March 2016, Market Analysis

Market Recovery

Yes…it’s true…the Salt Spring Island and Gulf Islands real estate markets are on the move!

The severe downturn that afflicted all secondary home/discretionary markets (and globally so), has finally erased in our particular coastal region.

The recovery here (after an eight year downturn) is authentic.

A recovery is never even-handed…some areas saw a serious uptick in 2015 (Sunshine Coast)…now it has arrived on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Salt Spring Island
Again, some areas/islands have seen uptick sooner than some others, but it’s still early days.

I have always seen a link between a pleasing visitor experience and a real estate sale, in discretionary markets. The January article in the New York Times about their list of “the 52 best places to visit in 2016” will bring increased tourism to this region. Only two places in Canada were featured: Toronto and the Southern Gulf Islands.

The season in this Pacific Northwest Coast region is really March Break to (Canadian) Thanksgiving Weekend, in mid-October…with the busier months occurring between late May & late September.

It may take until May/June to have this dramatic improvement in real estate sales be seen “everywhere”, in this coastal environment, and to reach media reports. Late April/early May often start the busier tourism times.

Signs of an upward trending market?

  • – thinning inventory (means more buyers than listings).
  • – sale of raw land (to remain on budget, buyers will buy land and build a cottage).
  • – prices stabilizing (spread between list and sale prices narrowing…some small bidding wars).
  • – renewed interest in upper tier priced properties.

Along with renewed buyer desire to own a property on a Gulf Island or on Vancouver Island, there is the added allure of the low Canadian Dollar against the U.S. currency. There is also a strong desire on the part of buyers to be able to be self-sufficient…a societal “safe haven” seeking, perhaps?
Fewer listings and more buyers. In the end, this leads to price escalation.

The Islands Trust form of governance on the Gulf Islands essentially capped growth (in 1974) via strict zoning/density controls re development. Limited inventory always, combined with a renewed desire to own recreational property, spells a coming sellers market.

When? Perhaps by late Summer, 2016? Hmmm…the signals are all in place. Meantime, there remain good deals and good properties to consider.

This may be the end of the transitional period between a sellers and a buyers market trend line.

No matter the trend in place, at any time, there are always opportunities.

For a buyer, the time available to consider a property, once viewed, may be shortening. As we see further thinning of available inventory for sale, it’s important to “act”, if one likes a property. Sales volume remains on the increase.

If you are looking for your special Salt Spring Island, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island property, please call me. Your best interests are my motivation, always. Let’s work together and discover your Best Buy opportunity.