Whistler mak­ing noise

Ar­eas in B.C. gain mo­men­tum as sum­mer nears

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties -

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.

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