October 2019, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Fulford Harbor, Salt Spring Island, BC

October begins…real Fall is with us.

On Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, real estate sales continue throughout this last quarter of the year.

Salt Spring is “seasonless” for real estate…many transactions often take place between early October and year end. Perhaps buyers viewed earlier, but they act in the Fall.

Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands became strong Fall sales windows several years ago.

At the beginning of October, then, we have 117 residential listings (not separating out townhomes, waterfronts, farms…simply a residential category).

Market Statistics

  • 62 are listed between 239,000 (a Brinkworthy Park mobile) and 998,000 (a renovated tidal waterfront cottage-home).
  • 42 of these are listed between 1,020,000 (an updated character home on 10 acres) and 1,999,900 (a cottage on 30 acres on Blackburn Lake).
  • 9 residential listings are between 2,150,000 (architect designed waterfront) and 2,999,900 (two adjacent waterfront
  • lots, architect designed home).
  • 2 of the listings are 3,499,000 (for a view home with cottage on 4.95 acres) and 3,895,000 (waterfront home with studio).
  • 1 listing is an 84 acre farm, potential subdivision possibility, asking 6,688,900.

At the beginning of October there are 90 land listings (lots or acreages…not separating out waterfront or farms)actively on the market.

  • 28 of these are listed between 148,800 and 299,000.
  • 25 parcels are listed between 309,000 and 499,000.
  • 30 properties are listed between 519,000 and 995,000.
  • 5 parcels are listed between 1,020,000 and 1,395,000.
  • 2 are over 2 million asking (2,150,000 and 2,495,000…both are very large waterfront acreages).

At the beginning of October, the solds to date number 125:

  • 35 were selling between 125,000 and 494,000.
  • 18 sales were between 515,000 and 589,000.
  • 15 sales were between 601,000 and 699,000.
  • 13 sales between 712,000 and 794,000.
  • 10 sales took place between 800,000 and 894,000.
  • 7 sales took place between 900,000 and 950,000.
  • 26 sales between 1,000,000 and 1,837,500.

Of these

  • 13 were waterfronts.
  • 8 of these were very large acreages/farms.
  • 17 of the 26 sales over a million sold below 1.275.
  • 3 of the 26 sales over a million sold between 1.375 and 1.438.
  • 6 sold between 1.6 and 1.837,000.

There was 1 sale over 2 million (a waterfront point that reduced from 3.1 to 2.6, and sold for 2.3 (in late September).

Chasing Down the Market. Helpful?

We have two natural annual pause periods in our secondary home/discretionary market. One is late May/early June. The second is late August. A local real estate company severely reduced prices on almost all their company listings, in early June. Other companies did not follow suit. The same company further severely reduced their company listings in late August…and another company did follow suit. The same company brought in further reductions in mid-September. It appears that only two such reduced listings have sold (in September).

The listing inventory remains very thin. Generally, Salt Spring might see between 380 and 420 residential listings available (residential and land). As we begin October, we have a total of 207 listings for a buyer to consider. As soon as a buyer criteria includes price and type, the scarcity of listings is very apparent.

Taxation & Policy Measures

It is clear that the various taxation measures from the provincial government, in 2018/2019, to suppress real estate markets in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, have worked.

The Vancouver market had been the main propeller of a sales recovery in the Gulf Islands (between early 2016 & early 2018)…it was the same in all the secondary home markets. The further faltering in Vancouver, because of provincial government tax interventions, directly affected sales on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands. More information? Call me.

Patience is Key

Patience on the part of a seller is always necessary in all secondary home markets. The buyer has to first choose “for” a specific location before deciding on a property. Time lags are a part of this view/think/choose/buy scenario. When government measures intrude, time delays can further escalate.

So…going forward? In spite of the provincial government’s suppression measures, there seems to be a resurgence in Vancouver sales activity. Geopolitics create larger markets and no area is immune to events in Asia, Europe, Americas. Coastal B.C. and the city of Vancouver offer a pleasing destination. A Vancouver seller remains the principal buyer in the secondary home areas.

Meantime: October brings lovely crisp days, mingled with rainy weather patterns. It’s a Harvest season on special Salt Spring. The Saturday Market and the Tuesday Market are still occurring. The Canadian Thanksgiving in mid-month, special harvest menus at our great restaurants, farm-gate stands are open, the annual Sip & Savour takes place (showcasing local fare), and music and theatre presentations are underway (ArtSpring, Folk Club). SSNAP (Salt Spring National Art Prize) continues (Mahon Hall). Wine tastings, cideries, craft brewery…live music venues in Ganges…and hiking/walking trails beckon. Enjoy!

Seeking a property on special Salt Spring? Benefit from my knowledge and expertise. How may I help you to discover and to buy your Gulf Island property gem? Call me.