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.
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!