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Salt Spring Island, June 2024, Market Analysis

June’s Beauty

Lovely June is here…the month of roses…in gardens and parks and also wild at road edges. An elegant flower, an inspired fragrance…worth seeking out at this meteorological start of Summer.

Blossoms in orchards have spun their way to pastures to allow budding fruit to grow forward. The great Pacific Northwest Coast offers May to September as key months…late Spring-into Summer-into early Fall. June brings the beginning of summer vacations, weddings, graduations, family events…and Nature speaks the tongue of beauty. So important to observe.

Real Estate Market

The real estate market can be quieter in early June, perhaps reflecting the hiatus of family events. By the third week of the month, the Summer Market kicks in. Inventory remains low, and in spite of interest rate effects buyers are willing to make offers again. The pause of uncertainty seen in 2022 and most of 2023 is over as we continue through 2024. The buyer profile remains mainly a Vancouver/Lower Mainland purchaser.

Sales Trends

  • Higher end sales are occurring, but the main sales are still below 1.3.
  • Townhomes listed below a million are active.
  • It is rare to find a single family home ready to enjoy that is listed below a million.

Market Dynamics

Change remains the watchword of our time. Changes to the Real Estate Act continue. The impact of AI remains a factor. This is an election year in B.C. (vote in October), and that brings party discussions to the fore. Global uncertainties continue. Currency concerns and a desire to drop urban for rural continue as key motivators for buyer action. Most owners do not want to be sellers.

Current Listings and Sales

At this very beginning of June, there are approximately 115 residential listings on the market. Some of these are properties listed before, now returned to market for perceived Summer activity. Most listings below one million are townhomes (strata zonings).

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of June, there are approximately 44 Land listings on the market…not separating out lots, acreages, view, waterfront, pastoral options.

At this very beginning of June, there have been approximately 66 sales to date:

  • 43 of these sales were below one million.
  • 17 of these sales were between one and two million.
  • 4 of these sales were between 2 and 3 million.
  • Two sales between 3 & 4 million and one at 9.9.

More information on “what’s for sale” and “what has sold”? Contact me for further details of property types and initial price points.

June Activities

Meantime, it’s amazing June. Art galleries in Ganges are showcasing new works for the season, studio tours are underway, tastings at wineries and cideries, craft brewery, live music venues entertaining us, spa treatments to ease us into the new season, seasonal menus to celebrate at our great restaurants and coffee stops, the start of ArtCraft at Mahon Hall, beachcombing and picnics, sunset viewings on the longest day of the year, sailing races, whale watching, hiking/walking trails beckon…lots to enjoy!

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

June…a reminder to be paying attention to Nature’s largesse and to truly enjoy. Yes, lots of concerns out there in global issues. Turn off the phone. Take Five (thank you, Dave Brubeck). This is the season to sit and ponder and observe the delights of June. It’s spectacular. Summer is here…smile!

Salt Spring Island, April 2024, Market Analysis

Springtime on Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands

The very beginning of April brings with it the beauty of authentic early Spring. The end of the month is more like May. This chameleon month is also the first month when one can start to understand the tone of the real estate market for this year.

Fulford Valley 42+ Acres

Although buyers pop in anytime, on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands, it is generally accepted that most tourism (and resulting real estate activity) falls between March Break and the Canadian Thanksgiving (October). Low inventory continues, most of the listings below one million are strata properties (townhomes). Single family homes are mostly between one and two million. Land listings are also showing extremely low inventory. Most owners are not wanting to be sellers, unless they have to. In 2022/most of 2023, buyers were in pause mode…inquired, sometimes viewed, then paused. So many global uncertainties may have created this pause period. This year, buyers are acting again. The desire to leave urban for rural remains a factor. A desire for safety is another reason to consider a country home/more self-sufficient outcome. Preservation of capital is a further reason to consider a real estate purchase in a secondary home/recreational marketplace. These are also reasons why owners are not interested in being sellers.

Fulford Valley 42+ Acres

At this very beginning of April, there are:

approximately 86 residential listings, not separating out waterfront, view, farms, lots, acreages, townhomes.

    • 28 are between 234,500 and 999,999.
    • There are 30 residential listings between 1,020,000 and 1,985,000.
    • There are 17 between 2,100,000 and 2,995,000.
    • Seven are between 3,285,000 and 3,875,000.
    • Two are in 4 million range (one at 4,295,000 and another at 4,875,000).
    • One listing at 5,250,000 and one at 11,975,000.

there are 29 land listings, not separating out lots, acreages, view, waterfront.

    • 20 are listed between 135,000 and 845,000.
    • Five are listed between 1,100,000 and 1,995,000.
    • Three are listed between 2,150,000 and 2,350,000.

At this very beginning of April, there have been approximately 32 sales to date.

  • 24 sales were between 128,000 and 850,000.
  • Six sales were between 1,185,000 and 1,750,000.
  • One sale was at 2,560,000 and another sold at 9,990,000.

Fulford Valley 42+ Acres

By late May/early June, enough sales will have taken place to allow definitive thoughts on a 2024 trend. Projections are calling for continuing low inventory and price escalation. The busier sales months are always July, August, September. To own on a Gulf Island, with the Islands Trust governance cap on growth, at same time that the market has low inventory and buyer desire, it may be that new potential buyers might want to explore shared ownership models. Ownership may require serious thinking out of the box.

Fulford Valley 42+ Acres

So, inspiring April is here. ArtSpring is celebrating an important anniversary. The Saturday Market is open. Hastings House has reopened for the season. Boaters are back and marinas are busy. Galleries are showcasing new works and the studio tour welcomes you. Wine tastings, cider tastings, craft brewery. Farmgate stands, orchards in blossom, hiking/walking trails to encourage getting out and about, beachcombing, new restaurants and coffee stops to try. It’s April…wash those windows and let the light in. Lighten up…it’s real Spring!

Salt Spring Island, February 2024, Market Analysis

February in the Pacific Northwest Coast Real Estate Market

February often starts the early Spring market on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The trend for 2024 might not be evident till March Break, but February introduces the early activity.

Salt Spring Real Estate Market – Early February

What do we see in the Salt Spring real estate market at this very beginning of February? The song of thin inventory continues. This is a theme seen in competing Vancouver Island communities…lack of listings is not just a Gulf Island issue.

Why Owners Hesitate to Sell

There are many reasons for owners not wanting to be sellers. That flight from urban to rural, post-pandemic, continues. It may be about a desire for safety. Geopolitical concerns are part of location decisions. A desire to be apart from city problems is a strong driver to action…a seeking of a “kinder gentler” lifestyle makes sense. There is also that “back to the land” component, where one can be self-sufficient if supply chains falter. These elements may propel buyers, but they also stop owners from becoming sellers…they are already enjoying these elements. IF they thought of selling, they would discover they can’t find a replacement property elsewhere…no inventory…and so it goes.

Gulf Islands Governance and Real Estate

Under the Gulf Islands form of governance (Islands Trust, with a mandate to “preserve and protect” the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands for the benefit of all B.C. residents), in place since 1974, a buyer purchase/investment is ensured to remain as purchased. In this era of extreme change, this continuation of what one fell in love with, and purchased, is a strong feature of decisions to invest on a Gulf Island.

Ganges

Market Dynamics and Future Trends

It’s also a recipe for price escalation. Will we see multiple owners as a buyer profile, going forward, so that one can enjoy ownership of a Gulf Island property? Hmmm….there are always work-arounds and creative ownership models may be one outcome to encourage the opportunity to own, as prices rise and inventory remains static.

A February 2024 Market Analysis On Salt Spring

So: the very beginning of February shows continuing low inventory, with buyer interest showing up in all price ranges and property types, and now with a sense that one needs to act. The pauses in action, seen in 2022 and 2023, appear to be over. Oddly, this increase in activity began in November 2023. The interest rate fluctuations remain a factor in buyer outcomes. Those having to renew mortgages in 2024 and 2025 will also be making decisions as to whether to hold or to sell. Lack of inventory to buy or to rent may decide people to struggle on with current ownership.

Real Estate as Capital Preservation

Many on both sides of the seller/buyer divide are seeing real estate as a way to preserve capital. Concern about erosion of purchasing power of currencies has people thinking about how to retain value in their holdings.

Anticipating Future Outcomes

Lots of outcomes still waiting to be formed…it’s very early in what promises to be a busy year. It’s a good idea to attend seminars and financial webinars…all information is helpful in times of change. And also keep an eye on AI…implants that allow one’s thoughts to effect change? Hmmm…. Mid-Feb welcomes the Year of the Wood Dragon in the Asian Lunar New Year. The western zodiac sees Pluto in Aquarius, a line-up not seen since the French Revolution. Recipes for change? Keep your editing function fired up.

Exploring the Local Area in February

So: February. Check the garden…early bulbs and shrubs are flowering forward. Give yourself the gift of new…zip off to Victoria or Sidney and look at a different set of walls. Remember the Cowichan Valley…on our doorstep and lots to see and do there. Beaches to explore at Parksville/Qualicum or all the way to Tofino. Check out our close neighbours, the other Southern Gulf Islands…each with their own signature. A day trip makes us glad to get back to Salt Spring’s many charms. Family Day holiday weekend in mid-February invites us to sample other nearby spaces. Lucky us…adventure on!

Salt Spring Island, January 2024, Market Analysis

January ponderings…

The Roman god Janus gave his name to this beginning month of the New Year.
With two faces, one looking behind and one facing forward, Janus reminds us that every beginning carries with it some of what went before…and also introduces the new.

If you are interested in the Asian horoscopes, then it’s good to know that February 10th ushers in the Year of the Wood Dragon.

Change is The Wallpaper of Our Time

It’s taken 23 years for the real 21st century to finally arrive.
Early forays into websites and emails morphed into social media communications. It really is now possible to pretty much do one’s life and business off a smart phone. 5G speeds it all up.

Zoom during the pandemic closures got us all used to image only meetings. What will happen to all those empty office buildings? If there is a housing shortage (and there is), then why are they not being turned into interesting housing developments?

And what about AI? Clunky ChatGPT is only the rudimentary beginning. So: reality. Virtual, augmented, real…and so forth and so on. It’s called artificial intelligence…the second word implies thought.

If someone gave us a ticket to 1996, would we take it? It seems like a time that is already in the far far past.

Meantime, since change is simply the wallpaper of our time, and we must flow forward on this river of shift, it’s essential to recapture our editing function. Data is not information. What is visible on the internet may not be authentic. Only our editing ability will help us sort it out.

Is Real Estate Strengthening?

Yes. The almost two year “pause” (soft sales, low inventory, nervous buyers) of 2022/2023 is over. Prices are higher. Most owners do not want to be sellers. Buyers want to act. The difficulty about low inventory: not enough choice for a buyer. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they won’t act. Yes, there are fewer sales, but that’s because there’s less to sell. What will happen when many mortgages will be up for renewal in 2024? Often, secondary home/recreational marketplaces can be somewhat insulated from this renewal scenario.

At this very beginning of January:

There are approximately 77 residential listings on Salt Spring, not separating out single family, townhomes, farms, waterfronts.

There are 31 land listings, not separating out waterfronts, acreages, lots.

That’s a total of 108 listings…a balanced market might see 280 listings.

At the end of 2023, there had been approximately 179 sales, ranging between $55,000 for a mobile in a park and $4,288,000 for a waterfront on five acres. Projections continue to call for consistent positive real estate outcomes, based on strong immigration and lack of housing options.

The various government measures to increase rental stock and buyer options (vacancy tax, prohibition on out of country buyers, increased purchase tax for non-residents) have not proved to create more housing opportunities. Artificial government edicts do not take the place of encouraging private enterprise to build/to develop. The lack of housing will continue for some time.

Geopolitical concerns continue. Worries about inflation, and currencies also continue. Remember Voltaire and his warning that paper money always reverts to its true value: zero. Is another reason for buyers seeking out special properties in unique areas simply a desire to preserve capital? Is this also why owners are not wanting to be sellers?

Many changes in the real estate industry itself. Stay tuned as the ways to buy and to sell real estate undergo significant changes…just as all segments of society must grapple with serious change. Nothing is exempt.

January of 2024

Lots to think about as we emerge into early January of this New Year. It is a New Year and we can choose whether to look backwards or to opt for Janus’ forward staring face.

Meantime, January…a month to savour that every day is eight seconds longer. We are on the slow march to Spring. Now there’s a thought!

Salt Spring Island, October 2023, Market Analysis

Authentic Fall

October delivers authentic Fall and the fullness of the Harvest season. Oct 1st is the annual Apple Fest. Don’t miss this. The Saturday Market continues till month’s end. The once every two years SSNAP (Salt Spring National Art Prize) is underway…another “don’t miss” event. The Parallel Art Show also underway, and special presentations at the Ganges galleries. Fall menus at our great restaurants. Perfect weather for hiking/walking trails. Spa retreats to help us ease into the softer season. The Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, a truly Harvest celebration. Lucky Salt Springers!

Market Trends This Fall?

The Fall Market real estate trend? Continuing low inventory (the seller side) and continuing desire to leave urban for rural (the buyer side) are still the themes driving the Gulf Islands marketplace. For several years, the main buyer profile on the islands has been from Vancouver/Lower Mainland.

Price Stability

Low inventory is always a factor on the Gulf Islands due to the Islands Trust form of governance (in place since 1974). The preservation and protection mandate of the Trust created a cap on growth. The housing crisis of today is also an outcome of lack of supply right across the province and the country. The Gulf Islands are not immune. Until product meets demand, lack of choice for a buyer will keep prices stable and may also lead to further price escalation. The Gulf Islands are not first time buyer locations. That said, interest rate rises do affect city markets and what occurs in Vancouver does have a ripple down effect in the Gulf Islands.

At this very beginning of October, there are 97 residential properties for sale on Salt Spring (not separating out townhomes, single family, farms, waterfronts…simply residential offerings). Prices range between 172,000 (for a single-wide older mobile) to 11,975,000 (for an ocean view estate acreage). There are 40 properties currently listed below one million. (In a balanced market, there might be close to 200 residential listings on Salt Spring).

At this very beginning of October, there are 39 Land listings (not separating out lots, acreages, farm parcels, waterfronts…simply undeveloped land offerings). There are 17 commercial listings at this very beginning of October (some are business only options and others are land/buildings plus business).

At this very beginning of October, there have been 147 sales to date, with a mix of land, single family, townhomes, waterfronts, commercial, strata-resort options. Prices have ranged from 55,000 (for an older mobile in a mobile home park) to 4,288,000 (for a renovated waterfront home on a small acreage)…the bulk of sales have been below 1.4 million. More information? Seeking to sell or to buy? Look forward to your call.

So…October. A time to enjoy the season of harvest largesse and to cosy up before winter says hello. The shorter days allow for serious crisp evening star watching…is this the year to really learn the constellations? Never hurts to look beyond our everyday locations. Meantime, catch the mid-Fall pleasures. Lots to see and do and to enjoy. October smiles its welcome.

Salt Spring Island, August 2023, Market Analysis

August, 2023.

Salt Spring Island Attractions

Wow…Summer is at the half-way point. August has arrived.

Time to enjoy the fruits of the season…shop the Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Markets for home grown delights. Dine out al fresco on the patios and decks at our exceptional restaurants. Kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing through these beautiful Gulf Islands…whales, sea lions, seals sleekly move among us. Hiking trails, forest bathing choices, spa retreats, beaches for sunset viewings and swimming in lakes and ocean. How lucky we are to experience the real reality of this special part of the great Pacific Northwest Coast. Lucky Salt Springers!

Salt Spring Real Estate Market

And that always interesting real estate market in this secondary home/recreational region? The theme remains: low inventory and stable pricing.

This year is also seeing a return of buyers, in spite of the continuing worries about interest rate rises, supply chain issues, lack of good choices, inflationary pressures, currency concerns, wars and rumours of wars…the surround sound of our current moment seems to be worry-worry. In 2022, it paused activity. In 2023, although there was a late start to the year’s cycle, action is again with us.


The rhythm is not the over ask frenzy of 2021. There are subject offers now, there is time for a buyer to do due diligence, and sellers listen to buyer thoughts on offer prices.

The thing for a seller to remember: a buyer chooses to come to Salt Spring. No one “has to” buy on a Gulf Island. It’s always a two-step dance: a buyer chooses the Gulf Island to live on and then chooses the property on that island. Very different from a primary residence/city marketplace.

There is always a time element to a purchase…often takes three visits before an offer is made. There can be months between visits. Patience is a part of all property purchases on all Gulf Islands.

Push for Immigration

The federal government push for immigration (500,000 a year from 2023 to 2025) is occurring at same time as a lack of housing…right across Canada…and on the Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island, too. Lack of rentals, work rentals, and affordable housing persist. This lack of inventory is projected to bring serious price escalation.

So, a desire for hard asset investment to preserve capital in inflationary times…and increased immigration with low housing inventory…these seem to promise a strong real estate market.

I always think it takes till mid-September to see the real tone of a real estate market on any Gulf Island. We are almost there… Several years ago our recreational/secondary home region became a late summer/fall sales market…stay tuned.

Something to pay attention to during these last lazy days of summer, as August unrolls…the impact of AI (those in the know say it is going to create profound change, more than was experienced with the arrival of the internet). Maybe leave the fat entertainment book in the hammock and look into this game-changer?

Meantime, it’s still summer-summer in our real reality location and August brings earlier sunsets, star watching opportunities, lush gardens, a sense of needing to quickly capture this amazing time of year…September and Fall are on the horizon…don’t delay. The bird is on the wing.

A little sail out the Harbour? Meet you at the dock. It’s Summer. Catch it.