Salt Spring Island, March 2024, Market Analysis

Welcome to March: A Transition to Spring

March…it unleashes Spring. Meteorological Spring arrives on March 1st and the calendar signals the 20th.

Does it come in like a lion or a lamb? A mixed month weather-wise, but that 8 seconds more of daylight every day is delivering extended light and the upcoming daylight saving time change is a factor.

Real Estate and Seasonality in the Gulf Islands

March…it also signals the beginning of the real estate market’s Gulf Island seasonality…March Break (mid-month) to Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend (mid-October) are often described as “the season” for Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands.


Current Market Overview

Sales certainly take place throughout the year, but it does seem that the March to October timeline encourages tourism, real estate exploration, decisions to buy…for the whole Pacific Northwest Coast, including in the secondary home/recreational environment of the Gulf Islands.

The very beginning of this March arrives humming the same tune that has characterized the real estate market on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands since Fall, 2023…a lack of inventory. Most owners do not want to sell.

The two year pause in buyer action (2022 & up to November 2023) did not see a spill-out of listings. The rise in interest rates may have caused some of that pause period, and kept some owners from selling at a low action period, but perhaps a bigger reason for fewer listings might be the fact that a potential seller can’t find a property to move to. Low inventory is a coastal issue. No one wants to be “houseless”.

All levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal) are struggling with the lack of available housing, right across Canada. Strong immigration puts further pressure on housing. Owners not wanting to sell are perhaps also wanting to retain the safe haven they already own…perhaps as a hard asset hold to preserve capital. For a Gulf Island, under the governance of the Islands Trust, the Trust capped growth…there will always be a lower growth and a regulated model in place (the Trust has been in charge since 1974)

.Acreage on Salt Spring Island, BC

Low inventory coupled with buyer desire does lead to price escalation. By late April, we may see this market trend fully back in play. There will be a provincial election in October and efforts are being made to create housing…such concepts would not be available for two plus years and might only add seven to ten thousand units. It seems that low inventory will remain a housing crisis issue, whether buying or renting.

Real Estate Listings Overview

  • At the very beginning of March, there are 74 residential listings on Salt Spring, not separating out single family, townhomes, waterfront, lots, view, acreages, farms, and ranging from $254,900 to $11,975,000.
  • At the very beginning of March, there are 30 land listings for sale on Salt Spring, not separating out waterfront, acreages, lots, view options, and ranging from $229,000 to $3,999,000.
  • At the very beginning of March, there have been 18 sales to date…a mix of residential and land…and ranging from $128,000 to $9,900,000.
  • As buyers will tell you: there is little to choose in a purchase. Creativity is required, if a buyer.

March Activities and Events

March: longer days, with a mix of left-over winter and almost spring weather, bulbs and early shrubs flowering forward, gallery openings that showcase new works, live music venues to enjoy, season re-opening of Hastings House, Home & Garden show weekend (thank you Windsor), and an early Easter Weekend (the last weekend of the month). Saturday Market-in-the Park season smiles hello. (Enjoy the newly reconfigured Centennial Park). Seek out the March presentations at ArtSpring…the Arts are alive and well on Salt Spring. Check out special menus at our great restaurants and coffee stops. Spa retreats, beachcombing discoveries, hiking/walking trails to meander…time to wake up with the season.

March sings the song of Spring. Welcome!