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John Ryan - Whistler Real Estate Corporation
John Ryan - Whistler Real Estate Corporation - View Listings
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WHISTLER MARKET REPORT

QTR. 1 2021

The real estate market in Whistler during the first quarter of 2021 continued to exhibit the themes and results experienced during the second half of 2020.

Historically high levels in the number of sales continued the upward pressure on values while reducing the number of listings and time on the market for those listings. Both factors meant we found ourselves in a market that was largely similar to the final quarter of 2020, and in one that continues to strongly favor sellers at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Our market conditions continue to be driven by very low-interest rates for borrowing, large amounts of disposable capital, the increased awareness of the effectiveness and flexibility of remote working, and the world class beauty, lifestyle, and safety that living in Whistler offers.

As any quick google search for information on the housing market would confirm, Whistler’s first quarter results are not unique. Canada’s real estate (particularly in smaller communities) is in high demand and will likely continue in the short term.

Market Snapshot

Market activity during the first quarter equaled or exceeded the historically high levels experienced during the last quarter of 2020. The total value of sales exceeded 450 million dollars, matching that reported in October to December of 2020. This also represents 40% of the value reported in all of 2020. The number of sales increased slightly to 312 which is the highest quarterly sales volume in a decade.

Overall, average sales value for the marketplace fell by 5% since the end of 2020 due to a significant increase in activity in the lower valued segments of the marketplace (condominiums and shared ownership)

Although activity levels overall remained relatively unchanged in the quarter, individual market segments performed differently. The single-family home market experienced a 10% reduction in sales activity due to the reduced number of listings, however, the average value of a sale rose by 3.4% as compared to the last quarter and now stands at $3,967,000 (median of $3,250,000). This is also a 15% increase over the average for 2020.

The townhouse market also saw a reduction in sales activity from the last quarter of 2020 also due to a limited number of listings. Sales activity in this category fell by 45%, however the reported number of sales is consistent with historical quarterly levels over the last 10 years. Average sales value did increase however, by approximately 11% from the end of 2020, and now sits at $1,596,000 (median of $1,275,000)

The condominium market saw a strong increase of 25% in activity, while reporting a 5% increase in value from the start of the year to $885,000 ($779,000 median value)

The luxury market (properties over $4M) continued strong with 15 reported sales, which although being slightly lower than reported in the last quarter of 2020, still represents a level much higher than the average over the last 10 years.

Looking Ahead to Next Quarter

At the current time, the number of active listings in Whistler is 20% lower than at the end of 2020 and is at its lowest levels since the same quarter in 2018. We expect demand to remain very strong because of low interest rates and very high level of available capital. Once travel restrictions and short-term health concerns resolve we can expect even higher levels of interest. Market trends favoring sellers are expected to continue through the summer.

As things continue, there are a few things that may have an impact in our marketplace. The low levels of opportunity and current price for existing properties (in all categories) may cause purchasers to refocus in other areas of investment or simply decide to stop looking. Further, trends in construction costs and slow approval process means the supply of new developments or spec builds will trail demand significantly and increase the focus on already built properties. Additionally, any upward move in interest rates or inflation could impact on buyer psychology.

We are now in the third quarter of double-digit growth in sales and values in Whistler, and we expect that any further growth in sales and values will be moderate for the foreseeable future.

We are dedicated to keeping abreast of our market to ensure we provide you with a well-informed, and current strategic view of investment potential and advice on your purchase or sale. If you have questions, or would just like to chat about the current market, please email us or call 604-932-7670 any time.


YEAR END 2020

Sales activity started slowly and then dropped to almost nothing in the second quarter, recovered and roared ahead to historical levels in the third and fourth quarters while slowing again in December.

Overall, for the year the total value of reported sales exceeded one billion dollars, and the total number of sales transactions increased by over 30 percent as compared to 2019.

The increase in demand can be attributed to a combination of historically low interest rates which improved purchasing power; significant wealth creation as a result of the K shaped economy; the attractiveness of small towns associated with health and safety around Covid concerns; and increased awareness of both the effectiveness and flexibility of remote working.

These factors led to a strong real estate market not just in Whistler and the Sea to Sky, but in smaller communities across North America. This strong demand in Whistler, however, resulted in a significant drop in the number of properties being offered for sale and values have increased in all categories of real estate in Whistler at year end as compared to the end of 2019.

The strongest segments of the market were in the single-family market (highlighted by a record number of transactions above $4,000,000, including a sale of $19,000,000) and the family-orientated townhouse market. As such these two categories accounted for almost 65% of the value transacted for the year.

The condominium market was slightly slower than 2019 but this slight slowdown had no impact on valuations.

As of the end of December, the average transaction value for the Whistler marketplace was $1,533,451, approximately a 22% increase from 2019.

Currently the average transaction value of a single-family home is $3,445,238 (median of $2,450,000). Townhouses are averaging $1,433,905 (median of $1,240,000) and condominiums are averaging a sales value of $839,590 (median of $675,000).


YEAR END 2019

Whistler’s Real Estate market in 2019 began slowly, paralleling trends seen throughout British Columbia which began back in the second half of 2018 and continued into the first half of 2019.

However, a strong recovery in consumer confidence combined with low-interest rates and a strong tourist season saw the marketplace return to its historical levels of activity during the second half of 2019. Therefore, despite the total number of transactions being below that achieved in 2018 by 16%, the overall average transaction remained essentially unchanged from that achieved in 2018, finishing the year at $1,247,388

That being said, different categories of the market experienced different results during 2019 that should be highlighted to better understand where we stand heading into 2020.

Single-Family Homes in Whistler

Despite an approximately 12% reduction in activity, the average transaction value was largely unchanged from one year ago, finishing 2019 at $2,881,000. Over the course of the year the number of properties offered for sale increased steadily and the total number of listings, as well as the average time on the market, also increased. Going into 2020 we will see a balanced market for single-family homes, particularly those below $3,000,000.

Townhouses in Whistler

The townhouse market experienced both an 18% decline in activity, and a drop in average transaction value by 11%. By the end of 2019, the average sales value for a townhouse was $1,354,000. Much of this sectors behavior is as a result of fewer luxury townhouse sales, an increased focus on properties that offered short term rental opportunities combined with fewer listings being offered on market. Overall value per square foot held steady at $1,150.00 a square foot. The average time on the market also remains largely unchanged and the number of listings has not increased. Going into 2020 we expect this market to be balanced, with a continued strong interest in lower-priced townhouses that offer rental opportunities. We anticipate sales value to continue in the $1,100-$1,200 square foot range.

Condominiums in Whistler

Similar to the last two sectors, the condominium market experienced a drop in sales activity in 2019, 15% below 2018. However, it was the most active part of the market with over 200 sales. Strong demand for condominium properties fuelled an increase of the transaction value by 9% to $733,000. Like the townhouse sector, properties that offered the opportunity for either managed, or personally managed, rental incomes were extremely popular and often resulted in multiple offers in the second part of the year. Overall the total number of listings fell slightly, while average days on the market increased to 43 days, but still indicative of a seller’s market.

Whistler’s Luxury Market

The luxury market in Whistler (properties over $3,000.000) is a highly specialized, unique market that is difficult to analyze. This is due to its small size and the unique features that are often found with these one-of-a-kind properties. Overall, sales activity fell significantly during 2019, however, the average value of those transactions increased by 7% during the year to finish at $4,856,368 ($1,483 per square foot). As we move into 2020, the expected time on the market will begin to lengthen as a result of the slowly increasing number of properties being offered for sale in this price range when compared to prior years. We would expect that sellers should be patient, and price effectively if they wish to meet their goals within the next 12 months. The luxury market going into 2020 can best be described as a buyer’s market.

The third quarter of 2019 saw increased sales activity after a slower than average second quarter, bringing activity levels back to that of the last 6 quarters. The current market has stabilized from the frenzied conditions of 2015-2017, although overall sales values remain strong and relatively consistent.

Overall average transaction value YTD is $1,269,800 – a slight increase on values from the first quarter. Buyer demand remains strong with continued interest in the resort and high visitation levels.


YEAR END 2018

After heightened and frenzied activity throughout 2015-2017, the Whistler real estate market has now entered a period of stabilization, with a cooling of market activity. Over the course of 2018, the volume of transactions dropped by 26% YOY and are at consistent levels seen prior to the peak of the Whistler market cycle in 2015-2017; the pace at which activity dropped was accelerated in the 3rd and 4th quarters by a rise in interest rates and new mortgage approval rules began to dampen buyer enthusiasm locally, regionally and nationally.

The total value of transactions reported to the Whistler Listing System for 2018 was approximately $828 million, down 18.2% YOY. However, despite a slowing in transactional activity, the average property value in Whistler has continued to increase to $1,250,168 – an increase of 7.5% from 2017.

Single Family Homes and Large Townhomes: Family oriented accommodation continued to attract strong interest; however, the scarcity of opportunities and higher average price points mitigated the amount of demand. As such, average values for single-family home transactions in 2018 only appreciated by approximately 2.5%.

Condominiums and Townhomes (with nightly rentals): Increased international awareness as a result of the Vail purchase as well as the success of the community in significantly increasing overnight guests to the resort created strong interest from both traditional real estate investors and leisure-buyers looking to offset their personal usage with rental income. Overall, the average transaction value for condominiums in Whistler increased by just over 11% to $664, 390 while the average townhouse transaction value increased by 33% to $1, 526,168 in 2018. Accounting for 67% of market activity and 56% of the total market value, the condominium and townhouse sectors represent the majority of the transactions in the Whistler real estate marketplace.

Luxury Market (properties in excess of $2 million): This continues to be a strong part of the Whistler market and, with 119 total transactions, activity remained very consistent as compared to 2017. Overall these sales represent 18% of all transactions and approximately 48% of the total transaction value. The average transaction value for this segment was $3,363,000, down slightly from the previous year.

Many properties in Whistler are now valued and selling in excess of $1,000 a square foot, which places our real estate market on par with most of the elite ski resorts in North America – the Canadian below par dollar offers good value to international buyers compared to their domestic markets.

Going into 2019, we expect the Whistler real estate market to operate under more balanced conditions, with limited appreciation in price levels with the exception of some niche offerings experiencing pent up demand and limited historic inventory. As popularity in Whistler as a resort continues to grow, we expect to observe a continued supply of demand and buyers looking to benefit from their investments. As such, supply and demand will direct pricing in the year ahead.

We are dedicated to keeping abreast of our market to ensure we provide you with a well-informed, and current strategic view of investment potential and advice on your purchase or sale. If you have questions, or would just like to chat about the current market, please email us or call 604-932-7670 any time.


YEAR END 2017

The Whistler real estate market experienced another active year in 2017, resulting in significant price increases in most sectors and over one billion dollars of transactions. Despite the total reported sales falling below 2016, strong buyer interest continued to drive valuations.

Total transactions decreased by 16.2% compared to 2016, however this was more than offset by a 26% increase in the average transaction price (currently $1,163,392 compared to $901,451 at the end of 2016). The first half of 2017 was particularly strong due to a peak in buyer interest however as the number of properties offered for sale continued to decline market activity slowed.

Luxury Market: The luxury market (properties valued at over $2 million) continued to grow as a result of increased valuations. 122 properties changed hands in 2017 representing approximately 14% of the total transactions. With an average price of $3,634,000 this segment represents 40% of total market value.

Chalets & Townhouses: Larger, family orientated properties experienced the highest level of interest, resulting in double-digit rates of appreciation. Average single-family home values in Whistler rose by 26% to $2,835,000 and average townhouse values rose by 28% to $1,163,000. As a result of this high level of interest, the number of family-style properties being offered for sale has dropped significantly, which is driving an upward price movement.

Condos: The condominium market once again showed the highest level of activity with over 300 reported transactions (35% of the overall market share). Values in this market sector increased by 21% since the end of 2016.

Strong buyer interest continues to drive values upwards and reduce the number of opportunities available, with all segments of the market currently seeing the lowest number of properties offered for sale in modern memory. This will likely mean activity levels will continue to drop despite strong buyer interest, and prices will feel upward pressure. Continued double-digit rates of appreciation are unrealistic to expect to continue so anticipating a moderation of price increases in 2018.


YEAR END 2016

2016 marked one of the most active years on record with over $1 billion worth of sales driven by significant price appreciation across all major segments; overall transaction volume increased YOY by 22% and YOY value by 12.6% to $901,765.

Chalets & Townhomes: Buyer interest was particularly strong in the first two quarters, resulting from continued favourable exchange rates, low interest rates and record breaking resort visitation. Large family orientated properties (single family and townhomes) observed the highest rates of appreciation with YOY values for single family homes increasing by 32% to $2,252,000 and townhomes increasing by 24% to $947,000.

Condos: The highest level of transactions was seen in the condo market, with over 400 transactions reported year-end and a marked 11.7% YOY increase in volume.

Condominiums and townhomes currently represent 65% of the total market leading to almost 70% of all transactions in 2016 were under $1,000,000.

We anticipate a decline in transaction activity across all segments as listing inventory approaches a historic low, despite strong buyer interest resulting in continued upward pressure on property values. However, external market factors remain unpredictable in their influence of our market, including interest rates, government and financial regulation and the impact of a Trump presidency in the US.


YEAR END 2015

The Whistler real estate market has seen continued growth for the past 5 consecutive years in both sales activity and sales value; the most recent data indicates market conditions have returned to those prior to the financial collapse in 2008/2009.

The resort’s continued efforts in positioning Whistler as a diverse, year-round destination has resulted in ongoing growth in Whistler real estate demand; low interest rates, a favourable Canadian dollar, and an active real estate market in the Greater Vancouver area are all contributing factors to the upward pressure on prices across all market segments.

Overall, sales volume increased YOY by 14% and total sales value exceeded $673 million. Average sales transaction value was the highest seen since 2007, reaching $799,937 at the end of 2015 – a YOY increase of 10.5%.

LUXURY MARKET

The luxury real estate market ($2 million+) continues to strengthen with a 33% YOY increase in sales volume and a 55% YOY increase in total sales value.
Of the sixty luxury market transactions in 2015, our team represented 33 clients – accounting for nearly half of total sales value for this market ($139m+).

CONDOS & TOWNHOMES

Condo and townhomes had a 6% increase in transaction volumes and an average year-end sales price of $415,600 (YOY increase of 7.1%) and $756,142 (YOY increase of 8.4%) respectively.

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

Activity in the single-family home market increased by about 22% with an average transaction value of $1,697,000 – a YOY increase of 5%.

Inventory remains low in Whistler (the lowest in over a decade) – resulting in well-priced listings selling quickly, often under multiple offer situations. As we enter 2016 prices are expected to remain strong as contributing market factors are likely to remain unchanged. Sales activity is expected to slow after our record year in 2015 due to an absence of new developments and new opportunities in the market place.