Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island real estate in depth monthly analysis by Sea to Sky Properties’ broker, Li Read

Salt Spring Island, August 2022, Market Analysis

Something we know for sure: the 2022 real estate market is very different from the 2021 pattern.

Buyers have not lost interest in a Salt Spring or Gulf Islands property purchase.

The desire to experience the rural lifestyle, to be “apart” from city issues, to be self-sufficient, all remain as the base lines of such interest.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Buyers are hesitating on the way to making a decision. The bidding frenzy (for five months) seen in 2021 has long gone.

Fear is the archtypal inhibitor.

Rising interest rates, inflation impacts, supply chain woes, wars and rumours of wars, currency worries…these all create a safe haven seeking. Yet action can stall.

When to hold? When to act? Are prices going down? If I wait, will a seller be more inclined to listen to my offer? Is it a buyer’s market now? Uncertainty brings a treading water pattern.

Note: classic sellers market means few listings and many buyers. Classic buyers market means lots of listings and few buyers.

Listing inventory is rising very slightly. At the moment, there are still few available listings as soon as one separates out by property type and price point. There is not a large spill-out of property opportunities. Inventory is best described as still “thin”.

Some owners are removing listings from the market; they are wanting to hold their Salt Spring and Gulf Islands assets. In inflationary times, real estate keeps pace.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Others, remaining as sellers, will counter at full price or close to it when an offer does come in. If their property has no competing parcel, then more than one buyer may come forward. This means the buyer still has to come towards the seller.

None of this sounds like a big market correction or a segue into a full buyers market. In a buyer considering an outcome, there are bound to be pauses. A flat line pause is not a downward spiral. So…in August (and summer is a slower season as people are on holiday) 2022, it can perhaps be described as a thoughtful market.

Thoughtful is good. It allows time for a buyer to do due diligence, to have subject conditions on an offer, to be satisfied on the purchase. It also allows time for the seller to consider right pricing. A seller once again needs to prep to sell at optimum.

Price is the only thing a seller is in control of. A buyer decides the where and the when of a purchase. It is always a two step dance between a seller and a buyer.

We may have to wait until the end of October to see the outcome of the 2022 summer season market. The entire year to date has seen a 6 to 8 week delay in many instances (weather, gardens, markets). 2022 is slower than 2021…perhaps it’s more like 2019 (pre-pandemic)…but it may not be the expected “correction”. Important to keep an eye on things, perhaps weekly. Change is just a part of the 21st Century surround sound…shift is with us.

More information on the current Salt Spring and Gulf Islands real estate market? Look forward to connecting with you.

Salt Spring Island, August 2022, Thoughts & Market Musings

The Gulf Islands & The Beauty Shimmering Around Us

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands breathe blue, that lovely French blue palette, of sea and sky. You know…the hue that makes us dream.

It’s a short season. Remember your Omar Khayyam (“the bird is on the wing”), and give yourself permission to enjoy this season’s ease….

A kayak meander here, a sunset beach there, a drifting across a lake on a paddle board, an ice cream cone on a dock, a coffee at a seaside patio with a view…pack a picnic and scamper down to Ruckle Park (always a good place to start).

The ferry goes back and forth, to and fro, and the floatplanes chortle in and out. The Harbour ripples through the marina.

Somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, everyday concerns pile up…summer-summer turns away…later is the mantra. It can all wait.

Right now, a seal slides past, an eagle ponders from a tree, and summer smiles over Salt Spring…enjoy.

Salt Spring Island, July 2022, Market Analysis

Salt Spring Real Estate Market, July 2022

For several years now (maybe 20+??), I have been offering up my market thoughts at the start of each month.

A surprising number of people both read and comment on same…and I am so appreciative.

Am in the midst right now of changing things up…how information is disseminated is changing (along with every other change that seems to be underway).

Salt Spring Island

I will be back soon with continuing “thoughts”…for the moment, though, am not creating my usual first day of the month report.

Change, change…everywhere a change. I know the words to that 70s anthem.
Salt Spring Island
Meantime: wonderful summer-summer is with us and it’s a short and lushly beautiful season.

Catch a ferry, get a seaplane…arrive by private boat. Enjoy Salt Spring’s summer pleasures.

July 1st…it’s the annual celebration of Canada Day. Summer-summer is with us.

Salt Spring Island, June 2022, Market Analysis

Salt Spring Real Estate Market, June 2022

Almost everyone agrees that the entire Pacific Northwest Coast (this includes Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands) is approximately six weeks behind the normal Spring weather pattern. A typical La Niña weather outcome. So…June will be May. Some forecasters say we may not see “real summer” until mid-July

Global Events & Salt Spring Island Real Estate

Meantime, the global concerns continue to roll along: wars and rumours of wars, stock market wild fluctuations, continuing pandemic concerns, supply chain disruptions, immigration pressures due to population dislocations, inflation, and the ever evolving tech changes that make some business models redundant while others become breakthrough patterns leading to the future. Well, that pretty well sums up this societal rewrite that is underway. That means individual lifestyle changes, too. Change is never easy…yet opportunity does live in change.

The lengthy covid shut-downs, with many events and businesses closed down for almost two years, did create anxiety, worry, and fear. In keeping lifestyles tamped down, out of fear, and so causing the demise of many livelihoods, quick trigger responses were also created…anger under the surface. Recovery after traumatic experiences takes time. As we hopefully continue to segue out of a closure mind-set, it’s important to be patient. It is easier to close down than to re-open. Essential to remember that we all recover from significant change differently…it is never one size fits all.

And what about real estate markets? The rush from urban to rural, brought on by the covid closures of 2020, and encouraged by the authentic ability to work from home, are still the main drivers to action in the secondary home markets.

In the main, the buyer profile on the Gulf Islands and on Vancouver Island is a Vancouver purchaser. The secondary home/recreational areas in B.C. depend on a busy Vancouver sales scenario. Pauses in that major city market create pauses in the rural outcomes. Low inventory and buyer interest still remain in place, at this time.

Residential Listings

At this very beginning of June, there are approximately 63 residential listings on Salt Spring Island, not separating out waterfronts, view, farms

  • Sixteen of these are listed between 239,000 and 995,000
  • Twenty-six of these are listed between 1,125,000 and 1,998,.000
  • Nine residential listings are between 2,100,000 and 2,890,000
  • Four are listed between 3,333,000 and 3,995,000
  • Two are listed between 4,395,000 and 4,595,000
  • Two are listed between 5,790,000 and 5,990,000
  • One is listed at 6,950,000
  • One is asking 11,975,000
  • Two are listed at 14,000,000

There are approximately 24 land listings on Salt Spring Island, at this very first of the month, not separating out waterfronts, view, farms, lots or acreages…simply undeveloped land.

  • Nineteen of these are listed between 259,000 and 998,000
  • Three are listed between 1,038,000 and 1,495,000
  • One is listed at 2,995,000
  • One is listed at 5,400,000 (a farm, three titles, 17+ acres)

Inventory Remains Low on Salt Spring Island

Inventory remains very low. There are now some price reductions on the way to a sale, unlike the consistent bidding wars seen in mid-2021, and often there are further reductions at the point of a sale. The key seems to be about the amount of remedial work that may be needed by a property listing. A step-in ready home may sell at list price…there may be more than one offer and thus sell over-ask…but this is less often than in 2021.

Salt Spring Island and the Real Estate Services Act

The frenzy of sales action occurred between February and September 2021, and buyers (perhaps out of fatigue) are more measured in 2022. In response to Vancouver’s hot market in 2021, the provincial government is bringing in further significant changes to the Real Estate Services Act, throughout B.C. These changes may be in place by summer. One such would stop blind bidding and another would enact a three day cooling off period for a buyer, after an accepted offer. Stay tuned for more definitive information on these important changes.

Was this past February the “top” in buyer activity? Perhaps for the short-term moment…it is about supply, though, and the serious lack of housing supply may continue to uphold the sellers market scenario for some substantial time yet. Low supply and the strong desire to be safe…which implies a seeking of a rural/apart lifestyle…continue to propel the Gulf Islands markets. In inflationary times, real estate is also often viewed as a hard asset that keeps pace.

Sales on Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of June, there have been approximately 80 sales to date on Salt Spring

  • Forty-six of these have sold between 100,000 and 998,000
  • Twenty-nine of these have sold between 1,038,000 and 1,995,000
  • There were four sales between 2,000,000 and 2,559,000
  • There were two sales between 3,200,000 and 3,725,000

Meantime, whether it’s a continuing late Spring as June unfolds or a quick segue into summer-summer, the natural beauty experienced at this time of year is an inspiration. In our always daily busyness, it’s important to pay attention to this lush beauty displaying around us. Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands are in the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world (a kayakers dream) and are located mid-way between Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle. Easy to get to, and yet wonderfully apart.

Always Opportunity on Salt Spring

There is always opportunity if you are seeking to buy or to sell a real estate holding. In these erratic times, on either side of the sales equation, creative thinking can carry the day. The Islands Trust, a provincial government body created in 1974, to preserve and protect the Gulf Islands, capped growth via strict zoning/bylaws. This ensures low inventory, regardless of market trend in play. More information on this non-municipal form of governance?

Salt Spring Island, May 2022, Market Analysis

Salt Spring Real Estate Market, May 2022

The very beginning of May signals summer-summer pleasures.

Interested in a rural lifestyle? May 1st at Ruckle Farm is a great introduction to the agricultural world on Salt Spring.

Sailing is your thing? Crew always welcome at the Sailing Club races (Wednesday evenings).

The Saturday Market and the Tuesday Farmers Market are well underway…along with farm gate stands around the island. The 30K diet is possible on delectable Salt Spring.

Mother’s Day is celebrated at the Salt Spring Cheese property. Special menus at our signature restaurants (Hastings House is offering a Mother’s Day dining experience). Wine tastings at our stellar vineyards…cider tastings…craft brewery. Picnics on our beaches and at our parks. Walking/hiking trails beckon. Adventure on with a kayak visit to Chocolate Beach. Meander the Ganges galleries. Sunset viewing at Vesuvius Beach….

It’s a short season, this segue from Spring-into-Summer…catch it and enjoy. Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands are a year round discovery pleasure, but May is that extra special annual event…Nature smiles us into ease.

How’s the Real Estate Market on Salt Spring Island?

What about real estate at this very beginning of May? The thin inventory continues. New listings, if they are in good order (renovated, ready to move into) do not last long. They are selling for “at” or “close to” list price.

The seriously “over ask” dynamic that was a part of February to October in 2021 has dissipated. The “all offers to be presented at “day x” and “time y” seller/realtor directives” have eased off. This enforced bidding war has calmed in 2022, in the secondary home/rural markets.

Lack of supply remains the issue and until the three levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal) address this lack of supply, it seems that high prices will remain in effect. Add in the value of hard assets in inflationary times and real estate remains a very appealing investment.

Do global issues affect the real estate market?

One cannot ignore global issues: wars and rumours of wars, supply chain problems, lingering covid outbreaks, inflation pressures…are just a few such. Rising interest rates will cause issues for first time buyers and those who struggled to be home owners during the low rates time.

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands have not usually been first-time buyer areas. The Islands Trust (in place since 1974) effectively capped development via zoning/bylaws to restrict growth. These island gems have thus long been places that had limited inventory, regardless of market trend in play.

Real estate is a market like any other…a wave motion…up/down/up/down…it seems, though, that the desire to leave urban for rural is a strong one…and lack of supply may be with us for some time.

Residential Listings

At this very beginning of May, there are 53 residential listings. They range from 259,000 to 14,000,000.

  • 14 listings below one million
  • 15 listings between one and two million
  • 12 listings between 2 and 3 million
  • four listings between 3 and 4 million
  • two listings between 4 and 5 million
  • three listings between 6 and 7 million
  • one listing at 11,975,000 and two listings at 14,000,000

Land Listings

At this very beginning of May, there are 20 land listings.

  • Between 259,000 and 5.4 million.

Solds

There have been 57 “solds to date”, at this very beginning of May.

  • 32 sales between 100,000 and 998,000
  • 21 sales between 1,038,000 and 1 995,000
  • 2 sales between 2,000,000 and 2,295,000
  • 2 sales between 3,200,000 and 3,725,000

Although we live in chaotic times, with dramatic changes, and “flux” might be a word to generally apply to almost everything, there is always opportunity. May is fully Spring on the Pacific Northwest Coast and the message of renewal is all around us. Are we listening?

On Salt Spring? Rediscover the beauty and the allure that attracted us all in the first place. Hang out the welcome sign for visitors. The Gulf Islands offer artistic inspiration, physical beauty, ease of living, garden possibilities, sea discoveries…in the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world…the Chamber’s promise (“Discover Yourself Here!”) definitely applies.

Seeking real estate solutions on Salt Spring? Please contact me. Award winning service for sellers (2021 Medallion Club award) and successful outcomes for buyers…I look forward to bringing my knowledge and expertise to your benefit. Your best interests truly are my motivation. I look forward to meeting you.

Salt Spring Island, April 2022, Market Analysis

When Does the Spring Season Start on Salt Spring?

April brings showers, sun, blossoms, warming, as authentic Spring unfolds itself around us on Salt Spring Island. “Almost summer” lushly arrives by month’s end.

Hastings House, Salt Spring Island

Many loved annual events, cancelled for two years due to covid restrictions, are back on: sailing races, art displays, craft and artisan showcases, theatre and musical events, farmers markets, studio tours, wine tastings, live music venues, even dancing…wow.

Have we forgotten how to engage face to face? Unmasked and without a vaccine passport (this restriction apparently to be gone by April 8), will we be able to calmly transition from Zoom to real connection?

Salt Spring Island Attractions & Events

Spring’s restless energy invites discovery and that’s a reason to voyage to a nearby Gulf Island, to get to know the charms of our sister southern islands. Day trips are easy-peasy. That Galiano book store is a gem…the Japanese memorial garden on Mayne (at Dinner Bay) is not to be missed…and south Pender’s beaches are there to savour. Saturna offers a yesteryear glimpse and appreciation of magical Winter Cove. Treat those ferries like the sea voyage they are and play tourist in your own backyard.

Outdoor Dining & Parks Abound on Salt Spring Island

Speaking about backyards…when did you last play visitor on delectable Salt Spring? Time to rediscover the alluring spaces on this special island: Ruckle Park, Mt Erskine trails, wine tastings, lunch or dinner on a patio/deck at our great coffee places/restaurants, cider tastings, farm gate stands…beach combing pleasures. The natural world smiles a Spring hello and welcomes us to all these Gulf Islands.

Land Listings, Salt Spring Island

Real Estate in April, 2022, Salt Spring Island

And what about the real estate market at this very beginning of April? We see continuing thin inventory with ever diminishing entry level options. It is the same story in all communities. The Gulf Islands are no exception. The lack of supply, with very strong demand, keep prices stable or escalating.

Residential, Salt Spring Island Real Estate

  • 48 residential listings with 18 of them between 259,000 and 998,000.

    Of these, the choices are a modular 55+ development where one does not own the land, the final phase at a townhome development, so they are not yet under construction (pre-sales), and cottage-houses, perhaps needing renovation and/or expansion into a family home

  • 12 residential properties between 1,175,000 and 1,989,900.
  • 7 listings between 2,100,000 and 2,800,000
  • 4 listings between 3,750,000 and 3,995,000
  • 1 listing at 4,595,000
  • 3 listings between 6,300,000 and 6,950,000
  • 1 listing at 11,975,000
  • 2 listings at 14 million

Land

  • 18 land listings
  • 12 of these listings are between 259,000 and 995,000
  • 4 listings between 1,198,000 and 1,495,000
  • 1 listing (waterfront) is asking 2,995,000
  • 1 (a 16 acre farm) is listed at 4,900,000

As interesting residential properties thinned out, below a million, we saw a turn to land sales. In some cases, land purchases were also a type of land banking…perhaps a desire to have real estate in one’s portfolio, to preserve capital, in these inflationary times. Buyers of land did not always plan to build. Hmmm……

Recent Sales on Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of April, there have been 42 sales to date, ranging from 100,000 to 3,200,000.
There have been approximately

  • 24 of them were between 100,000 and 998,000
  • 16 sales between 1,038,000 and 1,995,000
  • 1 sale at 2.295
  • 1 sale at 3.2 million

It usually takes till end of June to see this number of sales. Buyers clearly remain very active.

So far, 2022 has seen those higher list prices in the very few new listings that intermittently pop onto the market. Sales are very strong in residential homes below a million. Waterfronts, however, are also again catching serious interest, regardless of price point.

salt spring island hotel

Almost Summer…

So: very early April…yes, real Spring and “almost Summer” dance us through this month of an ever flowering season.

In spite of worries and unclear outcomes, with supply chain and inflationary pressures, with outbursts of wars in seemingly distant regions, in spite of diminishing buyer opportunities as real estate inventory remains extraordinarily low, in spite of struggles to keep covid outbreaks low and personal connections coming forward, in spite of changes as the digital world takes precedence and business practices must keep up with changes…in spite of shift and re-creation of how we now exist…early April sings the song of calm and ease. What does this mean for Salt Spring Island Real Estate?

Thinking of Salt Spring or a Gulf Island? The Islands Trust, a provincial government form of governance, in place since 1974, with a mandate to preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, ensures growth controls (via strict zoning/bylaws). More info? Contact me. Contained and controlled growth are important concepts in the Gulf Islands. This also means a consistent low inventory, regardless of market trend in play.

Early April. An invitation to emerge from winter’s cocoon and to allow enjoyment of the natural world to frame our longer days. We can (and should) give ourselves permission to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.