It is rumoured that it is never hard to start a conversation with a Canadian because you can always lead off with a comment about the weather. It seems to be a national obsession. As a Realtor, the same thing applies. Everyone from 9 to 90 is comfortable asking a Realtor “ How’s the market”. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are actively buying or selling property, thinking about it or have no plans at all.
In most larger communities, the market moves with the local economic influences. On Salt Spring the market seems to move with the influence of the markets and economics of the larger communities that are “ Away” as the Newfies would put it. We are the tail of the dog. Attached to the larger body but following behind. Some times wagging briskly with positive energy and sometimes hanging low. Our biggest source of off island buyers has traditionally been the lower mainland of Vancouver and BC in general. The California and Alberta buyers are just the frosting on the cake.
So.........How’s the Market?
So far in 2014 there have been about 37 deals written plus or minus. For the same period in 2013 there were about 31 deals written YTD. In 2014 they ranged from a $34,000 RV lot to a $1.5M estate. With this spread in property types and prices and the limited numbers of sales, statistics on average prices aren’t particularly meaningful but for this year the average sale price was $513, 996 and for 2013 it was $513, 031. Basically it is a stable market. More telling is that the time on market average has dropped by about 10%. Properties are selling a little faster. This with the sale price to asking price ratio improving from about 90% to around 94% and the sale price to BC Assessment value price ratio improving from sales being an average of 91% of the assessed value in 2013 to an average of about 107% of assessed value shows a much more positive outlook. Keep in mind that BC Assessments ranged from 67% of the sale price to 212% so while it can be an indicator the property value, it is not the most accurate gauge.
What’s the future?
Just like the weather, all we can say is it will get warmer and dryer in the summer and cooler and wetter in the winter. Just like climate change models predict, it will probably get warmer. Not in way that we can observe on a day to day basis but definitely see a trend over the not so distant future. Barring a meteor crash like this last sub-prime economic event, the averages look like they will get warmer and warmer with occasional cool periods and some hot ones. Perception is a huge influence and the general attitude is that we have been on the bottom of the market for a couple of years now and things are looking better.
Basically it’s a good time to buy for longer term investment opportunities but don’t expect to flip a property in a year and make a profit unless you improved the property. Yes, it looks like a good time to do this. There are many homes that need updates and renovations that can be purchased for a reasonable price and over the 5 year plan, you will most likely get more than your money back ( unless you have really bad taste in your improvements). Remember that what you like may not be what the majority of the other buyers like. Ask a Realtor, they get educated on buyers wants on a daily basis.
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Pemberton Holmes Salt Spring Island