April 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

This year, April is just month two of our market activity. The weather issues on the Coast, between December 20th and March 1st, caused a pause in both tourism and in real estate activity.

The listing inventory remains very thin. Although Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna are noting an increase in listings and a downturn in sales, this may be an outcome of the various provincial taxation measures to “cool” those particular markets…and further civic taxation measures to suppress the market in Vancouver. This may not apply to the secondary home markets. Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are exempt from the speculation (vacancy) tax, for example.

January and February activity options were erased by this unusual winter weather pattern, which left March to signal renewed physicality on Salt Spring and subsequent action. April will continue this rhythm. If a buyer wants to enjoy a new home by summer, then the buyer needs to be acting now.

Why Not Here?

It is becoming oddly busy, and the people viewing appear to be interviewing areas…this is a continuation of Fall 2018. Why you? Why not there?

The buyers viewing right now will live here…they are not the recreational/seasonal buyers of past years…and they “want to be sure” about their destination choice. Time lags are involved between first visit to view and final decision to buy…the buyer is thinking things over, and that does take time.

To buy on Salt Spring is a choice.

Salt Spring continues to have competition from Vancouver Island communities, such as: South Cowichan, outlying neighbourhoods of Victoria (Saanich, Metchosin, Sooke), Parksville/Qualicum, Courtney/Comox. The entire Coast is beautiful. In a way, a realtor has to sell a particular Gulf Island itself first and specific property decisions then come second. To buy on Salt Spring is a choice.

Salt Spring enjoys a year-round lifestyle (there is a life in January as well as in July) and there is a good hospital on Salt Spring, plus three different ferries servicing the Island, plus regular sked year round floatplane services. Everything is available on Salt Spring and it’s also easy to commute to nearby communities (Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo) if desired. Day trips to Vancouver are also “easy-peasy”.

Salt Spring is an authentic artists community

Salt Spring is an authentic artists community, which brings a strong cultural enjoyment. The Islands Trust form of governance for the Gulf Islands has protected them all from uncontrolled growth. The preservation of the natural environment is paramount. Hiking/walking trails abound. A vibrant agricultural segment, with farmers markets, is also a feature. Great restaurants to entice. A strong sense of community is very visible. There is huge tolerance, but also a caring basis…islanders do help other islanders in moments of need. Everything required for a 21st Century life is available on Salt Spring, yet it is also wonderfully “apart”. Salt Spring is a superb year-round lifestyle choice.

At the beginning of April, then, the listing inventory remains very “thin”. If this continues throughout April and May, and buyer interest in the secondary home regions continues steady, then price stability will remain…and we may even see price increases by summer.

The number of residential (dwellings) properties currently for sale (without separating out townhomes or waterfront or farms or view properties), at the beginning of April:

  • 101 listings (ranging from 299,900 to 3,900,000).
  • undeveloped residentially zoned lots/acreages: 62 listings (ranging from 148,000 to 2,495,000).
  • The number of sales at: 23 (ranging from 135,000 to 1,700,000).

    This is an extremely thin listing inventory, and there have been serious sales in the early Spring market.

  • Hmmmm…price increases to follow? Important to keep an eye on market dynamics. Secondary home/discretionary markets do not follow the same outcomes as seen in primary residence/city regions.

    Thinking of selling? Desiring to buy? How may I help you with your real estate decisions on Salt Spring Island? Look forward to your call (liread33@gmail.com).

    April welcomes the Saturday Market in the Park, the Easter Art presentations, the Spring openings in the Ganges galleries, the studio tour around the Island is underway, and Earth Day celebrations/clean-up plans are ready to enjoy. Special seasonal menus featured in our great restaurants, live music venues have moved to patio enjoyments, and al fresco dining is welcoming us all.

    Everywhere we look there is splendour in the wings…Nature is unfurling before us.