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Salt Spring Island, June 2022, Market Analysis

Salt Spring Real Estate Market, June 2022

Almost everyone agrees that the entire Pacific Northwest Coast (this includes Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands) is approximately six weeks behind the normal Spring weather pattern. A typical La Niña weather outcome. So…June will be May. Some forecasters say we may not see “real summer” until mid-July

Global Events & Salt Spring Island Real Estate

Meantime, the global concerns continue to roll along: wars and rumours of wars, stock market wild fluctuations, continuing pandemic concerns, supply chain disruptions, immigration pressures due to population dislocations, inflation, and the ever evolving tech changes that make some business models redundant while others become breakthrough patterns leading to the future. Well, that pretty well sums up this societal rewrite that is underway. That means individual lifestyle changes, too. Change is never easy…yet opportunity does live in change.

The lengthy covid shut-downs, with many events and businesses closed down for almost two years, did create anxiety, worry, and fear. In keeping lifestyles tamped down, out of fear, and so causing the demise of many livelihoods, quick trigger responses were also created…anger under the surface. Recovery after traumatic experiences takes time. As we hopefully continue to segue out of a closure mind-set, it’s important to be patient. It is easier to close down than to re-open. Essential to remember that we all recover from significant change differently…it is never one size fits all.

And what about real estate markets? The rush from urban to rural, brought on by the covid closures of 2020, and encouraged by the authentic ability to work from home, are still the main drivers to action in the secondary home markets.

In the main, the buyer profile on the Gulf Islands and on Vancouver Island is a Vancouver purchaser. The secondary home/recreational areas in B.C. depend on a busy Vancouver sales scenario. Pauses in that major city market create pauses in the rural outcomes. Low inventory and buyer interest still remain in place, at this time.

Residential Listings

At this very beginning of June, there are approximately 63 residential listings on Salt Spring Island, not separating out waterfronts, view, farms

  • Sixteen of these are listed between 239,000 and 995,000
  • Twenty-six of these are listed between 1,125,000 and 1,998,.000
  • Nine residential listings are between 2,100,000 and 2,890,000
  • Four are listed between 3,333,000 and 3,995,000
  • Two are listed between 4,395,000 and 4,595,000
  • Two are listed between 5,790,000 and 5,990,000
  • One is listed at 6,950,000
  • One is asking 11,975,000
  • Two are listed at 14,000,000

There are approximately 24 land listings on Salt Spring Island, at this very first of the month, not separating out waterfronts, view, farms, lots or acreages…simply undeveloped land.

  • Nineteen of these are listed between 259,000 and 998,000
  • Three are listed between 1,038,000 and 1,495,000
  • One is listed at 2,995,000
  • One is listed at 5,400,000 (a farm, three titles, 17+ acres)

Inventory Remains Low on Salt Spring Island

Inventory remains very low. There are now some price reductions on the way to a sale, unlike the consistent bidding wars seen in mid-2021, and often there are further reductions at the point of a sale. The key seems to be about the amount of remedial work that may be needed by a property listing. A step-in ready home may sell at list price…there may be more than one offer and thus sell over-ask…but this is less often than in 2021.

Salt Spring Island and the Real Estate Services Act

The frenzy of sales action occurred between February and September 2021, and buyers (perhaps out of fatigue) are more measured in 2022. In response to Vancouver’s hot market in 2021, the provincial government is bringing in further significant changes to the Real Estate Services Act, throughout B.C. These changes may be in place by summer. One such would stop blind bidding and another would enact a three day cooling off period for a buyer, after an accepted offer. Stay tuned for more definitive information on these important changes.

Was this past February the “top” in buyer activity? Perhaps for the short-term moment…it is about supply, though, and the serious lack of housing supply may continue to uphold the sellers market scenario for some substantial time yet. Low supply and the strong desire to be safe…which implies a seeking of a rural/apart lifestyle…continue to propel the Gulf Islands markets. In inflationary times, real estate is also often viewed as a hard asset that keeps pace.

Sales on Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of June, there have been approximately 80 sales to date on Salt Spring

  • Forty-six of these have sold between 100,000 and 998,000
  • Twenty-nine of these have sold between 1,038,000 and 1,995,000
  • There were four sales between 2,000,000 and 2,559,000
  • There were two sales between 3,200,000 and 3,725,000

Meantime, whether it’s a continuing late Spring as June unfolds or a quick segue into summer-summer, the natural beauty experienced at this time of year is an inspiration. In our always daily busyness, it’s important to pay attention to this lush beauty displaying around us. Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands are in the heart of some of the best protected boating waters in the world (a kayakers dream) and are located mid-way between Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle. Easy to get to, and yet wonderfully apart.

Always Opportunity on Salt Spring

There is always opportunity if you are seeking to buy or to sell a real estate holding. In these erratic times, on either side of the sales equation, creative thinking can carry the day. The Islands Trust, a provincial government body created in 1974, to preserve and protect the Gulf Islands, capped growth via strict zoning/bylaws. This ensures low inventory, regardless of market trend in play. More information on this non-municipal form of governance?

March 2022, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

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.

Salt Spring Island Animals

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.

Salt Spring Island

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.

Residential

  • 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).

Land

  • 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).

Sales

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.

November 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

November 2021, Salt Spring Island Real Estate Market

Salt Spring Island, Fall

Salt Spring Island, Fall

November…and already real estate projections are into early 2022.

More than Meets the Eye

The real estate boards and media reports note that fewer sales are taking place right now. That is the first part of this stats information…the second part is often overlooked: the reason for fewer sales is that there are less listings to sell. It is not about lack of buyer demand.

A full-on buyers market and a full-on sellers market are extremes…and are difficult at both ends.

A buyers market simply means lots of listings and very few buyers. Buyers are in charge of outcomes and sellers price reductions are a part of the scene.

A sellers market means very few listings and many interested buyers. Price escalation is often an outcome in any new infrequent listings. Scarcity with strong demand creates this. There are many disappointed buyers, all vying for one listing that meets their criteria. This has led to bidding war/“over ask” outcomes.

Salt Spring Island Fall Market Statistics

At this very beginning of November, there are 61 residential listings on Salt Spring, not separating out waterfront, view, farm…simply residential.

  • 22 of them fall between 159,900 and 998,000
  • 20 of these are listed between 1,074,000 and 1,999,995.
  • 9 are listed between 2,049,000 and 2,888,000
  • 3 property listings between 3,985,000 and 3,999,800
  • Two listings between 4,888,000 and 4,595,000
  • Two listings between 6,300,000 and 6,688,800
  • One listing at 11,975,000.
  • One listings at listings at 14,000,000

At this very beginning of November, there are 26 land listings…again, not separating out waterfronts, view, lots, acreages.

The land options range from 259,000 to 2,995,000.

At this very beginning of November,

  • 248 “solds to date”…ranging from 199,000 to 5,795,000.

There have been several “holding back offers” situations, plus bidding wars, and many “over ask” outcomes. For more detailed information, please contact me.

Salt Spring Island: Sellers or Buyers Market

Projections continue to note that buyers are seeking rural places, where working from home is feasible, and where the lifestyle offers their wish list. Projections are also noting that listing inventory will remain low…most owners do not want to be sellers. Price rises are forecast. Buyers will need to continue to put their best foot forward, to secure a desired listing.

Are people land banking? Seeking investments that will protect capital? Maybe. These are uncertain times. Also, perhaps, the draw of a rural holding, where one might be self-sufficient, has an allure.

More information? Please contact me. Whether a sellers or a buyers market, there are usually work-arounds for a buyer to consider.

November is authentic late Fall. Weather will shift from fair to storm and back again. Live music venues, craft fairs, special events, gallery openings, hiking/walking trails to explore…the softer season still delivers pleasing experiences on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. Discover!

September 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

September Brings Fall to Salt Spring Island

September. Meteorological Fall is here on the 1st and the calendar catches up on the 20th.

Along with the seasonal shift, there are continuing government mandated efforts to diminish the effects of the fourth wave of covid. Masks are again essential, vaccination passports will be law, social distancing continues in public spaces, further closures may be coming if the virus continues to remain out of control, and booster shots are being discussed.

Global concerns, wars and rumours of wars, financial hesitancies (currency concerns, interest rates, inflation)…hmmm…turbulence continues in all domains.

Low Inventory on Salt Spring Island

What about the real estate outcomes in our region? The extraordinarily low inventory of available properties continues. In residential options below a million, bidding wars can still occur. In all price points/property types, sellers are often receiving “close to” or “at list” prices. It remains a sellers market in all the coastal areas, including on the Gulf Islands.

The main propeller to action continues to be a desire for a rural lifestyle, and it is now possible to authentically work from home. A lifestyle rewrite is a factor in a buyer’s decision to move to “apart” areas. Buyers continue to be mainly from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland region. They plan to live permanently at their chosen new location.

Sellers and realtors do not set markets…buyers do that. Buyers create action and set the pace in real estate sales. As long as buyers are desiring to live on a Gulf Island, sales will remain consistent.

Autumn Leaves on Salt Spring Island

Fall is a beautiful season on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. Early Fall can be a lot like late summer, and the fruition time continues. Lots to do and to enjoy.

With the return to some Covid restrictions, any large gatherings may be reconfigured or return to online versions (check on outcome for Fall Fair, for example).

The Saturday Market and the Tuesday Farmers Market continue…the farm gate stands provide amazing fresh produce and fruits/berries. The wine tastings at Garry Oak and Salt Spring Vineyards continue…award winning wines to enjoy here. The cideries and the craft brewery invite your tasting pleasures. The largesse of the season is here to be enjoyed on special Salt Spring. A WOW!

Li Read, Salt Spring Island Realtor

Thinking of selling? Call me for up to the minute market reports and knowledge of marketing opportunities. In a sellers market, there are few choices for a serious buyer…it’s still essential to optimize presentation in rural areas. The mainly non-local buyer is looking “everywhere” and all rural areas are in competition for the same buyer profile.

Thinking of buying? It’s true that a sellers market means less choice for a buyer, though there are always options for successful connections, no matter the market trend in play. It’s important to be pre-approved and so ready to act. It’s also important to recognize the authentic diamond in the rough…and to be willing for some renovations. Land, location, light, water…all in good order? Then consider taking on a property that will need updates…those are the ones that become good investments over time. More questions? Call me!

September on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands remains an inspiring month of natural beauty…many warm days, lots of clear evenings for star watching, and an invitation to enjoy hiking/walking trails. Patio/deck dining continues to be enjoyed (our terrific restaurants and coffee stops beckon). A softer season this early Fall moment…catch it!

July 2021, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are practically perfect…

Salt Spring Island

The Suddenly, here we are at the very beginning of July.

This is now “real summer” and it’s a short season…lots to see & to do & to enjoy on Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands…always good to be a visitor in one’s home area…to remember why one chose a particular island (as a sometime destination and also as a permanent address).

These Gulf Islands are very special areas.

Nothing is ever absolutely perfect, of course, but many describe Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands as practically perfect.

Salt Spring offers a year round lifestyle (a hospital, three elementary schools, a senior school, three different regular ferry routes, regular sked floatplane service, indoor pool, theatre/arts space, and so on…very easy to go places, but one doesn’t “have to”.

So, what’s happening in the real estate market on Salt Spring at this very beginning of July?

There are 48 residential listings, not separating out waterfront, view, townhome…just residential.

  • 26 of the residential listings are between 299,000 and 998,000. (Of these, 5 are not yet built.)
  • There are 13 listings between 1.149,500 and 1,950,000.
  • There are 5 listings between 2,190,000 and 2,780,000.
  • There is one listing at 6,688,800.
  • One listing at 12,000,000
  • Two listings at 14,000,000.

There are 34 land listings. Again, not separating out waterfront, view, lot, acreage…just undeveloped land.

  • 27 of the land listings are between 232,500 and 995,000.
  • There are 5 listings between 1,199,000 and 1,395,000.
  • There is a listing at 2,150,000 and another at 2,495,000.
  • There are 3 commercial listings (2 business only and one land/business…listed between 149,000 and 980,000).

There have been 162 “solds to date”.

    • There have been 116 sales between 199,000 and 979,000.
    • There have been 37 sales between 1,003,000 and 1,985,000.
    • There have been 5 sales between 2,200,000 and 2,950,000.
    • There was a sale at 3,150,000.

There were 3 sales between 5,380,000 and 5,850,000.

Most of these upper tier sales were residential and one was commercial.

Salt Spring Island

Listing Inventory Still Low

The listing inventory remains shockingly low. Most owners do not want to be sellers, which means little new comes onstream to replace the steady sales. It is interesting that all price ranges are finding their buyer. There have been bidding wars, although lately it appears that this has settled down and many properties are selling at list price.

Government pauses to suppress covid’s spread did cause hesitations in the market, at various points. Between March 29 and June 15, all BC. residents were encouraged not to travel out of their health jurisdiction, and only essential travel was allowed. As of July 1st, intra-provincial travel will be allowed. The reopening of the U.S.-Canada border may be soon. Stay tuned.

Summer On Salt Spring Island

July is true summer. Although some events remain cancelled or are online for a second year, many lovely island venues are now open for your pleasure.

July begins an easing of many covid restrictions. Summer promises a more connected way of living. At last.

Salt Spring Summer Activities

What will you do to give yourself the gift of summer? Yes: swimming, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding. Yes: dining on decks and patios, catching live music venues, gardening. Yes: reading a fat summer book. Yes: wine tastings, cider tastings, craft brewery tasting. Yes: starwatching. Yes: simply taking time to do absolutely nothing.

Fulford Kids love the last day of school, with its promise of two months for their summer holidays. Adults need a “time out”, too, and in this always on digital universe, perhaps we need to discover our “off button”…the adult version of “school’s out”?

Remember your Omar Khayyam: “the bird is on the wing”. Welcome July.