Mark your calendars!

The Bank of Canada has released its schedule for 2023’s interest rate policy announcements.

The Bank carries out monetary policy by influencing short-term interest rates. It does this by adjusting the target for the overnight rate on eight fixed dates each year.
Rates will be annouced as follows:
January 25th- Interest rate announcement & Monetary Policy Report
March 8th – Interest rate announcement
April 12th- Interest rate announcement & Monetary Policy Report
June 7th – Interest rate announcement
July 12th- Interest rate announcement & Monetary Policy Report
September 6th – Interest rate announcement
October 25th- Interest rate announcement & Monetary Policy Report
December 6th – Interest rate announcement
In 2022 we saw most of these dates in the third and fourth quarter result in increases in the prime rate. This helped soothe the red-hot sellers’ market by reducing demand and inflation. It also has made it more difficult for first-time homebuyers to receive lending.  Take a look at the most recent data below:

Do you want to know more about how this will impact your real estate goals?

Get in touch!

Important changes have come to the BC residential housing market

The province’s Home Buyer Rescission period came into effect on January 3rd, 2023.

As of midnight following the acceptance of an offer, homebuyers will have 3 days to back out of an offer if they can’t secure financing or arrange a home inspection – or even if they just get cold feet.  In fact, there is no “reason” that the homebuyers need to provide to walk away from the deal.

The government says it will give buyers some protection in the face of rising interest rates and what it calls high-pressure sales tactics.

This policy will run separately from a subject period if there is one. It may not be waived or negotiated on any residential real estate purchase, despite what is included in the contract.

In an effort to combat that strategy, the province has included a financial penalty for people who walk away from a deal. If a buyer backs out, they will have to pay the seller a cancellation fee of 0.25 percent. On a million-dollar offer, that adds up to a penalty of $2,500.

If the homebuyer does not pay this money, it may be up to the seller to take legal action to receive what is owed to them. This has caused some criticism and is another reason to ensure your Realtor knows how to handle deposit instructions and properly protect you in your transaction.

As mentioned above, there are some exemptions to this policy which include:

  • Subject to section 21 of the Real Estate Development act
  • Residential real estate on leased land
  • leasehold interest in residential real estate2
  • At auction
  • Under a court order or supervision of the court

Want to know more about this policy and how it will impact your properties? Let’s chat!

 

First of all, What is Après Ski?

Après Ski or after ski is a traditional and celebrated part of ski cultures

For those not in the know, Après ski or after ski, takes place between the last hour of the mountain and is open (about 2-3 PM) and lasts until early dinner time (about 5-6 PM).  Après staples normally include beer, boozy warmers, and heavy snacks (think deep-fried and cheese-y) as a reward for a hard day on the slopes.

During these hours, it is normal to stay in your mountain gear, which creates a laid-back and carefree fun to it all.  Originally started in the French Alps, the culture has spread to ski resorts throughout the world.

Naturally, we have adopted it as our own here in the Canadian Coastal Mountains and have lovingly given it our own twist. In almost every bar, pub, and restaurant in the Whistler Village, you can find special offerings specifically for Après. However, not all Après are created equally! Read this guide to find the right Après atmosphere for your trip to Whistler.

Best for…Aprés in Creekside

Dusty’s

This Iconic spot is Whistler’s OG watering hole. Take a step back in time to the lore & legend that helped establish the resort we know and love today. Rumored to be named after Dusty, a stuffed horse that rode into Whistler in 1979 in the back of a pick-up. He was placed in the bar, and for almost a decade, watched over the regulars as they partied the nights away. Today, you can find tourists and locals alike enjoying this venue.

Located at the base of the brand new Creekside Gondola, Dusty’s is known for their amazing Caesar’s and smoking BBQ. They often feature rocking live music and shows.

Not only is it the oldest pub in town, but it also boasts Whistler’s largest & sunniest patio. It’s worth the trip to Creekside.

Best for… a party

The Longhorn Saloon

It would be impossible to talk about Après in Whistler without mentioning the Longhorn. Legendary for a reason, no one else in town (or the country for that matter) throws an Après party better than they do.

There are “champagne showers” shot out of special water guns over the crowd, lots of sparklers, and dancing on the reinforced steel chairs. The setup has evolved over the year to resemble that of a small music festival; live DJs, smoke, lights, fire, sparklers, loud professional speakers… it’s all there!

The party is not one to be missed for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience. World-famous, tables and space book out so be sure to book in advance and expect to pay a premium for drinks, entry, and food.

If you’re into understated elegance or anything low-key, you may have to give this a miss. It’s also important to note this is NOT family friendly and minors (under 19) are not allowed in the venue for Après hours

Best for… families

Earl’s

Many venues in town do not allow for minors during or after Après hours. The alcohol flows and the music gets loud which isn’t the best environment for kids. There are a handful of places in Whistler that welcome families with open arms and Earl’s is one of them.

With a diverse menu and a familiar feel, Earl’s is a great option for the whole family. The dining room has lots of space for larger groups and offers high chairs. An easy & breezy choice for families and adults alike.

High Mountain Brew Co. (Brewhouse)

Looking to try something different?

Check out High Mountain Brew Co. (formerly Brewhouse).

Whistler’s only micro-brewery is a great spot for the whole family. Adults will enjoy the brewed in-house beer and pool tables. Enjoy a wide selection of crowd-pleasing food, including house-made pizzas, lots of share plants, and sandwiches.

The large space is perfect for groups. They’re very happy to accommodate families and young ones. Located next to the family’s favorite Olympic Plaza, which offers skating, sledding, and a kid’s play park.

Best for… a sophisticated cocktail

Raven Room

Rated number 36 out of 100 for top bars in Canada, Raven Room has been making waves with creative and inspired cocktail offerings.

A constantly evolving menu means you’ll likely find something new with each visit. A very trendy interior might make you feel like you’re in a hip metropolitan area, rather than a mountain town. It’s only when you look out the windows to the stunning Alpine

The small plate menu is perfect for sharing with friends and is lighter than some other options on this list. Raven room is a great spot to try something elevated and new, in a setting that’s perfect for anyone looking for sophistication.

If you’re looking to impress your friends (or be impressed yourself) I would highly recommend checking out this spot.

Best for… live music

Dubh Linn Gate

Your typical Irish Pub, Dubh Linn Gate has been beloved by locals and tourists for years.  They have a fabulous patio located right beside the Excelerator Gondola with heaters and a large fire pit to keep you warm and cozy. Dubh Linn Gate offers a robust beer list and pub favorites with a twist.

If you’re looking for a fun and laid-back atmosphere, look no further. Dubh Linn Gate offer’s an array of live music almost every day. It’s often a delightful duet of classic Irish pub music with fiddle and guitar, but they also will put on local rock cover bands and acoustic acts.

Perfect for pubgoers & music lovers!

Best for… out of the village dining

Table 19

Looking to get out of the village?

Table 19 in Nicholas North Golf Club is the perfect escape. Offering incredible views of the mountains and Green Lake, the stylish and modern restaurant provides a perfect setting.

Enjoy Après favorites including cheese fondue, pizza, charcuterie, and more. A fabulous selection of seasonal cocktails and wine will be sure to satisfy all tastes.

Best for… meeting the locals

Rocky Mountain Underground (RMU)

Part bar, part ski shop- does it get more Whistler than this? Located in the Upper Village, RMU is a ski company that handcrafts its own award-winning sticks in the basement of this cool bar.

The menu offers fun and easy Après classics including chili, burgers, and flatbread. They feature a great collection of local beer & wine and seasonally crafted cocktails.

Both the front patio and intimate bar have a personal and welcoming vibe. The staff is very happy to share their recommendations for both the menu as well as the mountain.

Best for… Upscale Aprés

Joe Fortes’s

The famous Vancouver Steak and Seafood restaurant has a fabulous location in Whistler. Joe Fortes’s is the spot for great Seafood and a sophisticated atmosphere.

If you’re into champagne and oysters, you’ll love their menu. A large selection of raw and local eats, including seafood towers lends itself to those with refined tastes. Despite the excellent wine list and curated offerings, the atmosphere is not stuffy. In fact, you’ll often find a fun crowd in for the Après in the bar section.

The excellent Happy Hour menu is not to be missed and offers fabulous value, including $1 an ounce house wine.

Find Joe Fortes on the ground level of the Executive Suites Hotel.

Best for… cheap & cheerful eats

El Furniture Warehouse

Lovingly referred to as “furnies” by locals, El Furniture Warehouse offers simply unbeatable prices on their menu. In fact, all food items are under $10. A steal for a resort town! The atmosphere is that of a dive bar, with tastefully tacky decor, very loud music, and dim lights.

There are daily specials for select drinks which can also keep the cost down for those on a budget.

While families are allowed in daytime hours,  I would advise them to avoid after 5 PM as the crowd can be rowdy & the music can be loud and explicit.

Best for… watching sports

Brandy’s (The Keg)

Located on the ground floor of The Keg. Brandy’s has large screens (and lots of them) for sports fans. They will feature whatever the “big game” of the day is and are open to requests, within reason.

The bar offers an excellent selection of cocktails and as the kitchen is shared with The Keg, patrons can enjoy the same great steakhouse menu.

The only bar (above ground & not a club) is open. until 2:00 AM you can keep enjoying all night long.

Best for… location, location, location

Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC)

It doesn’t get more convenient than the GLC. Located at the side of Whistler Mountain & on top of the Whistler Gondola, GLC is in the thick of the action. The convenient ski-in access makes it an Après favorite.

A large heated outdoor patio with lovely fire pit lounges overlooks the village stroll. With coverage from the elements, you can enjoy it year-round.

The menu caterers to all tastes and dietary needs with gastro pub-inspired fare. Kids are welcome during daytime hours which is great for families!

Be sure to check it out!

What’s your favorite spot for Après in Whistler?

On January 1st Canada’s Foreign Buyer Ban took effect…

This two-year ban will block some foreign buyers from purchasing residential property in Canada. This policy the federal government says is aimed at making housing more affordable.

Non-residents who buy a home in contravention of the ban — or realtors and lawyers who help them — can face a conviction, and be fined up to $10,000. The federal government can also apply to the superior court in the province where the home has been purchased in order to sell the property.

“I think this is very much a political policy, more than an economic policy,” says Brendon Ogmundson, chief economist at the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

This controversial policy has critics skeptical.  Many real estate and housing policy experts are unconvinced that the two-year ban will have much impact on house prices — given non-resident buyers make up such a small share of the real estate market, and many will still be exempt.

Exemptions

There are exemptions to the foreign buyer ban. Exceptions exist for international students, and temporary residents; specifically exempted foreign nationals and refugee claimants, subject to varying conditions, such as tax filing and residency obligations.

Also, properties located outside of a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) or Census Agglomeration (CA) are excluded from this prohibition.

What does this mean for the Sea to Sky area?

For Whistler & Pemberton, the ban has little impact. As both towns are neither CMA nor CA properties in these municipalities fall into the exemption. So foreign buyers can still buy in Whistler & Pemberton. 

Squamish is classified as a CA and is therefore included in the ban. There may be exemptions available to you if you are a foreign purchaser, speak to an account to find out more.

In terms of market impact, like the rest of Canada’s housing experts, we expect the ban will have little impact on the housing market in the Sea to Sky.

Approximately 80% of buyers in the region come from the Lower Mainland. Foreign investors account for a very small market share and the exemptions in place will help foreign investors continue to find loopholes.

New Zealand: A Case Study

New Zealand, a peer country of Canada, implemented a similar policy in 2018.  Prior to the ban, 2.9 percent of homebuyers were non-residents. Their number has since dropped to 0.4 percent — and yet their home prices continued to soar.

Similar to Canada, the housing market in New Zealand only cooled when interest rates were increased.

If we can learn from them, we can rest assured that this ban is more politically performative than effective policy. \

What do you think of the new foreign buyer’s ban?

 

 

Oysterfest returned on November 20th, 2022

My team and I were lucky enough to attend this event. Every year this is one of my favorite events that is hosted in Whistler. We had a blast getting to try different fine wines and food from the region.

In recent years this event has been part of the cornucopia festival and has taken place at the Whistler Conference Center.

Highlights for me were the massive Sawmill Bay Oysters (roughly $7,000 worth were there!) and the BC salmon chowder. As well as the creative caesars for the annual Barefoot Bistro completion. My personal favorite caesar was a collaboration between Tito’s Vodka and the Raven Room that was Asian-inspired and featured a spring roll as garnish.

Watching the “shuck off” is always a thrilling event, luckily this year no injuries were sustained by competitors, but we have seen a few sliced hands in the past!

The real highlight for me is getting to catch up with other locals I have met over my years of living in town and seeing everyone dressed to impress. It was great to eat, drink and be merry for the evening.

I’m already looking forward to next year!

Whistler Blackcomb is now officially open for the 2022-23 winter season

With lots to look forward to, there have been some operations changes you should be aware of to get the most out of the winter season.  Keep reading to learn what you need to know!

La Niña is back! 

We already are seeing lots of fluffy white snow in the village, we can expect this to continue throughout the winter. Woohoo! See my past blog post on La Niña to learn more about this weather phenomenon.

Prepare for Crowds!

Tourism Whistler is protecting one of the busiest seasons on the books.  Hotels, tour companies, restaurants, and other key tourist industries in town have the most preseason bookings in history. 

Be sure to make reservations early, give yourself extra time to account for traffic, and buy tickets in advance to make your visit more enjoyable! Don’t take your chances this year, book in early!

Creekside Gondola Project Delay

The latest projects to replace Big Red Chair and the Creekside Gondola are NOT going to be ready for opening day.

Supply chain and shipping issues are responsible for this, but the main tow line is now at the base and is being installed. It is unclear when the project will be completed. Fingers crossed it’s done by the busy Christmas break!

Plan to upload from the Upper Village or Main Village until further notice- there is a shuttle from Creekside if you do plan on parking there with a 15-minute priority upload.

Pack snacks, water, and extra layers so you can be comfortable in longer lines than usual.

Are you coming to Whistler this season?