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Market Analysis, November 2017, Salt Spring Island

November 2017, Salt Spring

Salt Spring Island, November, 2017, Salt Spring

Salt Spring Island

There’s a total of 170 listed properties (November 2017, Salt Spring) at this moment (counting only residential of all types & undeveloped residentially zoned land of all types…not including commercial or industrial zoned listings).

In a “slow/downturn” market, there can be between 380 to 420 listings (residential and undeveloped lots/acreages).

The listing inventory, since mid-March 2016 to current date, has thinned out. Mid-March 2016 was the very first sign of a small recovery on Salt Spring, after the long 8 year downturn.

It was a very slow sales volume increase, however, between then & now, with several non-market driven “pauses”.

The 15% offshore tax in early August, 2016, for metro-Vancouver, for example, also completely stopped the secondary home regions recovery…those Vancouver sellers had become the buyers on Sunshine Coast, on Vancouver Island, and on Salt Spring Island. On Salt Spring, Aug/Sept/Oct, of 2016, were “lost”.

Then: “real winter” (between Dec 3 & May 15) struck: all over the Coast. Both tourism & real estate viewings on Salt Spring were dramatically slowed.

Almost a 9 month pause, then, between August 2016 & May 2017.

The Summer Market was 6 weeks late…it usually starts in last week of June, & did not kick in until July 15, 2017. There were pauses within the summer season, as well…due to smoke from both Interior & Washington State fires…again, affected the whole Coast, but also caused significant delays in Salt Spring activity.

That 6 weeks later scenario seemed to carry into the Fall Market, too. Perhaps October was really September!

August 2017 may also have seen a hesitation in activity due to the incorporation vote on Sept 9th…several people, on either side of the question, were waiting for the vote outcome. There was a lot of off island media coverage leading up to the vote. It may have caused a bit of a “digestion” pause throughout September. Difficult to track these kinds of hesitations.

All these fits and starts sales rhythms aside, the main sales on Salt Spring Island remain below 850,000.

November 2017, Salt Spring

To date, the sales are as follows, from January 1, 2017 to October 31, 2017:

  • 21 sales between 95,000 & 199,500.
  • 25 sales between 200,000 & 299,000.
  • 31 sales between 305,000 & 396,000.
  • 43 sales between 400,000 & 489,000.
  • 30 sales between 500,000 & 599,000.
  • 20 sales between 605,000 & 690,000.
  • 16 sales between 700,000 & 795,000.
  • 12 sales between 800,000 & 899,000.
  • 6 sales between 900,000 & 950,000.
  • 25 sales between Private Island Estate.
  • 4 sales between 2.2 and 2.5.

The sales between one & two million were either waterfronts (both ocean & lake) houses, or very large farms (20 to 104 acres), or large ocean view acreages/houses. The majority of them were waterfronts.

The sales over two million were waterfronts (3 ocean & one lake), with houses.

These sale price ranges in November 2017, Salt Spring, do not include price reductions…they are the completed sale price points. In some cases, in the over a million category, there were substantial reductions at the point of a sale.

What is the main buyer profile around Salt Spring Island?

The main buyer profile is still out of Vancouver/Lower Mainland. Alberta & U.S. (used to be 50% of our buyers) are still not in evidence. A smattering appear from Ontario, U.K., Europe…but they do not always focus on Salt Spring as a final destination choice. Most Vancouver buyers are seeking to buy down, if they have achieved a good sale price at their end.

It takes time to sell any property in all the secondary home markets, and this is true of Salt Spring, too. The first step is to choose “for” the Island…and then to choose for a property. It usually takes 2 visits (often 3), before a buyer acts on a specific property.

A showings pattern is about the buyer…not about sellers, or properties, or realtors. It just takes the time it takes. Time is a very significant element in every secondary home market transaction.

Properties still remain on the market here for lengthy timeframes, before capturing a sale. Price can sometimes be an allure factor…though not always.

So…here we are…in the closing weeks of a calendar year. Low inventory in all property types and prices. Sellers often achieving list price or close to it. Back up offers in place, if not small bidding wars. A sense that 2018 will see the beginning of serious price escalation, based on that thin inventory/buyer demand scenario.

Hmmm…it does appear that in November 2017, Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands have returned to the buoyant times between 2002 and 2005. A nine year downturn now being followed by a nine year uptick? Stay tuned.

Market Analysis, May 2016, Salt Spring Island

Market Analysis, May 2016, Salt Spring Island

Market Recovery - Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Signs of a Seller’s Market Recovery

Yes, it’s really true…after an 8 year market downturn, we are finally seeing a resurgence of authentic activity in our secondary home/discretionary real estate market.

Many listings had followed the market down. Fine properties and well-marketed…but few buyers around. In a downmarket, buyers are scarce. In past five weeks, many of these long listed properties have now sold. Very few new listings are coming onstream to replace these steady “solds“…this is the sign of a seller’s market.

At the moment, it appears that sales volume has doubled over the same period as last year and that prices have stabilized (meaning that the buyers are having to offer close to or at list price to secure a property). Price rises and back-up offers may be next.

Salt Spring Island Ganges Harbour - Market Recovery

Salt Spring Island Ganges Harbour

Vancouver Origin

This authentic recovery is very new…began from one-day-to-the-next, approximately 5 weeks ago. Most buyers are from Vancouver. They have sold properties in Vancouver’s hot market, and are now seeking alternative places.

In late Fall of 2015, these property seekers were first looking on Sunshine Coast & in Okanagan communities.

Finally, it’s now the turn of Salt Spring, Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island, to be considered as the new lifestyle choices.

The desire for a unique hard asset investment is strong again. The “safe haven” seeking may also be a part of sales in our beautiful coastal region. The natural rhythm of a market recovery…every 10 years there is an uptick?…is also a part of this return to a strong sales pattern. There is never just one reason for a market recovery.

Recoveries are never even-handed, especially when they first begin. There remain very pleasing properties at approachable prices. There are still opportunities for a buyer.

As residential offerings continue to thin out, it may be that an undeveloped land purchase will be in a buyer’s favour. Build a cottage, or barge on a home being saved from a city’s destruction, or consider a package home.

A renovation project on great land should always be considered.

Call me for ideas that work.

Creative financing can be a buyer’s friend in an upmarket trend.

November 2013, Market Analysis

November, 2013.

Drummond Park

Drummond Park, Salt Spring Island, BC

Change is the mantra of our times…doesn’t matter what is under discussion.

The Internet & its very broad brush, erasing past scripts so new responses can emerge, just continues its message of shift.

Nothing escapes it.

All business models are affected & real estate is no exception. A consumer in charge, & a search rhythm that channels information gathering, are just two aspects of change.

Big picture societal shifts are also well underway.

Is the age of jobs over? If it’s a technology time, then disappearing traditional jobs may never reappear. Is the education system set up to train the engineers & programmers now needed?

One reads think-tank pieces about the hollowing out of the middle class, with fewer people doing well financially & more sliding into lower levels. Is retraining the answer?

Perhaps our time has more in common with the beginning days of the Industrial Revolution…the older Agrarian world was erasing. For a time, the old & the new co-existed…then the wealth tied to land was replaced by wealth from trade & the globalization of Empire.

It must have been a painful shift for those on the Agrarian/land side, & very exciting for those inventing what we now call the Industrial Age. It was a revolution, as it changed a way of thinking about life & one’s place in a social fabric. Dissolution and opportunity, all at the same time. Sound familiar?

Styles of living, with an aging population, are also something to be considering.

A couple of years ago, I wondered, on my radio show, if the boomers would reinvent aging the way they reconfigured childhood & early adulthood…thinking that those who once loved the group/commune life might also enjoy a personal pod space with a community cooking/meeting area.

Just read in a recent Time article that this concept of the tiny home, in a “village” layout, with a communal lodge nearby, is being successfully developed in Texas & in Oregon. One future option for that last third of a life span? Is this a concept that would suit a Gulf Island retirement concept? As Aristotle reminds us, we are a social animal. Isolation is not good for us.

Hmmm…a global village (thank you, Marshall McLuhan, for your imagineering in the 1970s), with a flattening of boundaries due to the multinational culture. A method of communication, the Internet, that furthers a no geographical boundaries world…at the same time that it’s erasing the concept of individual privacy and the idea that the personal & the corporate are separate entities.

Wow…a lot for the remaining hybrid beings (with memory of a pre-Internet world & a knowledge of the post-Internet one) to cope with? Doesn’t matter…the post-Internet beings treat it all like wallpaper…which it is, of course. Important to be in the “now”, always.

So: real estate markets follow cycles, like any market & consumer-driven item. This may be a natural recovery underway, then…year 9 of a 10 year cycle. Plus, societal shifts may be creating a safe-haven seeking…to preserve capital & to seek a level of self-sufficiency. Fear as a motivator! Certainly, for the first time in a 5 to 6 year downturn, in all secondary home/discretionary/recreational regions, there is evidence of a slow uptick.

The ways of connecting a buyer with a seller, however, have dramatically changed…especially in a discretionary region. What does this mean for you? Call me.

On these Gulf Islands/on Salt Spring Island and on Vancouver Island the activity, since early 2012, has been mainly in the entry-level residential segment…up to $700,000, say. Perhaps investor-buyers, seeking tenants/passive income stream? Maybe end-users, seeing the huge value in a recreational purchase after an almost 6 year flat time? Sellers are highly motivated & prices have reduced around 35% since 2007…it might be the last stages of a buyers market, & finally the secondary home regions are seeing this buoyancy, too.

Denman Island Treasure

Denman Island Treasure

A dream awaits you! 12 acres of sunny tranquility and privacy, just for you, on serene Denman Island. The property enjoys some forest areas, plus easy care and creative landscaping around the home. South/southwest/west exposures ensure year round/all day sun, and extensive patio areas expand summer living pleasures. Fronting on a marsh, a bird sanctuary, the “lake” here allows for canoeing the bends in the marsh…a very pleasing past-time.

denman island treasure

denman island

The home is new, and you have time to choose finishes, here! Radiant infloor heat, custom bathroom fixtures (you’ll love the shower and the tub in the master ensuite!), open plan kitchen/dining (top of the line appliances), custom built-in cabinetry for storage, pantry, dramatic living with vaulted ceiling, stairs from the formal entry/foyer to the master “suite”, and stairs from the family room to the children’s “wing”. A climbing wall feature from the family room, plus a terrific work-out exercise space.

This space has to be seen to be appreciated…

Easy access to the patio areas/barbecue space, from all principal rooms. This home could be featured in Dwell Magazine, and offers that clean-lined simplicity of the best of “west coast contemporary” Zen/Scandanavian influenced design. European windows, doors, everything chosen of very fine quality. The final finishing choices can be yours!

An amazing “shop” on the property, separately sited from the home. It holds a state of the art fully computerized woodworking business, at the moment. If desired, a buyer could offer on the equipment as well. The owner is a custom cabinet designer/creator, and his work is found in the very best homes on the Lower Mainland/in Whistler. He is able to work from home, on Denman. This space has to be seen to be appreciated…

…the word “shop” does not describe it, at all.