The real estate market is a hot topic in British Columbia right now but with all that is being reported, it is important to keep in mind that “Real Estate is a local phenomenon” – and never has this statement been more true than today. Most media reports and industry press releases aggregate data from wide geographical areas, rarely do they take into account the unique experiences of smaller, local areas or individual communities (especially smaller, non-urban communities like Whistler and Pemberton).
Current headlines would suggest that real estate activity in southwestern BC is at an all-time low and that prices are declining monthly as a result of slowing sales activity and inventory levels. If we look specifically at Whistler in the past 6 months as compared to one year ago, we can see that the local market has followed these regional trends.
Overall market activity in Whistler has declined 37.5% as compared to the first 6 months of 2018. Individually, all property types have seen significant declines in the number of transactions (with townhouses and condos being impacted the most). The current activity levels are on par with what we experienced in 2009 with the primary difference being that the number of properties being offered for sale today is less than half that of 10 years ago.
The slowdown in sales activity has caused a steady overall increase in the numbers of properties being offered for sale and lengthened the average time on the market for sellers. That said, interest in Whistler property has been sufficient to offset those sales trends, and overall average prices have remained comparable to a year ago, and have even increased slightly since the start of 2019.
In terms of sales prices, different segments of the market have responded differently. The townhouse segment has seen a drop of 11% since the beginning of the year, while condominiums have increased 11% (largely due to strong rental revenue opportunities). Meanwhile, single-family home values have risen by 7.2% since the beginning of the year despite being 5% below where they were a year ago at this time. Clearly the amount and type of property being offered for sale has a significant impact on market performance.
So, what does this mean for buyers and sellers of real estate in Whistler?
- Don’t assume that what is being reported in other areas or regions in B.C. or Canada mirrors what is happening in Whistler
- Sellers can expect that properties will be on the market longer than we have seen in the recent past, but if properly priced they will attract significant interest and may sell quickly.
- There continues to be a historically low number of properties offered for sale. This will be the reality for the foreseeable future. Buyers should not hesitate when they find their dream property.
The real estate market in Whistler is a highly unique and nuanced market. If you have been thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to stay up-to-date, don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your specific area(s) of interest and how the current conditions may impact you.
This information is deemed to be accurate and is taken from the Whistler Listing System, April 2019