Blog

Latest updates from Rob's personal expertise.

Pull out your bike,  it's Bike to Work Week in Whistler May 26- June 1st.


Bike to Work 
It's been said that people who cycle on a regular basis to either work/school,on errands, or participate in our local WORCA Toonie Rides live longer and lead healthier lives than those who don't.   Can't think of a better reason to pull out the bike and ride  to work - it's so easy to do in Whistler with the Valley Trail. 

Mark your calendar - this Summer's Whistler Presents free concert series offers something for everyone in their July line up - from rock to folk & indie to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, all at the scenic Whistler Olympic Plaza in Whistler Village.  

June 28th - Lindi Ortega.  Ortega originally from Toronto, now living Tennessee, whose style is described as a blend of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and EmyLou Harris.
June 28th - Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Opry.  Definitely a local favourite!

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Real Estate activity for the first quarter of 2014 continues to show high levels of interest from buyers in all sectors of the market.

Compared to the same period in 2013, the volume of sales has increased while the total value of sales has remained unchanged.  This is primarily due to the increased focus on activity on the lower value properties during this time period.

Over the last nine months we have seen a significant reduction in the number of properties available for sale due to the consistent level of sales activity.  This is particularily true for those properties best suited for families - chalets & townhouses.  This has resulted in a very competitive market for family style properties and led buyers to look at higher priced properties, thus raising the transaction values and seller expectations.  Although the number of transactions was down in chalets, as a result of fewer opportunities (down 27% for single family homes), the value of these transactions rose by 15% during the first quarter of the year reaching levels not seen in several years.

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9143 Emerald Drive

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9143-Kitchen9143-Bedroom-3

This is one of the most livable cabins in Whistler at the price!  With a park-like setting encompassing mature trees and views of Armchair Glacier, this 4 bedroom cabin salutes Whistler's past and offers potential for further updates.  Tucked away, North of Whistler Village, many people find Emerald Estates the perfect spot to relax and unwind . . . The sloping 12,600 sq ft lot allows for a 3,500 sq ft home and is waiting for your ideas and dreams.



Updated with a fresh contemporary decor this luxurious Kadenwood home delivers one of the best viewpoints in Whistler. Featuring stunning views of Whistler Peak, the Coast Mountain Range, and a natural green space amongst towering trees. Four luxurious bedrooms—two of which are master suites—ensure comfort and quiet, while a host of living spaces allow for socializing and relaxing. When sunset arrives, embrace one of the best viewing spots in the entire valley and watch it go down behind the mountains with friends and family surrounding you. Offering the only exclusive neighbourhood gondola in Whistler provding ski-in/ski-out access this is a new way to look at luxury in Whistler.

We're opening new doors. After 22 years at our current location the Whistler Real Estate Company is moving to new digs! As of February 3rd you will find us in our new office located in the Delta Whistler Village Suites, just across from the Whistler Public Library. Stop by to say hello and check out the new offices.

 

Here's some great info on mortgages for our Non-Resident Buyers from our local Mortgage Professional, Karen Garrett.

Non Resident Financing Information:   U.S. Applicants Only:

·         Amortization to maximum  30 years/25 years for Phase 2(Condo Hotels)

·         Minimum  down payment  20%/35% for Phase 2(Condo Hotels)

 

Non Resident Financing Information (Not including  U.S. Applicants)

·         Amortization to maximum  25 years

·         Minimum  down payment  35%

 

Types of mortgages available:

                Fixed Interest Rates:

Ranging in term from 6 months to 10+ years.  Rate is fixed at time of funding, however it can be secured up to 120 days prior to funding*

Penalty applies if term is broken*

Balloon payments/pre payments permitted annually*

Easy renewal process

 

Closed Variable Rate: (moves up and down)

                Calculated against the Bank of Canada Prime Rate – discounts usually apply.

                Can be converted to fixed term anytime without fee or penalty*

                Prepayment penalty maximum 3 months’ interest

 

OPEN Variable Rate:

                Calculated against the Bank of Canada Prime Rate – premiums usually apply.

                Fees may apply

                No prepayment penalty

 

*Please see mortgage broker for specific details

For more information or information regarding overseas purchaser information please contact Karen Garrett at DLC Sea to Sky Mortgages

Your Bi Weekly Whistler Real Estate Market Update

Mixed weather and mixed market are the theme for this week's Whistler Real Estate update.

June continues the trend of fewer listings and good sales numbers for some of the segments and price levels throughout Whistler.

The CDN$ continues to weaken against the US$ and as of today sits at $0.962US.

Interest rates have increased since the beginning of the month with the 5 year discounted rate at just over 3.09%.

 

There are 550 properties currently listed for sale on the Whistler Listing System. This does not included shared ownership, timeshare and parking stalls. This is up slightly from last month (540) and down significantly from this time last year (685). This represents a 20% decrease in the total number of listing available today.

Year to date there have been 232 Sales as compared with 244 sales at this time last year which is a 5% change in the number of sales so far this year.

There are only 145 Townhome listings available today in Whistler which is 25% fewer than this time last year.

There have been 81 Townhomes sell so far this year which down 20% fewer than last year.

While the number of sales are down the listing to sales ratio is much stronger today than last year.

 

There are 169 Condominiums for sale today in Whistler which 35% fewer than this time last year. This is lowest number of listings in Whistler since February 2006!!

Condominium sales remain steady between 2012 and 2013 at 91 and 88 respectively.

While this is also a decrease in the number of sales it represents a huge change in the listing to sales ratio

There are 75 Vacant Land listings available in Whistler today which is the same number as this time last year. This represents the lowest number of listings available in the past 5 yrs!  There have been 4 Vacant Land Sales in 2013 whereas there were 5 in 2012.

 

Overall the Whistler Real Estate Market is balancing out very nicely and one should expect this trend to continue as we continue to see fewer listing available and a similar pace of sales.

For this Whistler Real Estate update, I'm going to breakdown the Chalet market to illustrate what I believe to be a trend that occurs at the beginning of an upward cycle in Whistler. There tends to be a sandwiching effect on pricing in order to establish a new thresholds in the market during these time. The lower level pricing starts to increase and higher end prices continue to decreases. As the Whistler market establishes a the new price threshold, the market becomes more balanced and prices usually increase through the upper levels from there.

 

Enjoy the breakdown... 

The Whistler Chalet market under $1Million is still very active with 29 current listings and 23 sales already this year compared to only 16 last year at this time.

That is a 44% increase in sales activity in this segment of the market. I am hearing that multiple offers are becoming quite common at this level of the market.u1 Listings_vs_Median_0613

 

Chalets from $1-1.5Million are also selling better than last year with 11 sales this year and 5 Sales for the same period in 2012. Even though this is represents a 120% increase in the number of sales, when you consider that there are 37 listing currently available at this level of the market and there were 42 at this time in 2012, I don't expect much upward pressure on pricing to happen until pace of sales picks slightly more and balances out the listing to sales ratio

1-15 Chalet_Listings_vs_Median_0613 

Chalets between $1.5-2.5Million are not performing as well as last year with 10 sales this year and 13 for the same period in. This level of the market is showing a 30% decrease and when you consider that the 49 listings are currently available represents the largest number available in this price segment in the past 5 years, that there is still some balancing to happen at this level of the market.

 

 

Chalets between $2.5-4Million

This level of the Whistler real estate chalet market is performing much better than the middle level. With 17 listings available today we have already seen 6 sales so far this year.

Last year there were 28 available for sale at this time of year with 7 sales. Although the pace of sales has declined slightly the listing to sales ratio has improved significantly!

The last time there were 17 listings available for sale was 5 years ago in July 2008.

 

2-4 Chalet_Listings_vs_Median_0613

Chalets above $4Million

This level of the Whistler chalet market has not been very active in the first half of the year over the past 5 years with at most 1 sale at that level of the real estate market.

There are currently 26 listings for sale at this level of the market which represents a similar number available throughout the last 5 years.

With 4-5 chalets selling each year in Whistler at this level of the real estate market, we are still in need of some further market balancing.

 

As you can see from the above, the market is in the midst of establishing two price thresholds in the Whistler real estate market today. One is zeroing in between $1.5-2M and the other between $3-5M. This is not uncommon to find in a resort market with different influences coming from both internal and external sources. It is my experience that once this gets establish and the market finds the balance points, that more and more buyers will find the confidence to jump.

 

See the charts included for a view of how the number of listings and median prices have changed over the past 4 years for the three most active segments. You will see that the median prices in each of these segments is slowly creeping upwards... a good sign for any market!

 

Look for the next Whistler real estate update to breakdown the townhome market and establish some trends to follow going forward.

Whistler's Farmer's Market will kick off for the season this Sunday, June 16th with over 80 local vendors and artisans!

The Farmers' market in Whistler is a great place to pick up locally sourced, sustainable food from a wide variety of framers in the Sea to Sky Corridor.  Need a special gift?  Check out the numerous talented local artisans booths to pick up that unique gift or keepsake.

 

The market has become a key meeting place for Whistler locals and visitors alike.

 

While you're here why not check out some the latest deals in the Whistler Real Estate market.  Lots happening this year.

 

June weather in Whistler is always a mixed bag. It can be 5 degrees and raining one day and 23 and sunny the next. June this year in real estate is anything but...

The market numbers and indicators across most segment remain consistent and for the most part positive once again!  As always real estate in Whistler remains very segmented and to pinpoint a level or type of the market, we should connect for further insights.

I've always watched the Key Factors of a real estate market in order to advise my clients on current trends.  Listings, Sales, Median/Average Pricing, Cost of Money and Political/Government/Social Changes are the key factors that affect how any real estate market acts. I like to throw in a couple minor indicators to help paint a more colourful Whistler picture...

Current Listings in Whistler sit at 540. This time last year – 681 This represents a 22% decrease!

Sales – Past 365 Days – 571. This time last year – 578. Year to Date 2013 – 236. 2012 Year to Date – 252. Sales pace is very consistent even though there is less inventory available.

Average Pricing Market wide 2013 - $785,829. 2012 - $750,439. This represents a 5% increase

Median Pricing Market wide 2013 - $544,000. 2012 - $522,000. Approximately 5% increase

5 Yr Whistler Market - Sales Volume   of Listings

Interesting Stat for this edition..

Chalet sales under $1,200,000 are up over 45% year to date from 2012. There were only 8 in 2012 and we have already seen 15 in 2013.

Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada Rate has not changed in the past 6 months and remains at 1.0%, and Prime remains at 3.0% . The 5yr fixed rate has changed over the past 2 weeks and has increased by nearly 30 points. This represents a 10% increase in the cost of financing today versus last week.

The CDN $ currently sits at .967 US$. This is a 4.1 % decline from January 2013 and 1.5% decline from June 2012.

International Bond Yield have decreased slightly which indicates to me that this is the beginning of the increase in interest rates.

My experience has been that when rates start to climb slightly, we see an increase in demand as people take advantage of rate holds booked by their brokers. Look for this as an opportunity to get into the market prior to the rush.

Politics/Government

Last month the BC Liberals won a historic election with a strong majority. This means business as usual and a good thing for the BC Economy. Look for continued investment into the Province and stronger job numbers coming out over the next few months.

On April 1st we welcomed an old friend back into the game. HST(12%) changed back to GST(5%). Any new, commercial or nightly rental type properties are now only subject to 5% GST instead of 12% at the beginning of the year. The government gave you a 7% price reduction... How often does that happen.

Summaries

When you drill down and look at the indicators, it is clear that the market is not the same as it was in 2012. 22% fewer listings today and a similar number of sales. Interest rates have started their slight increase, which based on experience, will increase buying activity throughout the markets across BC and Canada. The change from HST to GST in BC means that buyers looking in certain segments of real estate in Whistler received an immediate 7% price reduction. The Aspens and The Woodrun are both complexes that are in good rental locations that have seen slight increases in sales values over the past few sales as a result of the above.

The cost of money has also changed and although interest rates have increased slightly, the Canadian dollar has decreased. This should drive some more international interest to Whistler as both visitors and investors. More visitors and more spending in Whistler is a good thing and will help to feed our market

I will leave you with one final thought...

The real estate market in Whistler is a VERY small market and any one of these factors can change it significantly and quickly!

The number of listings to me is the most significant change over the past 12 months and to put it into perspective a little better let's put it in perspective.

Currently there are just over 15,200 properties built in all of Whistler. 540 listings represents just over 3.5% of that total.

In 2003 which was one of our strongest real estate markets in the past decade there was average 430 listings available throughout the year. With only 13,867 properties built in Whistler it represented approximately 3.1% of the total.

I don't think many people have this knowledge yet and haven't put it into this kind of perspective. Translation, if you've been waiting to move on something in Whistler, you better get on it quickly before everyone else catches on....

Transition Year Expected for BC Housing Market

BCREA 2013 Second Quarter Housing Forecast

Vancouver, BC – May 9, 2013. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2013 Second Quarter Housing Forecast today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to edge up 1.9 per cent to 68,900 units this year, before increasing a further 6.5 per cent to 73,400 units in 2014. The five-year average is 74,600 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 86,800 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

"Stricter mortgage credit regulation combined with slower economic growth has kept BC home sales at a cyclical low over the past three quarters," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "However, a faster growing economy is expected during the second half of the year and through 2014 which will support a growth trend in provincial housing demand."

"The BC average home price forecast is revised upward for 2013, from a decline of 1 per cent to remaining unchanged, as a result of stronger than expected market conditions in Vancouver," added Muir. The average MLS® residential price in BC is forecast at $515,800 this year, before rising 1.7 per cent to $524,500 in 2014.

Source: BCREA Press Release

Rob Palm

T: 604 905 2860 | F: 604 932 1279 | E: rob@wrec.com
#17-4308 Main Street, Whistler, BC, V0N 1B4