July 2010 | Salt Spring Island
Here we are, at the midpoint of the year, and in the heart of our narrow sales window.
Although it’s a “seasonless market”, in the sense that people do randomly turn up throughout the year, and do buy properties at any point in the calendar year, it’s also a fact that the bulk of the physicality (actually on island, viewing, and not just phoning or emailing) does take place between end of June and middle of October. Offers may be made in November, December, even January of following year, but the viewings most likely took place in that short (but intense) “summer season”. From mid-July to mid-September can be the busiest “grid of activity”.
Throughout 2009, and the first months of 2010, the “rural areas” (Vancouver Island, outside of Victoria, Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, and B.C. Interior communities) did not experience the uptick seen in Vancouver and in parts of Victoria throughout 2009/early 2010.
The sales that did take place on the Islands, in 2009, were mainly in the entry level residential price category.
Undeveloped land, commercial, and upper tier pricings, residentially, remained without action.
On June 8th of this year, a “click of change” occurred.
Suddenly, the emails and phone calls became very active, and physicality began to follow, a good 3 weeks earlier than “the norm”.
All property types were suddenly finding interest with potential buyers, and in all price ranges. A sign, perhaps, that a healthier market pattern is just beginning?
Fear can “stop” action (and I do think this was the outcome of the “fear market”, unleashed by the economic meltdowns in Fall, 2008, in all discretionary areas. It was “global”. The buyer simply stopped acting).
Fear can also propel action. If the fear of cash becoming valueless continues, combined with a “safe haven” search, this blending of a desire for physical safety with a preservation of capital concern may drive forward a hard asset purchase wave.
This kind of fear, then, may be what lies behind the growing interest in ownership on Salt Spring Island and on the other Gulf Islands.
We are very lucky, here. A temperate climate (vineyards, olives, apple orchards, organic gardens galore), a scenically beautiful area with easy access (ferry and floatplane) to major centres, a year round lifestyle that allows for a community based ethic, and the Islands Trust control of growth, with its government designated mandate of “to preserve and protect”.
Nothing is ever totally perfect, but life on Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands does seem “practically perfect”.
Markets go up, go down, rarely are at “even”, and are always in flux.
The only certainty in life is change, as Heraclitus reminded us, centuries ago, in Ancient Greece.
The internet age has delivered huge societal shift, which continues as we speak. No business will remain untouched by the technology revolution that is the inevitable outcome of the digital age, post-internet. Culture is affected by such major shifts, and we all become different, as a people, as we respond to the challenges of change.
Within that broader societal shift, with its own dynamics, we have the more insular shifts of our real estate marketplace. That rhythm now seems to be experiencing an uptick in interest/activity. Important to be tracking the “now”, in any market driven business. One has to be in the immediacy of the moment — the past is not to be relied on, as a “given”. The future isn’t clear. The “now” of the market appears to be showing an uptick.
Hmm…sounds a little Zen, doesn’t it…”be in the moment”…maybe that’s the real message of this 21st century post-internet shift?
If you’re looking for up to the minute information on Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands properties, please call me!