BOB’s Reflections, Observations and Market Updates
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you know by now that the Vancouver and Whistler real estate markets have seen unprecedented sales over the past nine months. Buyers have been taking advantage of insanely low interest rates and those ready to sell have been benefiting from pent up demand. The big question that myself and many of my colleagues are asking is: “Where do we go from here?”
With Spring arriving, will the inventory get lower?
I started my real estate career in Whistler back in 1994, and, for my first 20 years of advising buyers and sellers, we always had a healthy inventory of properties to offer our purchasers. The late 90’s and early 2000’s was still considered part of the growth cycle of Whistler’s development. Most years we had new projects, some in the ground and others just on paper, helping to satisfy the demand from local, national, and international buyers looking to invest in our little piece of paradise.
This steady supply of new properties has not been at play for several years now. In fact, the last major developments to grace our community were the Athletes Village in the now well-known neighbourhood of Cheakamus Crossing and the Rainbow Development between Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates. The majority of both were devoted to much needed resident housing.
In more recent years we’ve seen the addition of Wedgewoods just north of Whistler’s municipal boundary, where a healthy number of building lots have offered an alternative to those looking to build their dream homes. It’s fair to say that sales of building lots in the first phases of Wedgewoods were sluggish. Fast forward to 2020/2021 and we see an emerging community. Both full and part-time residents are buying and land sales are robust for phases 4 and 5. In February 2021 alone we saw 11 lot sales in Wedgewoods which is extraordinary when you consider that there were no bare land sales in all of Whistler in February 2020.
We are seeing multiple offers on many property types now and a fair number are selling for more than asking price. With all this heated activity some are predicting that this pace cannot be sustained. Fixed interest rates are likely to rise in the medium term which will likely have a cooling effect on the market. When we finally get to say adios to this pandemic and the world starts travelling again, will international buyers further boost the demand for Whistler properties and push prices even higher, or are we at the peak of demand right now?
Has all this sales activity has been fueled almost exclusively by Greater Vancouver and Sea to Sky corridor residents?
Your guess is as good as mine. If you were hoping I had answers rather than more questions, I am sorry to disappoint you. In my November 2020 Newsletter I predicted that the market would slow marginally in December and January, so my crystal ball is obviously flawed!
What I do know is how fortunate we are to live and play in this beautiful part of the world. I am very lucky to be a Whistler Blackcomb realtor and local.
I tip my hat to Vail Corp and all the local businesses for their leadership and to their employees for how hard they have worked to deliver an extraordinary season in trying times.
To those businesses that were forced to close – our sincere condolences.
To the front-line health care workers – we can’t thank you enough for keeping our community as safe as possible.
I’m going to close this Spring newsletter out with some exciting family news. Our daughter, Abby, and her husband, Jason, have presented us with the greatest gift of all – our first grandchild!
There is light at the end of the tunnel and it just got a whole lot brighter. Be well. Stay safe.