Feb 2016, Market Analysis

Welcoming in an Early Spring

February welcomes very early Spring on the great Pacific Northwest coast. Depending where one finds oneself, there are snowdrops, crocus, early rhododendrons, early flowering ornamental cherry trees, all whispering the promise of real Spring to come.

Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands are nestled in the rain shadow of the much larger Vancouver Island, and this positioning in the Salish Sea (the historic name for Georgia Strait) delivers a temperate micro-climate to the Gulf Islands.

Vineyards, olive groves, orchards, cideries, craft breweries, small sustainable farms…the arable opportunities on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are a part of their allure. Trees and succulents grow here that are also found in California.

Connect this temperate climate to a form of governance that controls growth & limits development (Islands Trust), & in a region that attracts a strong artistic base (Salt Spring is renowned as an artists community), and you have a very alluring place to visit…and to live. In the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world, the scenic beauty and serenity are further reasons to discover yourself here.

Market Trends

February also brings, for market trends, the beginning signature of this still New Year.

Real estate in secondary home/discretionary regions, & globally so, experienced a severe downturn between late 2008 & late 2014. No one has to buy a second home or a recreational choice, in disturbing economic times.

Salt Spring Island

For Salt Spring & the Gulf Islands, in Fall of 2014, a slow recovery began. This rhythm slowly and consistently continued throughout 2015. As inventory thinned out, prices began to stabilize and the spread between list and sale pricings began to narrow.

Let the Season Begin

Now, here we are, poised at the beginning of 2016’s trend-line, for our seasonal marketplace. For our discretionary area, it often takes until April to catch the real tone of the year.

In our authentic global village, no place is immune to global economic and societal pressures and outcomes. Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are not protected from issues affecting both Canada and the international community.

Huge population shifts in Europe, continuing suppression of oil and commodity prices, a stock market with a richochet pattern, currency stresses world-wide, an argument between deflation and inflation that brings brief stale-mate, a tech based world that has almost erased all vestiges of late 20th Century models…and is now delivering societal outcomes post-tech (think Uber, Airbnb). Still no road-map for easy decisions and an erosion of capital. Hmmm….

Canada On Sale

Canada is on sale. Our dollar has reduced 30% against U.S. currency, for example. It may be tracking to a 40% spread. For a buyer from U.S., U.K., Europe, & China, our real estate is hugely affordable.

In difficult economic times, without a blueprint for action, investors often turn to unique real estate purchases as a way to preserve capital. Will that be the outcome in 2016? Will real estate purchases solidly return to rural and recreational regions? If so, locally we should see the very beginnings of this return to specialty real estate by March/April. Stay tuned.

Meantime, we need to take the image of this Chinese Lunar New Year (starts on February 8th) to heart: the Year of the Monkey. An image of playful activity? Apparently a time of exciting discoveries/inventions…but also a time of turbulence/revolutionary zeal. Hmmm…a time to be nimble, perhaps. Sounds like more change, in any case.

Every good story has a beginning/middle/end…this transition market, between a down & an up market trend, appears to be drawing to a close. It may take until May, in our specific Gulf Islands region, to see the uptrend fully in place. A seller’s market is noted as having lots of buyers & very little inventory. We appear to be on the way to this eventuality.

No matter the market trend in play, at any given moment, there is always opportunity. Whether selling or buying, I look forward to bringing my knowledge, experience, expertise to your benefit.