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Whistler real estate market update for Q1 2013


Blog by Nick Swinburne | April 16th, 2013


As we move into the second quarter of the year, stats from the Whistler Listing System show that first quarter residential home sales saw a 45% increased from the end of 2012 and a 40% increase from the same period last year.  Figures for condo sales stayed relatively similar for phase I, phase II and standard residential zoned properties while duplex sales saw a small increase.  Both phase I and residential townhome sales saw a decrease in sales, (due in part to less inventory available for people to purchase), with Phase I townhomes seeing a 20% decline in the number of sales compared to the same period last year and a 15% decline from Q4 2012.

Sales for the first 3 months of 2013 totaled 122, compared to 124 sales in Q4 2012, and 122 for the same period last year (Q1 2012)

Whistler Sales

Q1 2013

Q4 2012

Q1 2012

Chalet

Residential

35

24

25

Condo

Phase I

24

27

24

 

Phase II

16

14

17

 

Residential

1

1

2

 

Total

41

42

43

Duplex

Residential

5

3

2

Townhouse

Phase I

28

33

35

 

Residential

12

15

14

 

Total

40

48

49

Vacant land

Residential

1

7

3


Despite a small increase in March, the trend of decreasing inventory has continued through the first quarter of 2013, with a total of 541 active chalet, condo, duplex, townhouse and vacant land listings available for purchase.

whistler real estate active listings

Looking at inventory levels in each type of property, we have seen a 4% increase in the number of single family homes come to market since January (128 up to 133), A 11.7% decrease in the amount of active condo units (213 to 188), and an increase of 3.8% in townhome inventory since the start of the year (131 to 136).

January saw a total of 40 sales and 542 active listings giving us an absorption rate of 7.2%; February saw 46 sales with 545 active listings for an AR of 8.4% and March saw a total of 39 sales with 551 active listings, giving an AR of 7%.  This leaves us with an average absorption rate of 7.5% for the first quarter of 2013, keeping Whistler in a Buyer’s market.  It should be noted though that due to increased Buyer activity, inventory availability in some types of property (i.e. single family homes and phase I townhomes) is decreasing, leading to a more balanced market.

Median sale price for Whistler real estate was up in the first quarter of 2013 to $633,300.  This is a 9.6% increase from the 2012 first quarter figure of $577,600 and a 13.4% increase from 2012 Q4 figure of $558,300.  It should be noted that there were several above average sale prices in February of 2013.  These outliers will have an effect of moving the median sale price up for this period.

Whistler chalets and townhomes for sale

Overall sales volume also continued to increase.  In the first quarter of 2012 we had $98 million in sales, the last quarter of 2012 we had $103 million in sales and for the first 3 months of 2013 we had $112 million in sales volume, respective increases of 14.2% and 8.7%.

Looking forward

The Whistler market continues to see an increase in Buyer activity leading to an increase in the number of sales (where inventory is available).  While price decreases continue to be prevalent (and in some cases still needed to reach fair market value), the large price reductions that we saw through 2010 – 2012 have abated.  There is an increasing sentiment from Sellers that as inventory decreases and the burden of economic crisis is reduced, they will hold off reducing their price and wait for this market to recover.  I still maintain that there are very good opportunities for buyers in this market.  A reduction in selection is starting to tip the scales back into the seller’s favour meaning the difference between asking price and selling price is starting to shrink.

With continued low financing options, continued growth in Whistler tourism from events like the Ironman, Tough Mudder and Grandfondo; with improvements to Whistler/Blackcomb infrastructure (2 new lifts announced for next year) and ease of transportation up the Sea to Sky, I would suggest that if owning a recreational property in Whistler is a goal for you, then 2013 is the year to get onboard.

As always, I welcome the opportunity to discuss the local market and current opportunities within.  If you, or someone you know, is interested in buying or selling here, please contact me or forward my contact information to them.  I would be pleased to extend my professional services to them.

Sincerely,
Nick