Tag Archives: salt spring island

September 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

September Brings Fall to Salt Spring Island

September. Meteorological Fall is here on the 1st and the calendar catches up on the 20th.

Along with the seasonal shift, there are continuing government mandated efforts to diminish the effects of the fourth wave of covid. Masks are again essential, vaccination passports will be law, social distancing continues in public spaces, further closures may be coming if the virus continues to remain out of control, and booster shots are being discussed.

Global concerns, wars and rumours of wars, financial hesitancies (currency concerns, interest rates, inflation)…hmmm…turbulence continues in all domains.

Low Inventory on Salt Spring Island

What about the real estate outcomes in our region? The extraordinarily low inventory of available properties continues. In residential options below a million, bidding wars can still occur. In all price points/property types, sellers are often receiving “close to” or “at list” prices. It remains a sellers market in all the coastal areas, including on the Gulf Islands.

The main propeller to action continues to be a desire for a rural lifestyle, and it is now possible to authentically work from home. A lifestyle rewrite is a factor in a buyer’s decision to move to “apart” areas. Buyers continue to be mainly from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland region. They plan to live permanently at their chosen new location.

Sellers and realtors do not set markets…buyers do that. Buyers create action and set the pace in real estate sales. As long as buyers are desiring to live on a Gulf Island, sales will remain consistent.

Autumn Leaves on Salt Spring Island

Fall is a beautiful season on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. Early Fall can be a lot like late summer, and the fruition time continues. Lots to do and to enjoy.

With the return to some Covid restrictions, any large gatherings may be reconfigured or return to online versions (check on outcome for Fall Fair, for example).

The Saturday Market and the Tuesday Farmers Market continue…the farm gate stands provide amazing fresh produce and fruits/berries. The wine tastings at Garry Oak and Salt Spring Vineyards continue…award winning wines to enjoy here. The cideries and the craft brewery invite your tasting pleasures. The largesse of the season is here to be enjoyed on special Salt Spring. A WOW!

Li Read, Salt Spring Island Realtor

Thinking of selling? Call me for up to the minute market reports and knowledge of marketing opportunities. In a sellers market, there are few choices for a serious buyer…it’s still essential to optimize presentation in rural areas. The mainly non-local buyer is looking “everywhere” and all rural areas are in competition for the same buyer profile.

Thinking of buying? It’s true that a sellers market means less choice for a buyer, though there are always options for successful connections, no matter the market trend in play. It’s important to be pre-approved and so ready to act. It’s also important to recognize the authentic diamond in the rough…and to be willing for some renovations. Land, location, light, water…all in good order? Then consider taking on a property that will need updates…those are the ones that become good investments over time. More questions? Call me!

September on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands remains an inspiring month of natural beauty…many warm days, lots of clear evenings for star watching, and an invitation to enjoy hiking/walking trails. Patio/deck dining continues to be enjoyed (our terrific restaurants and coffee stops beckon). A softer season this early Fall moment…catch it!

August 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

August, The Market Segue

August begins the segue to the Fall Market.

At this very beginning of August, the listing inventory remains extraordinarily low. Unless they have to, most owners do not want to be sellers.

Buyers continue to remain interested in leaving the city and purchasing a rural lifestyle (the outcome of those covid shut-downs).

If they have sold a house, they are looking to buy a house. That said, to keep to a budget requirement, they may consider buying an undeveloped land offering. They might put up a guest cottage, or a modular home, or barge on an older home with Nickel Brothers, and renovate it.

Concerns over inflation and potential interest rate rises are also seemingly driving a hard asset investment purchase. This type of land-banking may be seen as a way to preserve capital.

Can I Work From Home & Live on the Gulf Islands?

Although lip-service was paid in past years to the idea that anyone could work from anywhere, because of the internet, this may not have been true in outlying areas. Now it is true. Another outcome of those covid shut-downs: the turn to online options. Suddenly, everyone is happy with Zoom meetings. Businesses and non-profits turned to online opportunities. Working from home is desired and possible.

Maybe we are now positioned at the very beginning of the “real 21st Century”? It will be interesting to see what’s in place at this time next year. Voids like to be filled. Now that everyone is able to be online, in some form or other, new ways to market, to connect, to “be”, will start to fill in. An exciting time? Yes!

Meantime, at this very beginning of August, we find 50 residential listings, not separating out homes, townhouses, waterfront, view, farm. Seven of these are strata townhomes that will not be built until next year.

  • 22 of these are listed between 420,000 and 998,000
  • There are 15 listings between 1,149,000 and 1,890,000
  • There are 8 listings between 2,125,000 and 2,995,000
  • One listing at 3,985,000
  • One listing at 4,488,000
  • One listing at 6,688,800
  • One listing at 11,975,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000

There are 33 land listings, not separating out lots, acreages, view, waterfront, farm.

They are priced between 232,500 and 2,495,000.

  • There have been 189 “solds to date”, at this very beginning of August
  • 135 sales were below one million
  • 43 sales were between 1 and 2 million
  • Six sales were between 2 & 3 million
  • Two sales were between 3 and 4 million
  • Three sales were between 5 and 6 million

A Strong Sellers Market

It remains a strong sellers market. With the continuing low inventory in all property types & price points, there are both bidding wars in existing listings and asking price escalation in anything new to the market.

Real estate is a market, with the same dynamics as any other market driven economy. Buyers set the pace, not sellers or realtors. At this time, strong buyer desire is coupled with owners who do not want to be sellers…a recipe for continuing seller market conditions.

The Islands Trust & Inventory on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring is a part of the Islands Trust, set in place by the provincial government in 1974. The non-growth policies of the Trust mean that there will always be limited inventory on any Gulf Island. This is beyond market trend.

So: the market speaks to buyer interest, causing diminishing inventory, on an island that has capped growth, through the Trust’s severe zoning/bylaw protections….hmmm….

More information on trends and listings? Call me! Let’s explore potential purchasing opportunities.

Thinking of selling? Discover my award-winning presentation that does encourage serious buyer interest.

Meanwhile…August. A time of fruition. Enjoy farmers markets, farm gate stands, special menus at our delicious restaurants, cider tastings, wine tastings…hiking/walking trails beckon…kayaking, paddle boarding, whale watching, sailing races…swimming in lakes and in the sea…shorter days mean earlier star watching (August brings annual meteor showers)….so much to see and to do…it’s still summer-summer. Enjoy!

July 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are practically perfect…

Salt Spring Island

The Suddenly, here we are at the very beginning of July.

This is now “real summer” and it’s a short season…lots to see & to do & to enjoy on Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands…always good to be a visitor in one’s home area…to remember why one chose a particular island (as a sometime destination and also as a permanent address).

These Gulf Islands are very special areas.

Nothing is ever absolutely perfect, of course, but many describe Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands as practically perfect.

Salt Spring offers a year round lifestyle (a hospital, three elementary schools, a senior school, three different regular ferry routes, regular sked floatplane service, indoor pool, theatre/arts space, and so on…very easy to go places, but one doesn’t “have to”.

So, what’s happening in the real estate market on Salt Spring at this very beginning of July?

There are 48 residential listings, not separating out waterfront, view, townhome…just residential.

  • 26 of the residential listings are between 299,000 and 998,000. (Of these, 5 are not yet built.)
  • There are 13 listings between 1.149,500 and 1,950,000.
  • There are 5 listings between 2,190,000 and 2,780,000.
  • There is one listing at 6,688,800.
  • One listing at 12,000,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000.

There are 34 land listings. Again, not separating out waterfront, view, lot, acreage…just undeveloped land.

  • 27 of the land listings are between 232,500 and 995,000.
  • There are 5 listings between 1,199,000 and 1,395,000.
  • There is a listing at 2,150,000 and another at 2,495,000.
  • There are 3 commercial listings (2 business only and one land/business…listed between 149,000 and 980,000).

There have been 162 “solds to date”.

    • There have been 116 sales between 199,000 and 979,000.
    • There have been 37 sales between 1,003,000 and 1,985,000.
    • There have been 5 sales between 2,200,000 and 2,950,000.
    • There was a sale at 3,150,000.

There were 3 sales between 5,380,000 and 5,850,000.

Most of these upper tier sales were residential and one was commercial.

Salt Spring Island

Listing Inventory Still Low

The listing inventory remains shockingly low. Most owners do not want to be sellers, which means little new comes onstream to replace the steady sales. It is interesting that all price ranges are finding their buyer. There have been bidding wars, although lately it appears that this has settled down and many properties are selling at list price.

Government pauses to suppress covid’s spread did cause hesitations in the market, at various points. Between March 29 and June 15, all BC. residents were encouraged not to travel out of their health jurisdiction, and only essential travel was allowed. As of July 1st, intra-provincial travel will be allowed. The reopening of the U.S.-Canada border may be soon. Stay tuned.

Summer On Salt Spring Island

July is true summer. Although some events remain cancelled or are online for a second year, many lovely island venues are now open for your pleasure.

July begins an easing of many covid restrictions. Summer promises a more connected way of living. At last.

Salt Spring Summer Activities

What will you do to give yourself the gift of summer? Yes: swimming, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding. Yes: dining on decks and patios, catching live music venues, gardening. Yes: reading a fat summer book. Yes: wine tastings, cider tastings, craft brewery tasting. Yes: starwatching. Yes: simply taking time to do absolutely nothing.

Fulford Kids love the last day of school, with its promise of two months for their summer holidays. Adults need a “time out”, too, and in this always on digital universe, perhaps we need to discover our “off button”…the adult version of “school’s out”?

Remember your Omar Khayyam: “the bird is on the wing”. Welcome July.

June 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

So…here we are at the very beginning of June. That signals the half-way point in the year’s outcomes.

Real Estate Rhythms

I always think that real estate rhythms break into thirds on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands.

The first third has two parts: early Spring (February/March/to mid-April) and “real Spring” (mid April to mid-June). The second third is late June to mid-October. The third pattern encompasses late October to late January.

Buyer’s Market Yet?

Even with the many pauses and hesitations enacted by the provincial government, during this Spring, to stop the progression of covid outbreaks in B.C., this underlying pattern remained subtly in effect.

Where do we find ourselves at this very beginning of June, with the real estate market?

It’s the same tune we have been humming since late June 2020: very low inventory and continuing strong buyer demand.

Is Salt Spring Island a Rural Lifestyle?

Most owners still do not want to be sellers and buyers are still seeking a rural “apart” lifestyle change…though with conveniences such as hospital, good schools, ease of access, and opportunities in January as well as in July (thus, the allure of Salt Spring).

How Are the Sales on Salt Spring Island?

At this very beginning of June, 2021, there are 45 residential listings on Salt Spring (not separating out waterfront, townhomes, farms, view…just simply available houses).

  • 21 residential properties between 420,000 and 989,900
  • 14 listings between 1,050,000 and 1,950,000.
  • five listings between 2,190,000 and 2,780,000
  • One listing at 4,995,000, one at 6,888,800
  • One at 12,000,000, and two at 14,000,000.

At this very beginning of June, there are approximately 33 land listings (again, not separating out waterfront, farms, lots/acreages, view options). Prices range between 232,500 and 2,495,000.

At this beginning of June, there have been 144 sales to date. Since mid-February, we have seen several bidding wars and many properties (mainly residential options) have sold substantially over list price.

Any infrequent new residential listings are coming onstream at higher prices…and they often sell with still higher prices (driven up by more buyers than listings).

Over time, low inventory and high buyer demand do result in price escalation. Add market lack of inventory, a result of the overall Islands Trust cap on growth, and locally we might be facing a strong uptick trend moment. Recent reports of lower sales statistics simply reflect the lower inventory available to sell.

An Invitation to Summer


June is really the invitation to summer…the calendar calls it that by the 20th, but the ambience of the season is really there from late May. Meteorological summer starts on June 1st. So important to jump right into the brief weeks of summer and to enjoy their many pleasures.

Dining al fresco on decks and patios, swimming in lakes and at favourite ocean beaches, kayaking and paddle boarding along the shoreline, reading a fat summer book while lounging on a hammock, hiking a trail, switching up the menu to include those delicious farmers market salad materials, savouring sunsets until late evening, star watching and recognizing constellations…yes, it’s summer…and it still smiles its welcome.

Thinking of buying a property on special Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands? Call me. Benefit from my knowledge (of inventory and trends), expertise, and solid experience in connecting buyers with sellers. Your best interests truly are my motivation. No matter the market trend at any particular time, there are always work-arounds for successful outcomes.

May 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Bidding Wars & the Rush to Rural

At the beginning of each month, I give my market thoughts. During the ensuing days of that month, I give market updates via my regular blog.

For the past several months, I have referred to the very low inventory of listed properties. This thin inventory is coupled with huge buyer demand. Bidding wars have become standard procedure. The inventory keeps shrinking and few new listings come onstream to replace the steady sales. Owners, unless they have to, do not want to be sellers.

This clear-out of inventory for Salt Spring began around June 23, 2020, when the ten week closures, throughout B.C., ended. When B.C. Ferries reinstated routes and sailing schedules, the rush to rural in our area began.

Salt Spring Island, Land & Luxury Residential Homes

This kind of intensity always begins with entry level residential and then evolves to the luxury residential segment and to undeveloped land opportunities. By late February, 2021, bidding wars were underway in the residential segment. By late March, undeveloped land options began to sell. Most buyers continue to be from Vancouver.

The allure of a rural lifestyle is now in synch with the ability to work from home. The pandemic has created a viable digital lifestyle, and this, along with continuing low interest rates, has resulted in historic sales patterns in all secondary home regions. This includes on Salt Spring Island.

The buyers are looking for a year round lifestyle, with health care options (Salt Spring has a hospital), education options (3 elementary schools and a junior/senior school), and all services/amenities available without having to leave the island.

The form of governance for all Gulf Islands is the Islands Trust (a provincial government body), and for Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands the CRD (Capital Regional District, out of Victoria) is also part of the governance model. Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands are not municipalities.

Truly is a lifestyle rewrite

Buyers at the moment plan to live full-time on Salt Spring…this truly is a lifestyle rewrite. Recreational living has been a mainstay on all Gulf Islands for many years. Choosing to live full-time is different. This may bring about a more sustainable year-round business outcome…with less emphasis on seasonal tourism as the economic driver on the Island.

Post-Pandemic Salt Spring Island

Change is definitely the mantra as we struggle to be fully post-pandemic. Digital ways are predominant. Ever more important to seek new outcomes for marketing and presentation of both real estate and visitor experiences. In change lies opportunity.

Meantime, the splendour of May is erupting all around us…so important to really “see” and to savour the natural world. Nature both restores and nurtures us. Maybe time to re-read those Romantic poets that we endured in school? Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands surround us with beauty…enjoy!

Current Inventory & Sales on Salt Spring Island

And real estate? At this very beginning of May, there are approximately 29 residential listings…without separating out townhomes, waterfront, acreages…just “residential”. These options range from 499,000 to 14,000,000.

At this very beginning of May, there are around 37 land listings. Again, not separating out waterfront, acreages, lots…simply undeveloped land. Prices range from 239,000 to 2,495,000.

At this very beginning of May, there have been 130 “solds to date”. Sale prices have ranged from 199,000 to 5,645,000. Half of the sales have been below one million and half above. The number of sales to date is about the same as sales for all of 2020.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

This attrition of listings is the same in all secondary home markets, including on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands. Owners are wanting to stay where they are, unless they have to sell. Buyers wanting to move full-time to a rural area are on the move. The ability of the internet to now support working from home…wherever home happens to be…allows this choice. The acceptance by consumers of this work from home concept is a part of the shift. A perfect storm, resulting in profound societal change. (And, we didn’t even get to look at peer to peer connections in the block chain era!).

Well, Thales, one of those savvy Ancient Greeks, did alert us that we never step in the same river water twice

May is one of the most beautiful months on the entire Pacific Northwest Coast. Give yourself the gift of experiencing it all…choose a different place to visit, on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, every day. Lucky us to be here!

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.