It’s hard to believe it’s mid-April and we’re still having powder days on the mountain! We had 23cms overnight last Monday and it felt more like February than April (on the mountain anyway). Spring has arrived in the Village; the days are longer and avid bikers are now riding the trails in Squamish & Pemberton.
Current trends in the Whistler real estate market:
1. Americans haven’t been as active in purchasing Whistler property however with the strength of our dollar it is a good time for US owners to sell.
2. The majority of our buyers come from the Lower Mainland and the strong economy in Vancouver means people are able to look at purchasing a second home in Whistler.
3. In some sectors of our market prices are back to levels they were at ten years ago, (although it’s difficult to generalize as there are different property types and corresponding sales levels within our market).
4. Overall the market has stabilized; the numbers of sales are now at a consistent level as are selling prices. Total dollar volume is down showing sales prices are lower than previous levels.
5. 2010 sales showed buyers are trending towards purchasing townhouses instead of single family homes. They want less maintenance, upkeep and more quality time enjoying the Whistler lifestyle.
The first quarter of 2011 continued to exhibit the balanced market conditions we have experienced since the end of the Olympics one year ago. The total value of sales was $76,000,000 on 121 sales compared to $88 million in 131 sales during the previous quarter.
Single family sales volume was consistent with historical averages, although the average price fell to $1,202,000 from $1,683,000 in the last quarter. However, median prices remained essentially unchanged, indicating values are affected more by the type of property sold than by any general trend in consumer’s sense of value in our marketplace.
Condominiums and townhomes continue to be the strength of the market, accounting for almost 65% of sales activity. Condominiums were the strongest sector, representing a third of the total sales volume. Townhome sales volume has fallen as a result of reduced opportunities in this sector.
Vacant property sales continue to be slow due to the large supply of already built opportunities. We could see some change in lot sales as we move into the spring, which is traditionally building season.
Buyer inquiries have increased steadily through this quarter as confidence returns. However, buyers still believe market conditions are unstable and are committed to only making a ‘smart’ decision that fits their financial ability and family needs. Increasingly, decisions are made based on longer-term lifestyle considerations and value for money.
Whistler continues to be the most complete choice for a recreational or resort home in the Pacific Northwest and we expect continued improvement in market conditions.