Although Whistler's snow season has been off to a slow start, the resort has been in full swing. The holiday period was extremely busy and Tourism Whistler's projections for the balance of the season are strong. On the real estate side, 2014 was another positive year. The upward trend in the number of sales over the past few years continued, and with strong buyer demand came a reduction in listing inventory. See stats below as per the Whistler Listing System from 2011 moving forward.
The total number of sales recorded by the Whistler Listing System in 2014 increased by 15.7% compared to 2013. Total dollar volume value was approximately $539 million. This was the highest dollar volume since 2007 when it hit $805 million. The majority of buyers in 2014 were focused on properties priced below $1M. Of the 691 sales, 524 were under the $1M mark, representing approximately 76% of all sales. The two property types that dominated the sales were townhouses and condominiums, combining for approximately 75% of all sales. Specifically, townhouses accounted for 39%, unrestricted condos 26%, restricted-use (hotel) condos 10% and single family chalets 18% .
In terms of selling prices, as we look back, the bottom of the market for values in this last cycle was 2012. Since then values for most whole ownership unrestricted properties under $1M have increased approximately 10% to 15%. A typical example is a 2 bed / 2 bath North Star townhouse (Village North). In 2012 selling values ranged $425k to $470k, in 2013; $447k to $549k and in 2014; $512k to $550k. However, looking back further prior to the global financial crisis of October 2008 today's selling prices are still below the values of 2007-2008. Back then these townhomes were selling in the range of $650k to $680k and in 2003 the highest selling price was $720k.
Looking ahead over the next eleven months, we anticipate the number of sales may be down slightly due to lack of listings, resulting in buyers having less selection. For sellers, depending on the type of property and price range, they may be able to take advantage of specific areas of the market where there is limited inventory. Historically real estate values in Whistler reflect a 'Supply and Demand' model. As buyer demand becomes stronger, and listing inventory is reduced, sellers will test the market by increasing their asking prices. 2015 will be a year that tests this.
With continued low interest rates and the potential for non-resident buyers taking advantage of the CND/US dollar exchange, we should see continued strong interest from both local and non-resident buyers.
The Whistler market is made up of variety of property types each with their own micro-market. From shared-ownership condos to luxury homes the factors that affect the values in each sector differ widely. Whether you are a buyer looking for a 'ROL' (Return On Lifestyle), 'ROI' (Return On Investment) or a seller wanting to know what the current selling trends are, it is paramount to be up to date and informed on the sector of the market that is of interest to you.
Pemberton experienced a typically quiet December, but when considering the activity of the 2014 year, Pemberton saw significant increases in property sales. Overall, there were 105 sales in Pemberton in 2014, representing a 38% increase in total number of transactions and a staggering 50% in total dollar volume.
The Squamish real estate market has been extremely active for the past several months, there were 596 sales in Squamish in 2014, a 41% increase over 2013. With recent recognition as one of the top places to visit, the new Sea to Sky Gondola and the revitalization of some of the downtown spaces, Squamish's real estate market is sure to remain strong.
For a more detailed report on specific property types of interest, please contact me, Tracy Collingridge your local Sutton Whistler/Pemberton/Squamish REALTOR®.