyle scripts that allow us to successfully embrace change? There’s the challenge.

Meantime, short-term, at this beginning day of January, we note in real estate that the 2020 pandemic pushed city dwellers into seeking rural lifestyles. The ability to work from home, coupled with a desire for space, for an apart area with pleasing lifestyle options but away from city issues, created an upsurge in real estate sales in all rural communities, across Canada, and that includes Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands.

Revising Our Life’s Script

 Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island

We enter 2021, on Salt Spring, with a shockingly low inventory and with a strong buyer desire. In 2020, most owners did not want to be sellers…this helped to keep inventory low. As properties sold, nothing new came on to take their place. Prices stabilized.

There appears, in response to the covid pandemic, a desire for people to rewrite their life script. The allure of the rural is definitely a part of this.

The last time this lifestyle rewrite was evident was just after 9-11. In response to that former time’s sales volume increase and resulting low inventory, we saw substantial price increases in the Gulf Islands. Will we also see this as we progress through 2021? Perhaps…projections are calling for continuing interest in rural regions, continuing low inventory, continuing buyer demand.

Current Inventory Gulf Islands, 2021

At this exact moment in time, then, at the very beginning of January on Salt Spring, we have 39 residential listings, of which:

  • 23 are listed between 299,000 and 998,500
  • 15 are listed between 1,025,000 and 1,985,000
  • Five listed between 2,000,000 and 2,625,000
  • One listing at 3,100,000
  • One listing at 5,900,000
  • One listing at 6,688,800
  • One listing at 12,000,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000
  • 54 land listings
  • 9 commercial listings
Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island, Skywater

This inventory count might sound like a lot of choices, but as soon as one puts in the desired parameters (for example: 3 bed/2 bath, a view, good sun, good water, no huge renovations required, quiet area, close to town, budget up to 800,000), then there might be only two listings on the entire island that would meet that wish list.

Recent Real Estate Sales on Salt Spring

There were 237 sales in 2020. Prices were between 120,000 and 2,600,100. Most sales were below 998,000, but there were several sales between 1,005,000 and 1,950,000. There were 7 sales between 2,050,000 and 2,600,100.

Sales volume was up in 2020 over 2019, with most sales occurring after the first pandemic shut-down…on Salt Spring, residential sales began around June 23rd and undeveloped land sales started slowly around early November. Vancouver sellers remain the main buyer profile in all the secondary home markets.

The Islands Trust, a government body created in 1974, “to preserve and protect” the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, used severe zoning/bylaws restrictions to control growth. By doing so, the Trust ensured that property prices would (over time) escalate…a desire to own and a control of inventory are always factors on all Gulf Islands. Connect that perpetual governance model of controlled growth with a market upsurge in sales volume, and price rises may be the outcome.

With less inventory, there may be fewer sales going forward and prices may escalate. It usually takes until early March to see the tone of a year, in real estate activity. Stay tuned.

Digital Transformation

Traditionally, the coastal secondary home/recreational marketplace goes from mid-March to mid-October, but the always-on digital universe may erase this “March Break to Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend” grid of activity. New visual ways to market property may result in people buying properties without physically viewing. Stay tuned.

The work from home dynamic and the turn to online shopping, forced on everyone during the pandemic closures, make change inevitable for commercial real estate. The owners of office towers and shopping centers in major urban regions will need to consider how to respond. A repurposing of such commercial spaces will need to take place.

Locally, the Islands Trust has an opportunity to repurpose Ganges Village…to perhaps allow empty second floor offices to become rental living spaces. The Trust could also allow empty street level stores to allow live/work options. Creative thinking is required. Time, indeed, for 1974 (the year the provincial government created the Islands Trust) to meet up with 2021 requirements.

Salt Spring Island, Real Estate Office
Salt Spring Island, Real Estate Office

Pandemic & Tourism on Salt Spring

Tourism has been very hard-hit all over Canada as a result of covid pandemic edicts to stay home/only essential travel encouraged. With a visitor-centric economy on the Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island, how will this tourism aspect be successfully revitalized?

Words like resilience and recovery are meaningless without creative changes…which brings us back to the Islands Trust. As the form of governance on the Gulf Islands, are the trustees and planners on Salt Spring wearing Janus’ backward gazing face or are they seeing with his forward direction stare? We should be asking.

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are beautiful regions and the Trust did “preserve and protect” them for the benefit of all B.C. residents. To ensure this protective quality, going forward, the inadequacies of the Trust’s oversight do need to be addressed. Asking questions of both the Trust and the CRD is the way to ensure that the alluring lifestyle enjoyed on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands continues.

Looking Ahead & Embracing Change

So, at the beginning of this first month of a New Year, let’s look forward…no point in turning to gaze behind us. The pre-covid time is gone. Time now to remember Alice Through The Looking Glass…she had to run very fast, just to stay still. We are at the very beginning of new ways to be. Let’s embrace change. Scary? Only until we get used to it. And your thoughts are? Always welcomed.

How may I help you to achieve your real estate goals in 2021? Whether selling or buying, benefit from my expertise, knowledge, innovative marketing ideas, and experience. Your best interests truly are my motivation. Look forward to your call.

December 2020, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

'Tis the Season, 2020

We have arrived at the very beginning of December, in this most awkward and disturbing year.

Covid, and its attendant government closures to flatten the curve of this potentially deadly virus, have caused several interruptive pauses throughout 2020.

Although the calendar says Winter starts officially around December 20th, we in the great Pacific Northwest Coast know that November signals the seasonal shift in our region.

‘Tis the Season (of 2020)

Real Estate on Salt Spring Up or Down?
Salt Spring Island in the Snow

A darker time of year, coupled with continuing covid closures, is disturbing to many…and afflicts many businesses struggling to survive.

It’s rare that the Southern Gulf Islands get snow…when it happens, islanders love to take photos…and when it occurs, it doesn’t last long. I always think that Winter in this area is like a long late Fall or a lengthy early Spring…depending on one’s point of view. Shorter days are a factor.

Covid has cancelled the seasonal traditional pleasures at this December time of year. It is so important to listen to the shop local, think local, be local messaging in each small community. The hope is that visitor-centric communities will see business survival over the winter season.

People in many locales are decorating, putting seasonal lights up, and doing it earlier. A great idea! To be a billboard of light, for those passing our homes, gives such pleasure…maybe that’s our holiday gift to family, friends, neighbours.

How is Covid-19 affecting Salt Spring Island?

And what about real estate in the time of covid? That first closure, on March 12th, which lasted for 10 weeks, and a bit longer on the Gulf Islands (travel is tied to ferry schedules and they had to reinstate routes and sailings), signaled a lifestyle change. City dwellers, able to work via the internet and thus able to choose a rural area for their year-round living choice, began to check out all the secondary home/rural regions.

Snow on Lake in BC
Snow on Lake on Salt Spring Island, BC

Hong Kong Chinese, many with Canadian passports, looked beyond the provincial government tax suppression measures that had caused a pause in Vancouver sales (between 2017 and 2019). Suddenly, Vancouver sellers were turning up in all secondary home regions as buyers, and this also ignited sales on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands.

Is the Real Estate Market Up or Down in BC?

Locally, the market clicked into place around June 23rd, for residential properties. Vancouver sellers had sold a house and needed a house at this end. To begin with, most sales were below 800,000…and then the price point went steadily up to around 1.4. A handful sold between 2 & 3 million. There may have been price reductions en route to an offer and there were still many price reductions at the point of an offer.

Undeveloped Land On the Gulf Islands

Real Estate on Salt Spring Up or Down?
Real Estate on Salt Spring Up or Down?

Now, at the beginning of December, the inventory for residential listings is exceptionally low. Very recently, we have seen buyers starting to consider buying an undeveloped land parcel and to begin a building project. This usually occurs as soon as good residential options have evaporated. It often presages, too, price escalation. At this moment, prices have stabilized.

So, at this very beginning of December…approximately…

  • 55 residential listings
  • 66 land listings.
  • 220 “solds to date”

The inventory of available listings remains extremely low and sales volume has increased over the year, in spite of various covid-related closures.

Salt Spring Island Market Trajectory 2020-2021

Projections are calling for continuing interest in rural regions, and with price increases for any new listings may be on the rise. It is not expected that inventory will increase substantially. Low inventory and high buyer demand usually lead to price escalation. It may take until late February to see the tone of 2021.

Rare whiteout day on Salt Spring Island
Rare whiteout on Salt Spring Island

When will the Canada-U.S. Border Reopen

No place is apart from global outcomes. A change of government in the U.S. will affect Canada. A majority NDP government in B.C. will affect provincial outcomes.? A vaccine against covid will bring change. A re-opened Canada-U.S. border may allow the re-emergence of a traditional buyer in the Gulf Islands. Change, change, everywhere a change…..

Hard asset investment may be another reason why real estate is looked on favourably right now. What I call “land bankers” are now recently turning up to look at undeveloped land parcels. The Islands Trust, a provincial government body created in 1974, did cap growth through its strict zoning bylaws. This cap on growth, over time, is appealing to that investor-buyer.

The season/weather is actually irrelevant in our Gulf Islands area. Although more people might visit Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands in the summer months, it is very usual to see Fall-Winter offers/sales. The Gulf Islands are “seasonless” regions and real estate interest and outcomes occur year-round.

How may I help you to fulfill your Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island desired real estate outcomes? Look forward to hearing from you.

November 2020, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

I always think the calendar shift between seasons is a month out on the Pacific Northwest Coast. To me, November is the bringer of Winter.

Daylight Saving Time has returned to Standard Time, and the shorter days are with us. Temperatures cool. Rainy days that live up to the “wet coast” description come and go. Grey is the palette.

The continuing covid-19 restrictions (no large gatherings, social distancing, staying home if not feeling well, frequent hand-washing, sanitizer if not possible, wearing of masks in interior spaces) mean cancellation of loved seasonal events.

Autumn in Salt Spring Island, BC


Online meetings, online shopping, online family and friends visits, online education, online medical, online legal advice….yes, it’s communication, but it’s very different from in-person meet-ups. It’s neither good nor not-good…it’s just different.

Marshall McLuhan, back in the 1970s, alerted us that “the medium is the message”. He was implying that our communication methods shape us. Is the online method making us observers instead of participants?

Meantime, lovely Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands continue to shimmer forward, and to remind us of the beauty of all seasons in this region.

View from Skywater in Salt Spring, British Columbia

Real estate? At the very start of November, we continue to experience thin inventory and buyer desire remains high. Prices appear to have stabilized, although there remain many reductions at the point of a sale.

137 residential listings

  • 36 listings between 299,000 and 998,500
  • 23 listings between 1,025,000 and 1,998,500
  • 7 listings available between 2,000,000 and 2,700,000
  • One listing at 3,100,000
  • One listing at 5,900,000
  • One listing at 12,000,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000

70 land listings

  • 60 listings between 149,000 and 995,000
  • 7 listings between 1,020,000 and 1,395,000
  • 3 listings between 2,150,000 and 2,495,000

211 sales to date

  • 157 sales between 120,000 and 998,000.
  • 48 sales between 1,017,000 and 1,900,000
  • 6 sales between 2,050,000 and 2,600,100

Price reductions were seen in most transactions at the point of the offer, and price reductions were also still taking place en route to that “last list price”, before the accepted offer.

About Salt Spring In the Winter?

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are secondary home markets. Buyers choose to come to Salt Spring and to the other Gulf Islands. No one “has to”. It still takes time, and two visits if not three, for that interested buyer to choose the “where”.

Buyers want to be sure, before committing to the specific island…it’s always a two-step dance. Choose the island and then decide on the property.

As good residential inventory cleans out, there is more interest in undeveloped land and a building project.

There are now many opportunities to showcase a property online. For several years, I have offered 3-D image rich plans and also video walk-throughs and drone videos. Now, these are just required items. Buyers, in spite of these specialty visual marketing options, are often asking realtors to do a face time walk through. Is the next step buying without an on site visit? Perhaps.

salt spring views

What is the Secondary Home Market Like in BC, Canada?

In past years, approximately 50 % of the buyers in the secondary home venues were from the U.S. and Alberta. The closing of the border back in March means no U.S. tourists and no potential buyers. Previously, U.S. & Albertans were recreational.

Since 2016, most buyers have been from Vancouver, and they plan to live in their new areas. This is another reason why it takes two (and often three) visits before choosing for Salt Spring or a Gulf Island…it’s that “being sure” thing, again.

November is the beginning of Winter here, regardless of what the calendar says. Yes, Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands enjoy that “cool Mediterranean” micro-climate and there are more sunny days/less rain than anywhere on the coast. Warmer, less rain, a temperate climate that allows for orchards, olive groves, vineyards, wineries, cideries, craft brewery…lucky us! Salt Spring offers a year-round lifestyle. Questions? Call me!

So…no large gatherings, cancellation of most seasonal events…a different kind of November, indeed, in the time of covid.

What’s Really Important?

Important to pay attention to what is there, right in front of us, to experience and to enjoy. Whether selling, buying, or resting in place, we are in a beautiful environment, with a soft climate, and no thing remains the same forever. When our new normal finally arrives, will we be ready?

That winter pasture, looking sere and lifeless on its surface, is busy at the root level…when Spring arrives that eruption of new growth is suddenly there. Right now is perhaps our “tending the roots” moment.

So: read a fat book, collate family recipes to gift on to younger generations, cook from scratch, light candles for dinner, be cosy by the fireplace, write your memoirs, be totally at ease in the online world (lots of tutorials to look to)…if that’s our surround sound, then let’s be fully immersed in it. Plant bulbs…be wonderfully surprised when they flower forward in February. Decorate for Christmas and give pleasure to others.