Whistler making noise
Areas in B.C. gain momentum as summer nears
The 2010 Olympics did generate some interest in Whistler’s recreation property market.
For the first three months of this year, 78 properties were sold, up from 66 the previous year, says the 2010 Re/Max Recreational Property report.
“The market is just now starting to gain momentum, with buying activity spread evenly across the board among chalets, condominiums, townhouses and quarter-share ownerships,” it says.
Most sought after are properties priced between $400,000 and $800,000, except for chalets where demand is for those priced from $700,000 to $2 million.
The most expensive property sold to date had a price of $4.3 million — but there is a property on the market at $15 million.
There are a number of smaller lakefront cottages on Cultus Lake priced from $800,000, while cabins near the water are priced from $300,000 to $500,000.
Recreation property sales in south-central Cariboo are gaining momentum heading into the traditionally busy summer months. Nine properties have changed hands between January and March, up from eight sales posted during the same period one year ago.
Out-of-area buyers are driving demand for quality waterfront homes on popular lakes such as Bridge Lake, Big Lake, Horse Lake, Sheridan Lake and Horsefly Lake. Affordability has greatly improved compared to the same period last year, with overall prices down marginally from 2009.
The most active price range is $180,000 to $300,000 — which, depending on taste, will buy a rural, pristine lakefront property with a two-bedroom cabin, or a five-bedroom residence on a small lake close to town.
The top end of the market — priced at $300,000 plus — remains static, although buyers are willing to ante up for the right property. The most expensive waterfront property sold this year for more than $800,000.
The most expensive home now listed is asking $1.25 million, while the lowest-priced property is going for $119,000.
While the two north Okanagan Valley areas have seen slower sales, there is a steadily growing sense of confidence in the recreation property marketplace, says the Re/Max report. The basis for the growing confidence is a perceived better bang for the buck among cautious consumers.
From January to March, the Shuswap has seen 10 sales, while Vernon has counted four — but both totals are well over 2009 levels. “The market remains in recovery. Prices have experienced some adjustment with plenty of opportunity available — particularly at the top end,” says the report.
Plenty of properties are for sale on Okanagan, Kalamalka and Shuswap lakes, but the market is tighter on Mara Lake and other smaller lakes in the region.
Three bedroom homes will cost $1,15 million on Okanagan, $2.3 million on Kalamalka, and $750,000 on Shuswap and Mara.
In the Vernon area, seasonal properties start at $600,000, condos at $400,000 and backrow properties close to big lakes range from $180,000 to $300,000.
“Albertans remain quite active, with a growing number seeking out properties with an eye to retirement,” says Re/Max.
While demand for rec properties in this part of the province is up from last year, sales pale in comparison to 2007.
Single-detached homes that have sold this year are under the $1-million mark.
“An abundance of listings is available for sale and buyers are in the driver’s seat,” says the Re/ Max report. “Affordability continues to be an issue, especially now that more stringent lending criteria is in place with regards to the purchase of a second home.”
The area underwent a “serious correction” in 2008 and although prices have since stabilized, the recreation properties market is down by as much as 20 per cent.
The strongest activity to date has occurred on Okanagan Lake, Skaha Lake and Osoyoos Lake.
The most expensive sale this year — $3.5 million — was for a 3,000-square-foot bungalow on a property facing Lake Okanagan.
The Shuswap area has more sales compared to 2009.