The Seasonal Shift on Salt Spring Island
March brings meteorological Spring (early) and calendar Spring (later…the 20th signals the change of season) and this year also welcomes a later local March Break. The days are visibly longer, gardens and orchards show us the seasonal shift, and whispers of real Spring/almost Summer are everywhere.
It is a time to shake ourselves awake from winter’s cocoon message, and allow the season’s ease to invite us to also flower forward.
Yes, clean those windows, gift on things no longer needed, sort out the office (real or at home), and switch up the menus from soups to salads. You know the drill…time to welcome Spring with fresh thoughts and tidy spaces and new possibilities.
What about the real estate market at this very beginning of March? The buyer interest in real estate in secondary home/recreational/rural regions remains very high. IF owners become sellers, it is possible to achieve the asking price and perhaps even be in an “over ask” bidding war outcome.
Is Buyer Interest Still High? Depends.
That said, there have been recent sales that saw price reductions at the point of the sale. Does this mean a mixed market is evolving? Or simply that existing inventory requires serious renovations and the buyers are noting and making offers based on this necessary upgrade perception?
I always think the tone of a year for real estate sales in secondary home markets takes till March Break/Easter to be visible. The first two months of a year seem to carry on the last two months of the previous year.
What are some Signals of Market Conditions on Salt Spring Island?
There are always signals, though, that remind us that nothing ever stays the same, no matter if up or down conditions are in play. The key to everything right now is the continuing lack of inventory, just when buyers are plentiful. If this dynamic of low product and high demand continues, we will see price escalation in any infrequent new listings.
What are buyers hoping to find? Some are looking for acreage, ability to have a garden, maybe some animals (chickens? sheep? goats?). Some are seeking waterfront and, if boaters, a dock. Some just want a view (we are an island, and they want to see that ocean). Others just hope to find sunny privacy, with a sense of calm. They all want internet connectivity. In most cases, it’s a lifestyle rewrite…whether coming with children or couples seeking softer retirement opportunities.
What about those few sellers? Perhaps it’s downsizing or moving closer to children/grandchildren elsewhere, or perhaps they might even reconsider a return to urban if retiring from an earlier retirement island dream. If a purely recreational/cottage property, maybe it’s no longer used by the family. The key to letting go? The feeling that covid is erasing and it might now be safe to return to busier and more crowded environments.
Salt Spring Island Market Statistics, March 2022
At the moment, buyers hugely outweigh sellers, and that creates the “over ask” situations.
- 39 residential listings. They are listed between 129,900 and 14,000,000
- 13 are below one million, 10 are between one and two million
- 5 are between two and three million
- 4 are between three and four million
- 1 is between four and five million
- 3 are between six and seven million
- 1 is at 11+ million and
- 2 are at 14,000,000
(Two of them are mobiles in an adult park where one does not own the pad. Four of them are completion units in a townhome development and not yet built).
- 19 land listings
- 12 are below one million
- 5 are between one and two million
- 1 is between 2 and 3 million
- 1 is at 4+ million (a 16 acre working farm parcel).
In a more balanced market, there can be a total of 280 listings (including both residential and land options). Right now, we have a total of 58 listings.
There have been approximately
- 27 sales to date
- 17 sales below one million and
- approximately 10 sales between one and two million.
(Note: I update market conditions throughout the month via my regular blog entries).
The short supply of listings (and the continuing strong buyer demand) is the scenario in all communities right now. It is another reason why owners in our area are reluctant to list…they can’t find an option in the region they might move to, and do not want to find themselves “houseless”.
Local rules & Regulations to think about
The three levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal) need to rethink their permit process/regulations and also consider helping developers create purpose-built rental and affordable housing opportunities. Supply is always the key to markets. Taxation of existing does not open up healthy buyer or rental outcomes.
On Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, which are not municipalities, and which are under the governance of the provincial government body known as the Islands Trust, a reinterpretation of some zonings may be needed. Costs of housing and lack of supply are top of mind right across Canada. Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are not immune to these pressures.
Hmmm….to protect and preserve the Gulf Islands beauty and rural lifestyle, while encouraging young families to come and so to service that lifestyle, it will require thoughtful outcomes from the people already here. On Salt Spring? Bring your ideas to some of the groups and committees working to keep the Islands their beautiful and thoughtful selves, while also creating present and future opportunities.