Tag Archives: oceanfront properties

Market Analysis, August 2018, Salt Spring Island

August 2018, Salt Spring

The Mid-way Point

The first of August reminds us all that summer-summer is at the mid-way point.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Well, for those with school-age children that’s certainly the case…summer is over with the back-to-school ads.

The calendar, though, says summer ends on September 20th.

The real estate market on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands became a summer/fall market, some years back. Many sales take place between August and December. So…for real estate, summer and fall remain busy.

Sellers who panic when July folds into August need to remember that the main business on Salt Spring is just ramping up.

And what about that business? Thin inventory in any property type below one million is a fact. Prices have stabilized. There are both small bidding wars and back-up offers.

Although the market segment between one and three million is a slower paced sales pattern, that more affluent buyer also tends to turn up from August on. There is also a growing interest in estate style properties between 2 and 5 million (Canadian Dollars).

No matter the property type or the price point, the inventory is the thinnest I can remember, since 2003.

Salt Spring Islands Trust

Salt Spring is governed by the Islands Trust. This provincial body was formed in 1974, with the mandate “to preserve and protect” the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents. This cap on growth maintains a pleasing and community based lifestyle. A “yesteryear” experience coupled with everything required for a 21st Century life…a winning combination. It’s also a reminder of Economics 101: low supply coupled with high buyer demand create price increases.

Sellers and realtors do not create markets…buyers do that. The Gulf Islands were in an almost nine year downturn (late October, 2008 to mid-2016), as a result of the economic meltdowns of late 2008. Buyers vanished in those downturn years, and sellers lingered on the market…price reductions did not generate action. That was the classic buyer’s market (lots of listings and no buyers).

Now, we are in the classic seller’s market in the recreational/secondary home marketplace of the Gulf Islands: low inventory and lots of buyers. During the slow recovery of mid 2016 to late 2017, there was a sales volume increase in that entry level residential segment.

At the moment, as we start into August, most buyers are seeking residential options between 650,000 and 1.3 million. In waterfronts, we are seeing interest between one and three million. With the main part of our sales window still before us, there is an expectation that we may be looking towards significant price increases by 2019. If so, it will be based on continuing lack of inventory and the continuing return of buyer interest.

Government-Induced “Pauses”

There have been many government-induced “pauses” during the current slow market recovery. It is true that in all areas, city or rural, there is a lack of affordable housing and/or work rental options. Salt Spring struggles with this, too.

The current provincial government has turned to taxing an owner’s asset (their primary or secondary home) via severe taxation measures, in an attempt to create both affordable homes and a rental stock….this does not alleviate the problem. It may actually make things worse.

Vancouver is experiencing these taxation measures and the Lower Mainland market outcomes do affect the Gulf Islands. (The Gulf Islands are exempt from the vacancy tax, because they are part of the Islands Trust).

Yes, in 1974 the then provincial government capped growth on every Gulf Island…now, in 2018, we see the outcome of this 1974 decision…never a lot of listings and varying buyer desire patterns…it keeps choices lower and prices higher. In 2017, Salt Springers voted (63%) to retain the Trust, without change, as the form of governance.

Where do these buyers for the Gulf Islands come from? In the early 2000s, we saw a lot of buyers from Alberta and the U.S. After the economic crash of late 2008, this buyer profile disappeared.

The recovery that slowly began in 2016 was driven by Vancouver sellers. The Vancouver area still supplies most of the buyers on Salt Spring. This is why we pay attention to the real estate rhythms of Vancouver…those sellers have become our buyers. Any market cooling there will affect sales here.

Any questions about the changes to the Real Estate Services Act of B.C., which came into being on June 15? Call me.

January 2012, Salt Spring Island Market Analyses

January 2012, Salt Spring Island Market Analyses

Happy New Year!

I think many people will be glad to see the back of 2011…we may look back a few years from now and decide that 2011 was the key year in the societal shift that has been underway since 2000. Key in the sense that change erupted in all spheres & all at once…political, economic, societal, and personal…you name it, it will have changed, shifted, evolved, erased…and what about the newly created? 2011 seemed to be the year all elements conspired.

The economic downturn of October, 2008, global in its impact, broadened from the housing bubble to the banks and to Wall Street. Now it has further expanded to the geopolitical level. Nothing is exempt…the Arab Spring, the Eurozone meltdowns, the economy continuing to wallow in the doldrums, the power of the consumer of services restlessly angry…think about the now global Occupy Movement & the new Russian dissatisfaction with potentially rigged elections…plus wars & rumours of wars & unrest in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, DR Congo…shift everywhere!

In change lies opportunity…well, yes, but the speed of change is the unknown. The internet’s binary rhythm (on/off, act/react) can occur in an eyelid’s blink. In the past, change was a much slower animal…in some cases, it was possible to think through a shift and to reposition.

Today, our technology has erased time, and instant responses are demanded. Flexibility has become an essential. Twitter’s immediacy gets data out there asap, and the reaction to it is just as immediate.

What about our editing function? Important to turn all that undifferentiated data into worthwhile information…what’s important/what not?

I like to save my projections till later in the month…so many trajectories underway: the uncertain outcome of the bid to save the euro world, the worry about the U.S. ability to restructure & move forward, the concern over outcomes in North Korea, the potential for unrest in China, the continuing dilemmas of terrorism & sectarian violence in Africa & in the Islamic world, and the potential for unrest in Russia. Important, I think, to digest the effects of the last quarter of 2011, and to see what the winds of change are blowing our way in the first quarter of 2012. Perhaps the real beginning to a new year is in early March?

Hmmm…the Chinese lunar new year is earlier this year, arriving at the close of this month, and heralding the Year of the Dragon. Sounding fiery?

Important at such moments of flux to remember what is important…to be thoughtful with our nearest & dearest, to be inclusive & remember those on their own or needing a helping hand, to take time to eat healthily, to walk that 15 minutes a day, to admire a beautiful day, to breathe deeply and to calm that rapid fear-based breath. Read more, less t.v. Move away from the virtual world and take five in the reality check zone. Learn something new…how about a foreign language? A humbling experience & a way to keep the mind active!

It’s the start of a New Year, with everything before us, second chances & new discoveries…let’s take five and accept the challenge.

Oh, yes…the real estate market…well, I think it’s hard asset investment time again, and that those who can will seek safe havens…both as a way to preserve capital and for personal safety/sustainability. Regions such as the Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island will be on the shopping list. Inventory is medium, interest rates remain historically low, prices have reduced around 30 to 35 % between 2007 and now…sellers are highly motivated, allowing for further reductions at the point of an offer. An ideal time to be a buyer…. It may be that we are entering year seven of a seven to ten year cycle, and thus are already slowly on the way up…. Hmmm. Wish I could find where I put that crystal ball!

More information? Call me!

December, 2011, Salt Spring Island, BC

December, 2011.

The end of the year is a time to both look back, as a kind of summing up, with the benefit of hind-sight, and also a time to look forward, to dare a little, to make some projections.

The hind-sight part:

On looking back, it’s clear that entry level residential was the flavour of the month, IF a buyer could be encouraged to act. When I look at the “solds to date” info, for 2011, I can see that the bulk of the sales have been below $650,000. What doesn’t show on my “solds to date” info is the price reduction track…it only shows last list price plus the sold price. (Please call me for this definitive list…other solds info might be Board specific…mine shows the total sales picture).

The sales over $800,000 (few of them) tended to be waterfront options…many needing work to the dwellings…not move in ready…or, perhaps cottage/retreat, not “house” options.

In a down market, both fine oceanviews and undeveloped land options suffer.

When pricings come down by 30% (this is what appraisers surmise, between mid-2007 & present day), then the spread between fixer upper oceanfront and fine oceanview narrows. We are an island, and so the first choice is always oceanfront. Buyers will pick up a fixer-upper before they will view a state of the art oceanview option…ah, the water, the water!

The lack of interest in undeveloped land choices, no matter how delectable, even superb oceanfront options, is another indicator of a downmarket moment.

In a secondary home/discretionary marketplace (which describes Salt Spring Island & all Gulf Islands, plus Vancouver Island outside of core Victoria, the Sunshine Coast, & many of the B.C. Interior communities) no one “has to” buy anything…it’s all by choice, and the buyer is in control of the entire process, both the “where” and the “when” of all purchases.

In a downmarket, a buyer can put a second home, a recreational, a retirement choice “on hold”, thus.

An entry level price point purchase is either an opportunity for a local to buy (3 bed/2 bath home is the desire) or an investor looking for rental income might also act. It’s not necessarily an end user.

So, that’s the hind-sight view: for the past three years, the activity has been in entry level residential. The price of this has come up from $400,000 to $650,000, however, and this is a good sign.

No interest in undeveloped land (no one looking for a holding property, no one looking to build), no interest in businesses or in commercial/investment options, and little interest in the upper end residential pricings (any sales, and very few of them, saw huge price reductions at the point of the offer, even after significant price reductions en route to the sale)…typical scenario, then, of a downmarket syndrome in a discretionary area.

It seems to be widely agreed now that the U.S. Recession had begun in 2007. It’s also evident now that secondary home/discretionary areas, and globally so, had flattened in 2006. The Wall Street Journal, in January 2007, noted that all discretionary markets had become stable/inactive in 2006…meaning that inventory & pricing was stable & buyers were inactive. This inactive buyer scenario has been in place, in secondary home/resort based areas, from 2006 to present day.

Are we then in year six of a seven year cycle, and thus already on our way up?

Hmmm…wish someone could produce the crystal ball!

It is true that we are in a time of huge shift, and societally so. Economics is the pied piper, and the continuing geopolitical meltdowns continue. No business is exempt from the effects of the Internet, which has placed decisions in the consumer’s hand, and also has opened up the factor that someplace is now in competition with everyplace, re real estate options. It’s almost a given that if something “worked”, in business, even five years ago, it won’t now. No roadmap, then.

Downgrading of the U.S., Eurozone incipient collapses, the rise of China, the bailouts (money being printed?), earthquakes that cause economic loss as well as lives, severe weather problems, Arab Spring revolutions that upset 30 & 40 year patterns, the re-emergence of an autocratic Russia, etc etc etc…no place is exempt from the repercussions of change.

It used to be said that real estate was local…this is less and less true. The post-Internet world is the world of the meshed global village, and every place is affected and is in competition with every other place.

Different days!

The projection part?

Ah…now that is a daring thing to attempt, in this cloudy time of uncertainty. Would we call this moment the Age of Insecurity?

Let’s dare:

– if we are in year six of a seven year cycle then we should notice thinning inventory and increasing sales, perhaps by Spring, 2012.

– when inventory of good properties thins, and the buyer sees good value in buying real estate, most likely to preserve capital, then prices will start to rise.

– the sale of undeveloped land choices may signal this shift of market dynamics. If good residential inventory thins, then it makes better sense to seek land deals and to build, rather than to renovate severely a so-so option.

– with the continued bailouts, inflation may be the outcome to the past four years of maybe yes (inflation) / maybe no (deflation) debates. If so, buyers may choose discretionary real estate again, as that preservation of capital move…unique properties will be their quest.

– people may also look again at smaller communities, well apart from big city pressures…where sustainability is possible. The recent occupy movements, which crystalized diffuse anger, may encourage a seeking of a safe haven….

An aging population, a desire for a gentler lifestyle, a seeking of a location that offers the ability to enjoy the pleasures of life in the wired world of the 21st Century while still retaining the bliss of a “yesteryear” experience (of appeal to a young family), where all strata of a population and all demographics mingle…sounds a lot like a search for Salt Spring Island, or a nearby Southern Gulf Island…temperate climate, sustainable lifestyle, educational opportunities, rich cultural options, in the heart of the best protected boating waters in the world…it is special.

How may I help you to discover this lovely area? Benefit from my expertise and knowledge, of both inventory and of market trends. A full time and full service real estate agent, successfully connecting sellers with buyers, since 1989, I await your call.

How may I help you to buy your Salt Spring Island or Southern Gulf Island property?

November 2011, Salt Spring Island, BC

Creative Commons License

November, 2011.

At this time of year, it’s a mix of settling into a softer season, with an emphasis on holiday celebrations, with family & friends, and also a time for business planning for the following year.

I often think of November, December, January as the “fallow field” moment…we drop inward, to the root level of our lives, the surface appearing quiet, not much happening, and yet below ground there’s all that prepping for the next phase…a “getting ready for the new” time.

It’s essential to look back, to take stock…an inventory check is always important. Then it’s a plan focused on going forward, encouraging new momentum, using what still works while creating new paths.

This is a very buoyant shift moment in time, with a technology explosion that continues to erase old business models…anyone of us is capable of rewriting the business plan in order to be creatively current.

A good idea, then, to use this fallow field segment in our year, to make sure we’re swimming in the pool of now, and not hanging onto past methodologies. That means making sure all our systems are proactively using technology and that we are also reconfiguring our systems to benefit the consumer.

The consumer is now enabled and is in control of information outcomes. It’s a pull forward concept, not a push out plan. Profound shift….

Global economic uncertainties abound, still. Perhaps the insecure scenario is the surround sound for our time…perhaps shift, instability, upheaval, change is the ground we now walk upon? Important, then, to remember to “flow”…trying to stop a flood means we’ll be swept under. “Go with the flow” was the old hippie ethic, and it’s one to remember.

A good idea to go for a 15 minute walk, every day, to experience physical movement in the natural world. At this time of year, where trees are stripped of leaves and nature is pared down to its essentials, we can be inspired to be thoughtful and so to catch at our particular pathway forward. This kind of rhythmic pause is a form of walking meditation, and may be helpful in awakening our editing function.

Easter Island Ahu Tongariki

Easter Island

In change lies opportunity. We need to be a little quieter so “our” opportunity can come forward…this fallow field moment at year’s end allows us to calm, and then to go forward, renewed. That’s when we will notice our individual opportunities.

Big picture concerns out there, of course…government bailouts, debt defaults, currency instability worries, societal breakdowns, deflation vs inflation arguments, and at the end of October, the seven billionth human was born. Food, water, a safe place to live, health care, education…the same needs to be met, for all of us. In Africa, the bulk of the population is under 16. Interesting….

So important, though, to practice peripheral vision, and not to fall into the tunnel vision encouraged by the “shout media”. Peripheral vision captures the creative response that leads to discovery and that is the pathway out of fear. A time of shift/change is unsettling…remember the mantra: go with the flow.

In this lovely Pacific Northwest Coast area, we are lucky to be surrounded by natural beauty, in a protected & still quite pristine region…remembering the attitude of gratitude is important at this time of year, too.

Looking to relocate to a Salt Spring Island or a Southern Gulf Island or Southern Vancouver Island property? Call me! Good choice of properties in all prices/types, continuing low interest rates, prices reduced substantially over the past three years, a very pleasing lifestyle opportunity…a time to step forward, as a buyer.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge, of both inventory and of market trends, with you…maps, information on all listed properties, links to professionals to advise on immigration & legal issues, a full service real estate experience, to benefit you. I look forward to helping you to discover this beautiful area!

How may I help you to buy your Gulf Island / Salt Spring Island property? Call me!

Creative Commons License

Salt Spring Island: Arts, Music & History

Salt Spring Island: Arts, Music & History

Well done, Birgit Freybe Bateman! 70 photographs are crated and on their way to Russia (to the Stroganoff Palace
of the Russian Museum, to be exact). This retrospective of Birgit Bateman’s amazingly evocative and thoughtful photography is called: “Mindful Vision”. On Island, we’ve been lucky to view Birgit’s work at such presentations as ArtSpring’s “Photosynthesis” show. The “Mindful Vision” show will be seen during the peak tourist season, between July 2 and August 30.

Salt Spring Woodworks has had a name change: same location and same beautiful offerings, just a re-name to Duthie Gallery. A physical change to the gallery itself mirrors the name change. The evocative Summer Lights exhibit will be back in July/August, Thursday to Monday, 9 to 11 p. m. Currently, the gallery is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or by appointment.

Alan Gerber plays Moby’s tonight, a dinner music show, $12 cover charge, show at 8 p.m. It’s a WOW…wave if you see me!

Saturday, May 14th, it’s an opening reception at Starfish Gallery in Grace Point Square…featuring Susan Haigh and introducing Beverly Chicoine. Show runs from May 14 to June 4th.

Mark your calendars: Viva Voce performs at ArtSpring, Saturday, May 28th, 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 29th, 2 p.m. Conductor: Debbie Toole, accompanist: Chris Kodaly.

House concert, May 14th, with John and Michelle Law: folk, bluegrass, acoustic country. RSVP to 250-537-1059, plus ticket info.

ArtSpring benefit on Saturday night: Joy Kogawa will read from her lifetime of award-winning creative work, at ArtSpring Gallery. MC will be Briony Penn. The evening is presented by the Land Conservancy of B.C. Doors open at 6:30.

Tonight is a very important evening at Mahon Hall. The Salt Spring Arts Council‘s steering committee for a new arts school will present a distillation of recent community conversations at a wrap up session. Starts at 6:30…see you there!

Don Conley presents Back to Bach…the last presentation of Simply Organic, for the Spring season. Don will explore the development of the concerto form during the Baroque period, which was a time of flowering of emerging musical forms. Mark your calendar: May 18th, 10:10 a.m., at All Saints by the Sea. Lucky Islanders, to have this in our midst!

This Saturday, the Salt Spring Island branch of SPCA invites the community to an animal-themed day of fun. From noon to 4 p.m., at location below Gulf Islands Veterinary Clinic. Check this fund-raiser out!

Live music venues: Harbour House Hotel, Friday, Saturday, Sunday! Moby’s Oyster Bar (Alan Gerber tonight). Treehouse Cafe…tonight, catch Peter Prince. Friday, it’s the so talented Billie Woods. The 111 nights of live music (Music Under The Stars) begins in May 16th!

The Salt Spring Forum presents Maher Arar, at ArtSpring, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. He speaks on Democracy, Human Rights, and the Middle East. Call ArtSpring for ticket info.

Lots to see and to do…enjoy the Spring Season!

Beauty and Manor down by the Seashore on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island Real Estate’s finest Seashore properties

Seashore Beauty

Spectacular masterpiece property in two titles! Totally irreplaceable, and located at Salt Spring Island’s special “south end”.

Beautiful West Coast Contemporary jewel, lovingly created by the artist owner (Canada’s renowned wildlife painter, Robert Bateman).

Manor by the Seashore

Manor by the Seashore

The home (designed by H. Schubart, who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright) offers oceanside living & dining, a country kitchen, guest wing, a lovely master/ensuite with superb views, and an incredibly appealing studio/office “wing”. Storage areas, den alcoves (read or ponder life from these “withdrawing spaces“), windows on “coastal forest” scenes or on ocean vistas, plus a separate studio/suite (guest? nanny?)…it allows one to actively pursue both a family life, an entertaining focus, and an artistic enterprise.

Wood floors, expansive windows, skylights…easy access to the crushed shell cove and to the kayak/canoe “boathouse” (a driftwood gem) — many unique aspects, here, that you will enjoy.

Manor by the Seashore

A beautiful oceanfront acreage (4+ acres), offering spectacular ocean / islands / mountain viewscapes! Coastal forest with meadow areas, & a pleasing driveway that meanders through the forest charm, to arrive at the “west coast contemporary” home. Enjoy a lovely walk on beach with warm ocean swimming (sunsets forever!). There is a terrific studio space (artist? home occupation?), with adjacent guest “suite”. The plus? A double garage, at house level, and a separate oversize garage & workshop, positioned along the entrance driveway (perfect for boat storage or for those classic cars!).