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Whistler real estate second quarter review 2013

Blog by Nick Swinburne | July 25th, 2013

As we start the 2nd half of 2013 we can look back and see that the past 6 months has brought some certainty to the local Whistler real estate market.  It does appear the worst of the economic crisis is behind us and while we are still seeing some price reductions in some types and areas of the market, other areas are seeing multiple offers start to occur and overall buyer confidence in Whistler continues to grow stronger.  At a time of year when we typically see more listings come to market, we have experienced the opposite and reductions in Whistler inventory persist; the fisrt sign of a recovering market.  We currently have 485 active chalets, condos, duplexes and townhomes listings in the valley compared to 586 listings a year ago*.  Less supply and increased demand will lead to a shift from a Buyer’s market to a balanced market over the next few years.  A slight increase in mortgage rates is also a good indicator that change is occurring and I caution any buyer who feels that it’s better to sit on the fence to wait and see what next year brings.  Now is the time to be making your purchase unless having less to choose from or paying more is the foundation of your investment strategy.

2013 Whistler real estate year to date:  Although inventory is declining, I have put together a chart showing average sale prices for the past 5 years including 2013 ytd:

Whistler Real estate Median selling price



phase I

Condo residential

phase II

Townhomes Phase I

Townhomes residential

2013  $1,148,000.00   $299,500.00  $265,000.00  $115,000.00  $605,000.00  $570,000.00
2012  $ 1,261,000.00  $299,000.00  $247,000.00  $150,000.00  $627,000.00  $518,500.00
2011  $ 1,106,000.00  $305,000.00  $287,000.00  $195,000.00  $645,000.00  $532,000.00
2010  $ 1,095,000.00  $400,000.00  $264,750.00  $173,000.00  $690,000.00  $469,000.00
2009  $ 1,085,000.00  $340,000.00  $292,000.00  $284,500.00  $615,000.00  $440,000.00
2008  $ 1,190,000.00  $415,000.00  $297,500.00  $285,000.00  $727,500.00  $660,750.00

Chalets have shown a steady increase in number of sales from 2008 where we had 82 sales up to 2012 where we had 87 sales.  Current ytd sales numbers are at 61 and should easily surpass last year’s amount if the Buyers can find the inventory.  2009 marked the lowest median sale price and overall, median sale prices have also been increasing since 2009 with 2012 equalling or surpassing pre-recession figures.  Desire to own ‘land’ will continue to make this a hot segment of the Whistler market for the future.

Unrestricted nightly rental condos (Phase I) saw a 2012 median sale price of $299,000.  This was the lowest price point we have seen in the past decade for this type of property.  The 2013 median is currently at $299,500 year to date and overall the Phase I condos have also see a steady increase in number of sales since 2010.  Active inventory is still strong in this segment but has diminished in the past 12 months.

Non nightly rental condos have followed a similar trend as the Phase I with a 10 year median sale price low of $247,000 in 2012.  Current 2013 median sale price sits at $265,000 and this type of product will likely hover in this range for a few years to come.

Restricted use nightly rental condos (Phase II) have been a source of media coverage over the past few years as headlines read “Whistler prices down 68% from peak” and this segment of the Whistler real estate market has been hit from all sides.  Speculative buying in 2003 with the announcement of the Winter Olympics saw prices sky-rocket but a strong Canadian dollar after 2008 lead to reduced visitor numberrs in the resort and lower revenues. This coupled with tighter lending restrictions have decimated the Phase II market.  While we may be close to reaching a bottom in this segment, a return to earlier 2000 pricing will be some time in coming if at all.

Unrestricted nightly rental townhomes have seen over a 100% increase in the number of sales since 2009 with median sale prices staying in the low $600,000 range.  A very popular purchase for regional Buyers, this type of real estate offers revenue potential and the option to use personally.  Depending on location and condition, I feel we will likely see this segment level out in the coming year.

Residential Townhomes median sale prices have seen a steady increase from their 2009 low of $440,000.  2013 continues this trend by surpassing 2009 – 2012 sale prices but is still down 20% from our 2008 high of $660,750.

Moving forward:  Since 2009 Whistler real estate has seen a 44% increase in the overall numbers of sales.  From 2009 to 2012 we saw an overall decrease of 10% in median sale price but fom 2012 to 2013 ytd we have seen a 2.5% increase in median sale price.  Continued buyer demand will reduce the available inventory.  Less supply and increased demand typically means prices will increase.  As Whistler continues to be a destination market based on peoples love of the outdoors, its success will be reflected in the health of the Canadian and global economy.  While we cannot predict the future, history has shown that while there are periods of slow growth or decline in Whistler real estate, the trend over the long term is upwards.  I am confident that we will continue to see improvements in this market as the Canadian dollar softens and domestic and international investment return.  In this improving economic climate we will also see the psychology of the sellers change; opting not to work with offers based on previous lower sale prices but instead holding on for market improvements.

I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have on the direection of the local market, so touch base to discuss you goals and how best help you achieve them.


*Stats are taken from the Whistler Listing Service and deemed accurate.