October is often seen as the divide between early Fall (with echoes of September charms) and late Fall (another word for early Winter, on the Pacific Northwest Coast).
On Salt Spring, the harvest season is with us: Apple Fest, Canadian Thanksgiving, Sip and Savour, Tuesday Farmers Market, Saturday Market-in-the-Park…plus the rediscovery of the softer season on this delectable Island.
Sunday afternoon sailing races, hiking/walking trails (Ruckle Park, Mt Maxwell, Mt Erskine, Burgoyne Bay Park, Channel Ridge trails), studio tours, craft fairs…these are all a part of the Fall Season on special Salt Spring Island.
Real estate discoveries and sales are a strong feature…the Fall Market can be one of the busiest of the year.
As we arrive at the beginning of October, we are noting a thin inventory of properties for sale, no matter the type or price point.
This does not mean the listings will all rush towards a buyer.
Secondary Home Markets
Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are secondary home markets. This means they are “by choice”/discretionary regions. No one “has to” move to Salt Spring Island…or any Gulf Island.
The first visit from the mainly non-local buyer is always about the island itself…that first visit is about deciding if Salt Spring itself offers the buyer’s desired lifestyle option. If it does…then there will be a second visit to seriously look at available listings.
Often, it takes three visits before there is an offer. In a secondary home area, it simply takes the time it takes, to achieve a sale moment. Days on Market is not a relevant thing in any discretionary marketplace.
Buyers set prices and markets…not sellers or realtors.
If a buyer is not interested in achieving a property in a secondary home market, then it’s a flat sales picture.
The economic downturn (October 2008 to mid-March 2016, in our region) saw serious price reductions, few sales, and a slow recovery.
Interruptions by government (an offshore purchase tax in metro-Vancouver (where our main buyers were from) in August, 2016) and weather vagaries (a once-every-20-years La Niña “real winter”, that lasted from Dec 3, 2016 to May 15, 2017) conspired to hold up the general market recovery…there was a nine month pause in activity.
The Summer market was about six weeks late in arriving…took till July 15/16 to kick in. So…here we are…rushing into the shorter Fall Season.
In spite of hesitations, the inventory is historically small. Buyers are around. Yes, they are looking in many coastal communities…Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands have competition now, in decisions. Yes, one does have to sell the island first, before any buyer will look at listings. It remains the 2-step dance it’s always been: first, “decide for” the particular Island. Then: choose the property.
All that said, the combination of low inventory and price stabilization forecasts a market uptick in pricings. This may be with us by the early Spring 2018 market.
Add that to the Islands Trust cap on growth (the outcome of those 1974 bylaws/zoning restrictions), and the temperate “cool Mediterranean” micro-climate that encourages small holdings farming, plus the sense of safety and “apartness”, yet proximity to major centres…and one can see why there is an allure to the Salt Spring Island lifestyle.
More information? Call me. There is always opportunity for a buyer, regardless of market trends. A seller? It’s your moment. Still takes patience, though, while the buyer “considers”.