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Salt Spring Island, April 2023, Market Analysis

Unique Real Estate in Unique Areas

The very beginning of April is with us. T.S. Eliot poetically stated that “April is the cruelest month”. Perhaps he meant that the month begins with the face of March still in place (aberrant weather events) and ends with the wondrous and fully flowered May promise.

What about the real estate market on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands at this very beginning of April?

All coastal markets are noting that low inventory is continuing.

In the main, locally, many owners are choosing to hold what they see as a good investment…a property on a Gulf Island. The Islands Trust form of governance (put in place in 1974, by the provincial government, to “preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for all B.C. residents”) effectively capped growth through strict zoning/bylaws controls. Regardless of market trend, there is always a low inventory on a Gulf Island. An investment security net?

Occasionally, an aging owner might consider moving…but low inventory is an issue everywhere and they can’t find an option in that area they would consider moving to. They don’t want to be houseless and so do not list.

Global Events

The federal government is seeking strong immigration between 2023 and 2025…up to 1.5 million new arrivals. This policy is happening at the same time as continuing low inventory for either purchase or rent, across the country. For decades, lack of housing has not been addressed. A recipe for price stability and price escalation?

There are many events, often of a global nature, and so beyond individual control, that could be described as “worrying”. Wars & rumours of wars, supply chain issues, insecurity of interest rate rises, currency concerns, stock market fluctuations, a fear that banks will fail, shifting job markets…what to count on? Chaos is a factor.

Post-pandemic, the entire work environment has changed. The ability to work from home, as the internet finally authentically made this possible, has put rural and urban living on the same footing. This may be a driver to action as buyers sell their urban lifestyles and choose rural. A kinder, gentler experience?

In a time of extraordinary change, it’s ever more important to focus on our periphery vision and not to follow the narrow channels prepared for us. Understanding the societal effect of a robust artificial intelligence might be worth a look. Back up a bit, see what flickers on the edges of our visual sphere and pay attention to that…it’s where creativity lives…and any one of us can create the new. Are you looking?

The Preservation Cap?

So, at the very beginning of April, there are not a lot of real estate choices for a buyer in any property type or price point.

Plus: A call from the federal government for significant inward migration.

A desire from a buyer to live in smaller areas that offer a pleasing lifestyle. The fulfillment of the long-standing government “preservation” cap on growth on Gulf Islands. The allure of real estate as a good hard asset investment to preserve capital. The messages seem to suggest that unique real estate in unique areas will continue to be a stalwart investment choice.

April. A good time to immerse into Nature. The annual promise of renewal…Spring’s gift. Important to “see”. Maybe even to look back at another era of extreme change and societal upheaval: the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. Time to reconnect with the Romantic movement in literature and music? Their emphasis on the inspirational natural world might work in our era, too?

Things To Do on Salt Spring this Spring

On Salt Spring? Catch the annual Spring Art Show, drop into the annual Home and Garden Show, enjoy the Spring menus at our great dining spots, renew with a healing arts moment at one of the spa opportunities, see an event at ArtSpring, picnic at a beach, explore the hiking/walking trails, kayak to Chocolate Beach…Spring says get up, spruce up, get out…open the doors and windows…breathe.

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:


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.


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.


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