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Salt Spring Island, July 2022, Market Analysis

Salt Spring Real Estate Market, July 2022

For several years now (maybe 20+??), I have been offering up my market thoughts at the start of each month.

A surprising number of people both read and comment on same…and I am so appreciative.

Am in the midst right now of changing things up…how information is disseminated is changing (along with every other change that seems to be underway).

Salt Spring Island

I will be back soon with continuing “thoughts”…for the moment, though, am not creating my usual first day of the month report.

Change, change…everywhere a change. I know the words to that 70s anthem.
Salt Spring Island
Meantime: wonderful summer-summer is with us and it’s a short and lushly beautiful season.

Catch a ferry, get a seaplane…arrive by private boat. Enjoy Salt Spring’s summer pleasures.

July 1st…it’s the annual celebration of Canada Day. Summer-summer is with us.

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?

Salt Spring Island, April 2022, Market Analysis

When Does the Spring Season Start on Salt Spring?

April brings showers, sun, blossoms, warming, as authentic Spring unfolds itself around us on Salt Spring Island. “Almost summer” lushly arrives by month’s end.

Hastings House, Salt Spring Island

Many loved annual events, cancelled for two years due to covid restrictions, are back on: sailing races, art displays, craft and artisan showcases, theatre and musical events, farmers markets, studio tours, wine tastings, live music venues, even dancing…wow.

Have we forgotten how to engage face to face? Unmasked and without a vaccine passport (this restriction apparently to be gone by April 8), will we be able to calmly transition from Zoom to real connection?

Salt Spring Island Attractions & Events

Spring’s restless energy invites discovery and that’s a reason to voyage to a nearby Gulf Island, to get to know the charms of our sister southern islands. Day trips are easy-peasy. That Galiano book store is a gem…the Japanese memorial garden on Mayne (at Dinner Bay) is not to be missed…and south Pender’s beaches are there to savour. Saturna offers a yesteryear glimpse and appreciation of magical Winter Cove. Treat those ferries like the sea voyage they are and play tourist in your own backyard.

Outdoor Dining & Parks Abound on Salt Spring Island

Speaking about backyards…when did you last play visitor on delectable Salt Spring? Time to rediscover the alluring spaces on this special island: Ruckle Park, Mt Erskine trails, wine tastings, lunch or dinner on a patio/deck at our great coffee places/restaurants, cider tastings, farm gate stands…beach combing pleasures. The natural world smiles a Spring hello and welcomes us to all these Gulf Islands.

Land Listings, Salt Spring Island

Real Estate in April, 2022, Salt Spring Island

And what about the real estate market at this very beginning of April? We see continuing thin inventory with ever diminishing entry level options. It is the same story in all communities. The Gulf Islands are no exception. The lack of supply, with very strong demand, keep prices stable or escalating.

Residential, Salt Spring Island Real Estate

  • 48 residential listings with 18 of them between 259,000 and 998,000.

    Of these, the choices are a modular 55+ development where one does not own the land, the final phase at a townhome development, so they are not yet under construction (pre-sales), and cottage-houses, perhaps needing renovation and/or expansion into a family home

  • 12 residential properties between 1,175,000 and 1,989,900.
  • 7 listings between 2,100,000 and 2,800,000
  • 4 listings between 3,750,000 and 3,995,000
  • 1 listing at 4,595,000
  • 3 listings between 6,300,000 and 6,950,000
  • 1 listing at 11,975,000
  • 2 listings at 14 million

Land

  • 18 land listings
  • 12 of these listings are between 259,000 and 995,000
  • 4 listings between 1,198,000 and 1,495,000
  • 1 listing (waterfront) is asking 2,995,000
  • 1 (a 16 acre farm) is listed at 4,900,000

As interesting residential properties thinned out, below a million, we saw a turn to land sales. In some cases, land purchases were also a type of land banking…perhaps a desire to have real estate in one’s portfolio, to preserve capital, in these inflationary times. Buyers of land did not always plan to build. Hmmm……

Recent Sales on Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of April, there have been 42 sales to date, ranging from 100,000 to 3,200,000.
There have been approximately

  • 24 of them were between 100,000 and 998,000
  • 16 sales between 1,038,000 and 1,995,000
  • 1 sale at 2.295
  • 1 sale at 3.2 million

It usually takes till end of June to see this number of sales. Buyers clearly remain very active.

So far, 2022 has seen those higher list prices in the very few new listings that intermittently pop onto the market. Sales are very strong in residential homes below a million. Waterfronts, however, are also again catching serious interest, regardless of price point.

salt spring island hotel

Almost Summer…

So: very early April…yes, real Spring and “almost Summer” dance us through this month of an ever flowering season.

In spite of worries and unclear outcomes, with supply chain and inflationary pressures, with outbursts of wars in seemingly distant regions, in spite of diminishing buyer opportunities as real estate inventory remains extraordinarily low, in spite of struggles to keep covid outbreaks low and personal connections coming forward, in spite of changes as the digital world takes precedence and business practices must keep up with changes…in spite of shift and re-creation of how we now exist…early April sings the song of calm and ease. What does this mean for Salt Spring Island Real Estate?

Thinking of Salt Spring or a Gulf Island? The Islands Trust, a provincial government form of governance, in place since 1974, with a mandate to preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, ensures growth controls (via strict zoning/bylaws). More info? Contact me. Contained and controlled growth are important concepts in the Gulf Islands. This also means a consistent low inventory, regardless of market trend in play.

Early April. An invitation to emerge from winter’s cocoon and to allow enjoyment of the natural world to frame our longer days. We can (and should) give ourselves permission to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

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.

February 2022, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

February 2022, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

February brings with it the whispered promise of Spring. It also offers Family Day Holiday Weekend and Valentine’s Day.

February can also be a month that offers financial planning seminars. What used to be in-person lectures and trade fairs have become zoom presentations and podcasts.

Were the serendipitous encounters among in-person attendees often more meaningful than the prepared presentations? Hmmm…. Have we now become a culture of being lectured to? No more idea-sharing with savvy strangers at the live events?

It’s early days to decide on the tone of the 2022 real estate market. In the secondary home/rural regions, such as Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands, there has been a traditional seasonality of listings and sales.

Although buyers can turn up throughout the year (and they do), there is a pattern of consistent activity in such recreational areas between March Break (mid-March) and the Canadian Thanksgiving (mid-October). It will be interesting to see if a number of new listings will appear for that March “early Spring” market.

At this very beginning of February, the extraordinarily low inventory that has characterized secondary home real estate markets everywhere, between mid-2020 and late 2021, continues on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands.

Buyer Interest Remains Strong

The few sales in January, 2022, may have had their beginnings in late 2021 and simply completed in January…perhaps not new business then. A few of those sales saw price reductions from list prices, and that was a difference from many full or “over ask” outcomes that occurred in early to mid 2021.

Buyer interest remains strong, most owners in rural areas still do not want to be sellers, and the flight from urban to rural remains the propeller to action.

The authentic ability to work from home means it’s possible to live in apart places. Choice is there for consumers. Many buyers on the Gulf Islands continue to be from Vancouver/Lower Mainland.

Salt Spring Island Market Statistics

Residential

  • 39 residential listings – 159,900 to 14,000,000 – Thirteen of these listings are below one million – two are in Brinkworthy (a 55+ modular home development and one does not own the pad) – five of them are not yet built (the final phase at Summerside townhomes)
  • Ten of the residential options are listed between one and two million
  • Eight are listed between 2 and 3 million
  • One is listed at 3,988,000 and one at 4,595,000.
  • Three are listed between 6 and 7 million.
  • One is listed at 11,975,000
  • Two are listed at 14,000,000

Land

  • 24 land listings.
  • 16 of these are below one million.
  • Six of them are between one and two million
  • One is listed at 2,995,000
  • One at 4,900,000

Sales

  • 10 sales to date
  • Seven of these were between 330,000 and 792,000
  • Three were between 1,500,000 and 1,784,000.

2022 may be a year of flux.

Globally Posturings & Uncertainty

Globally, there are anxious posturings: troop build-ups, supply line interruptions, stock market ricochets, inflation, pandemic changes to everyday life, interest rate potential increases, changes to city/town-scapes as populations work from home and shop online…the new world is evolving under our feet, it seems, and there is no solid road map yet, going forward.

Uncertainty may simply be the surround sound of our post-pandemic time.

IT/robotics remain interesting and tech advances are well underway. Immersive video may be the key to real estate sales from buyers not physically present to view. Stay tuned, as the quality and ease of the tech side continues to evolve. An exciting time to be present, and the speed of change makes it seem like 2015 is already the very distant past. Hmmm……

The Promise of Spring

February. Yes, the calendar says it’s still winter, but the great Pacific Northwest Coast often delivers the haphazard promise of Spring.

Catch those sunny clear days…check out the hiking/walking trails, plan your “real Spring” garden, enjoy the gift of lengthening days, give yourself a treat and do day trips to nearby Gulf Islands or Vancouver Island, walk the Fernwood Beach at low tide, enjoy sunsets from Vesuvius Beach, take yourself and a friend to one of our super restaurants and enjoy the inspiring views from their windows.

Lots to do and to enjoy on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands at this hiatus time of year. The promise of “Discover Yourself Here” is true…check it out.

January 2022, Salt Spring Island Market Analysis

A New Year on Salt Spring Island, 2022

A new year. As we step into this very beginning of 2022, it’s good to remember the ancient Roman deity that gives January its name. Janus had two faces, one looking back and the other forward.

We do carry the end of the year just passed into the very early days of the new year, of course, but it’s essential to immediately face forward. The universe reminds us that there is only one direction…it’s called face forward and go for it.

Covid Restrictions still in place & Tech Solutions

The provincial and federal government restrictions to halt the covid outbreaks in 2020/2021 also forced everyone to actively be in the digital world. Zoom and its competitors were found at business meetings, churches, schools, family gatherings, banking, shopping…in all encounters…in other words, the digital experience replaced the in-person meet-up.

The outcome of the virus pandemic has been to familiarize the population with the screen reality. It’s been clunky, though. Perhaps the message of 2022 will be to create a more seamless meshing of digital and in-person realities? Techies: away you go…..

Pandemic Closures Ignites Secondary Home/Rural Regions

The pandemic closures of 2020 ignited the secondary home/rural regions real estate markets across Canada…all B.C. coastal communities experienced this flight from urban to rural. Sales in late 2020 began in the affordable price points. By early 2021, Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands began to experience bidding wars and “over ask” outcomes became the norm in that diminishing “affordable” residential category.

By March of 2021, sales of luxury residential properties began. Suddenly, that market experienced outcomes that matched pre-2008 prices.

As pleasing residential options disappeared, undeveloped land began to find buyers…starting in late spring/early summer. Is this continuing interest in land now also a form of land banking? A wish to keep pace with rising inflation?

The lack of inventory in rural areas can be attributed to the lack of owners wanting to be sellers. As things slowly but consistently sell, very little new comes onstream to replace those “solds”.

It appears that there is a major turning point/societal rewrite underway. A desire to live more simply, to be more self-sufficient, coupled with the ability to authentically work from home, all coalesced into this decision to “go rural”. Yes, there is a back to the land component.

As the pandemic continues to weave its way through the populations, globally, that seeking of an “apart” location also continues.

For some time, the buyer on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands has been from Vancouver.

Meantime, at this very beginning of 2022, the real estate market on Salt Spring sees the following:

Residential

there are approximately …

  • 43 residential listings.
  • 13 of these listings are under one million.
  • 13 of these listings are between one and two million.
  • 8 are between two and three million.
  • One is between 3 and 4 million. T
  • wo are between 4 and 5 million.
  • Three are between 6 and 7 million.
  • One is between 11 and 12 million.
  • Two are listed at 14 million.

Land

there are approximately

  • 28 land listings.
  • 19 of these are between 200,000 and one million.
  • 7 are between one and two million.
  • One is between 2 and 3 million.
  • One is between 4 and 5 million.

Sales

there were approximately

  • 271 sales at the close of 2021. There were
  • 190 sales between 190,000 and one million. (In many cases, bidding wars took placein this category.)
  • 67 sales between one and two million.
  • 8 sales between two and three million.
  • 3 sales between 3 and 4 million.
  • 3 sales between 5 and 6 million.

It seems as if numbers of sales and sale price points may have returned to 2005/2006 activity levels.

Supply and demand create markets…when driven by strong buyer desire. We remain, at this very beginning of 2022, in a strong sellers market on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands. Projections call for continuing sellers market conditions.

Meantime, it’s January…a great time to make sure one is ready for the metaverse. The “new” is profound and there is a distinct divide between pre- and post-pandemic times…important, then, to run with the flow of change. Remember Thales, another savvy Ancient Greek: one never steps in the same water twice…it’s flowing on and always new.

Meantime, to all, best wishes for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year