What is going on in the market right now?

Recent interest rate hikes aimed to target inflation have caused a media frenzy. Headlines and news stations are causing panic over the Bank of Canada’s latest 1.0% increase today. The media thrives and profits off of fear, and what is scarier than predicting a market crash? Right now it’s important to take a step back and evaluate what is actually happening.

It’s no secret that the housing market is changing. New figures released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) revealed that the country’s home price index fell 0.6% between March and April, its first decline for over two years, as home resales also dropped by 12.6%.

The actual national average home price has now declined for two months in a row after peaking in February, according to CREA. It might seem like the housing market crash that has been predicted for years is imminent…but prices are still about 7% higher than last year. *Based on April 2021 and April 2022. 

Meanwhile, the home price index is 23.8% up compared with the same time last year, although that represents a smaller yearly increase than the 29% it recorded in February.

It seems like everyone has an opinion about what is going to happen next, but here’s the truth, no one can predict the future!

For me, this data suggests we are moving towards equilibrium rather than a crash. We are still seeing values continue to grow, jus not as rapidly as they have been over the past two years.

Conditions are constantly changing and we won’t know where we are heading until we get there. But smart investors know that every market can provide great opportunities.

Right now, it’s easy to speculate and be wary of jumping into the market. I have a lot of my clients who are waiting to see what happens and think the market is going to collapse but here are a few more points to consider. 

We’ve been wrong before

At the start of the pandemic, many economists predicted that there would be a housing market crash. While the market did slow for about 3 months, it quickly recovered and hit record highs. This just goes to show we don’t always know what will actually happen until it does.

History doesn’t always repeat itself

The 2008 recession really spooked a lot of people, and for good reason; many people lost their homes. The sudden increase in interest rates helped trigger a seemingly overnight crash in the housing market back then. However, there were lots of other factors including shady practices on Wall Street, poor government policy, and lax lending from banks. It is important to understand that many of the factors that caused that crash have since been corrected and are not likely to be repeated.

Real Estate boards led by top industry professionals are now involved in helping create effective and fair policies, that protect public interests. These boards help guide the government into creating and implementing real estate-related laws and regulations that aim to solve issues without causing catastrophic damages.

Keep in mind, that in 4 of the past 6 economic recessions, housing prices remained consistent, or increased. 

Interest rates are still low

Even with the recent hikes, we are still at a great number, the prime rate is still very low. In fact, most mortgage brokers I’ve talked to are still recommending their clients stay on variable rates. Yes, they will continue to increase in the near future, but they could also go back down again in the long term.

The next increases are scheduled to take place on September 6, October 25, and December 6. After these it’s all speculative as to what could take place. Keep focused on your long term plans. It might be a good idea to start with a small payment increase now, to prepare for these increases. Speak to a professional mortgage broker and ask how an increased rate will impact your payments and affordability.

The Sea to Sky Market

Unlike other areas, the Sea to Sky region attracts buyers who are looking to purchase here for the lifestyle. Squamish, Pemberton, and Whistler are all highly sought-after and internationally renowned destinations, it is unlikely that prices will ever completely tank here. There is a large pool of buyers who have been waiting to jump into the market and were put off or priced out these past years. If the market continues to dip a bit there will still be purchasers ready to act. Other world-class North American resort towns like Vail, Aspen & Lake Tahoe, saw housing prices decrease significantly less during the great recession than the national average.

Our demographic is different here than in other regions of British Columbia. We have a lot of high-net-worth individuals here in the corridor, who purchased in cash or with a high down payment. Many of the homeowners here are investors who own multiple cash flow-positive properties and are able to make enough money to cover mortgage payments if rates continue to increase. Whistler has a high number of properties, that have been passed down through families. These tend to be fully paid off or have incredibly low mortgages.

Due to the geographical barriers of mountains and the ocean, there is limited useable land to develop more houses in this region. The Sea to Sky highway is another major limiting factor for future growth. Emergency evacuation routes are not able to support more residents, specifically in Whistler. This has led to limited development allowances and zoning changes from the municipalities. All of these factors will help keep supply relatively lower than in other areas of Canada helping keep demand high.

The benefits of a balanced market

It’s still a good time for Sellers

The average home in North America increased in value by 36% in 2021 alone. This means homeowners who purchased anytime before this are sitting on a lot of equity. While the market may no longer favor sellers as heavily as it did from the end of 2020 to the start of 2022, they will still most likely be able to sell their homes for more than they bought for.

If your goal is purely to sell at a premium and very quickly, you may have missed the mark. Sellers may have to be a little bit more patient and manage expectations. Right now, houses that are priced right and leave a great first impression are still selling, but more slowly.

This is actually a really great situation for any sellers who are also buyers.  Sellers can still profit off of their sales and move up the property ladder without being priced out on the buying side.

It’s good news for buyers

Buyers rejoice, your time has come!

Anyone who has tried to buy in the past two years experienced frustration and stress from the market. Properties were selling within hours, in competing situations, and for way more than the list price.

As we head to a more balanced market, properties will sit for longer periods of time. This will lead to some price reductions, as well as taking the frantic sense of urgency we have been seeing for buyers away. As houses continue to sit longer, there will be more time to do your due diligence and allow you to put subject conditions into offers such as financing, selling your existing property, or inspection.

We will likely also start to see fewer competing and multiple bid situations. These were one of the primary causes of skyrocketing house prices in BC. If you were put off by the red hot market and fed up with being in multiple offer situations, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

More to choose from

The Seller’s market we are starting to shift away from had historically low levels of inventory. Super-low interest rates and feeling like they couldn’t purchase another property prevented many people from putting their homes on the market.

As I mentioned previously, we might not see the same increase in listings as other markets might. But houses will sit for longer and continue to come on, giving buyers more choices. Homeowners can sell their properties to climb the housing market or downsize You can spend your time exploring a property and a neighborhood before you purchase.

For Buyers:

There is always a risk to any investment and it might always feel like the wrong time to jump into the market. Yes, prices could drop even more and rates could increase, but the opposite could also happen. Consider taking advantage of the low level of competition right now. Acting while others sit back might lead to a great deal and could pay out in the long run. Be aware that nothing is ever guaranteed and this dip might not last as long as some people think.

Getting into the real estate market as soon as you possibly can is one of the quickest and safest ways to improve your personal wealth. Money losses value over time and stocks and bonds fluctuate. But property holds its value.

For Sellers:

Take a deep breath and relax!  You may have missed the red hot market, but prices remain high. You might not be selling your home the week it comes onto the market, or receive multiple, competing, over-asking offers right now. However, if you’re patient you will likely be able to sell your home for quite a bit more than you purchased it for. A bit of extra effort to get your home market-ready is going to be key.

This is a chance to reassess your goals. You might be able to use your equity to reinvest in the real estate market.

The takeaway

Stay calm…

It’s easy to worry about the future, but the bottom line is there are opportunities in every market if you make well-informed and rational decisions. Heading to a more balanced market might actually help you achieve your real estate goals. 

Stop going onto those click-bait websites that use scare tactics to get traffic.  Listening to all those armchair experts who treat opinions like facts can make you act rashly, which is often the primary cause of a deal you will regret down the line. Instead, think about the life you want and how real estate can help you achieve it. Educate yourself through credible and reliable sources. If you have questions or are uncertain about your specific local market, it’s always best to talk to a licensed and trusted real estate advisor.

The bottom line is we are shifting back to a market that will have benefits for both sides.

We know that real estate has consistently proven itself as one of the most solid long-term investments and will continue to trend upward in the long term, even if there is a slight dip.

Prices are starting to trend down slightly for the first time in a while but are still up from this time last year! 

I’m intimately involved in real estate for the corridor and am always happy to have a chat with you about your real estate goals and how we can achieve the in the current market.

Give me a call or sign up for my monthly and weekly newsletters to stay up to date on the Sea to Sky housing market.

While being self employed does add a few twists and turns to the borrowing process, people who own their own businesses can definitely still qualify for a mortgage. It is very important to keep accurate records of your income and expenses every year, and to file (and pay) your income tax on time. As with all types of borrowers, whether self employed or not, having excellent credit is essential. Some of the other factors that are going to help you qualify are:

  • Having your business established for a minimum of two years.
  • Your stated income must be reasonable.
  • A minimum of 5% of your down payment has to come from your own funds. A portion of it can be from a gift.
  • Any income tax due during the previous tax year must be paid, and you must have proof of that.

If you are looking for a recommendation for a Mortgage Broker that can help you qualify as a self employed borrower, send me a message! I have the best contacts in the business ready to help you.

And once you are pre-qualified, let’s go house hunting!

Have you ever dreamed of living in the best ski resort in the world and also having an amazing lake front property? There are several lakes in Whistler, and some of them have really amazing real estate right on the shore.

Twin Lakes is a townhome complex on the shore of Alta Lake. This complex offers what no other complex in Whistler does; private beach and dock, in ground swimming pool, tennis court AND a shuttle to the gondolas all winter!

#31 is a fabulous floor plan with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus the quintessential sauna that people in ski towns love.

Send me a message if you want to more about lake front living in Whistler!

 

It is no secret that we are dealing with a hot seller’s market in 2021. Especially here in Whistler!

Here are some tips and advice to head to when trying to buy during this kind of real estate trend.

Don’t Be Shocked to Pay More Than the Asking Price

Most likely, you will need to make the best offer to your ability if you are serious about a specific property, and that may be over the listed asking price.

Geography Affecting Pricing May Be Less of  a Factor

Typically the location of your home to your workplace and workplace epicentres like city centres, had a large impact on the property value. As there has been a large shift in working from home in industries where location of the work being done isn’t as important, you may see communities that were once lower valued based on geographical location, will raise in value as buyers geographical requirements change as well.

Here are some additional strategies for buying in a hot market

  • Get mortgage preapproval- This is important in any buying market, but especially important in a hot market.
  • Look for homes under your budget so you have room to bid up. Wiggle room is key in these negotiations.
  • If you are borrowing money for any part of the buying process, have it secured and in your possession before you’re ready to present an offer.
  • Get the best real estate agent possible. An excellent real estate agent is every buyer’s secret weapon. They’re not only great negotiators and have a solid understanding of the neighborhood you’re interested in, but they also have terrific connections, which will benefit you.
  • Don’t fall in love with just one house, or at least try not to! In a hot market there may be many offers presented and not accepted. Keep your options open that if the one you’re hoping for doesn’t work out, there is another one out there that is meant for you!
  • Expand your search. You may have your heart set on a specific area or location, however there may be the perfect property for you located just out of that area. Have an open mind and a wide search location.

Ok, that’s all I have for today, stay tuned for more tips on hot seller’s markets coming soon!

And if you ever need a Whistler Realtor who knows how to secure a home in a hot market, give me a call!

What makes you think of Whistler?

When you think of our world-famous ski resort the images that probably come to your mind are snow-peaked mountains, warm fires, and cozy alpine log cabins. Your mind may even go to a relaxing sauna or Aprés in a hot tub,  you might think of many things but it’s unlikely that you think of waterslides. However, in the years 1985-1991, Whistler was well known for having two large waterslides. In this blog post, we will explore Whistler’s history and possibilities for future waterslides.

The History of our Waterslide’s

Walking through Whistler Village today, it may be hard to picture two large tandem waterslides on the mountain. The waterslides were proposed in 1983 as part of a project to market Whistler as an all-seasons resort for skiers and non-skiers alike. The proposal was almost immediately met with controversy from neighboring business owners and residents. The “Whistler Springs” waterslides project faced backlash over concerns of aesthetics and noise.

The original plans featured a juice bar, spas, and restaurant, a spiral staircase would lead guests to a sundeck and observation level. Due to pushback from the community, the plans needed many modifications and the project took two years to complete.

Finally, on August 23rd, 1985 Whistler’s first waterslides were open to the public. Locals and visitors lined up to test the new features and it was quickly noted that the right slide was slightly steeper and faster than the left.

The slides were a hit with children & ski camp goers, as well as adults. Whistler used the slides for many advertisements over the next few years. Some guests complained of being cold on the walk from the pool to the top of the stairs.

Over time, the slides lost their appeal to tourists, and the Whistler Springs waterslides were closed in 1991. The restaurant upstairs became offices and the slides were removed. The area that the slides had been was purchased by the Westin hotel. The only reminder that it ever existed there remains in the name of the Whistler Blackcomb staff services building “The Springs”.

Will Whistler slide into the Future?

While it is unlikely that Whistler will ever rebuild its waterslides, there may be hope for a future solution. The $345 Million dollars “Renaissance plan” that was developed with the merging of Whistler and Blackcomb resort, featured a similar project. The “Watershed” a large and ambitious indoor waterpark was planned to include slides, a surf zone, a kids’ splash area, cliff jumping, and hot and cold pools would have been awesome. The building was also to feature a family entertainment center, cafe and concessions, and an eight-lane bowling alley.

When Vail bought out Whistler Blackcomb the idea was benched for the time being in order to focus on-mountain improvements and expansion but the plans have not been dismissed entirely. Will we develop a waterpark in the future?

I think it would be great to bring in more families during the shoulder season and I have my fingers crossed! Do you support a Whistler waterpark?

 

 

 

A special thanks to Pique magazine, the Whistler Museum, and the Whistler archives for providing most of the source material in this article.

 

What’s happening on the Sea to Sky?

This week I had the pleasure of joining in on the Sea to Sky Real Estate 2021 & Beyond community update. The panel was a diverse group of community leaders from Whistler, the SLRD (Squamish-Lillotlett Regional District), Squamish, Pemberton, and the Squamish-Lill’wat nation.

I am so excited to see all of the changes coming forth in the area in the future. See my summary of what was talked about below!

Whistler

Jack Crompton, Whistler’s Mayor joined and touched on how it’s reaching historical highs for property prices and historical lack of supply. Jack talked about the breakdown of buyers based on MLS stats and how foreign buyers’ taxes will likely not affect the Whistler market too much. The new housing project at RiverRun in Cheakamus Crossing and the new WHA housing was discussed. This plan is extensive and will bring forth more affordable housing for working locals.
The increased wait time to get permits was brought up.  Jack blamed the cyber attack and the pandemic as the primary reasons for the delays.
During the question period, it was asked if RMOW was planning on changing any Phase 2 properties. RMOW does not want to change any phase 2 on suites.
Another question was in regards to a train to transport people between Vancouver, Squamish, and Whistler. As this project is immense and would cost millions of dollars it would need to be an undertaking by the Ministry of Transit and the Federal Government.

Pemberton & Squamish Lil’Wat Nation

Ted Cradic spoke for Pemberton and gave an in-depth account of what to expect in the next five years. Did you know that the average age in Pemberton is 36? That means lots of babies and kids! There is a new K – 12 French Immersion school coming to Pemberton with a capacity of 410 students to help accommodate the upcoming boom.
The NKWUKMA -Skenkenam indigenous community has purchased a 31.17-hectare parcel of land above the Benchlands. Over a 20-25 year period, they will take on the project of building 500 homes upon this land. As this is a massive undertaking this project will happen in phases. Phase 1 is starting soon and is approx $27.5 Million. This community will serve as a training ground for builders as well as a model community for other indigenous nations.
There is a new development of 32 units going in at Harrow Rd and Highway 99 with 32 units. This will be for people with disabilities and the elderly. There is a lot of focus on Age-friendly affordable housing in Pemberton and will continue to be looked at in the future.
Final a fun fact for Pemberton! Homes are now classified as Chalets as the average chalet with acreage in Pemby is now $1.748 Million! Great news for everyone invested in Pemberton real estate!

SLRD & Squamish-

Holy smokes, that’s a big area. Did you know the SLRD is a third the size of Sweden? Crazy. LOTS going on in this section Kim Needham was the panelist for this region. According to her calculations, we can expect this area to increase by approximately   5,000 people in the next 5 years.
Another fact I learned is that no billboards are allowed in the SLRD, otherwise, I would love to have my own!
The SLRD is now coming up with a heritage management strategy to protect these with all of the new developments.
Each electoral district has its own community plan as we know and each plan now has a climate focus. Lots of focus on hazards by the regional district, the climate crisis will bring on a lot more floods, fires, avalanches, slides, etc. Geotech’s are now needed before any building permits are issued.
There will be a requirement to build Zero net emissions buildings coming in by 2023. The aim is to be at 36% emissions by 2030 by 2040 and 0% by 2050.There will be an emphasis on investment in emerging sectors like green economies, agrifoods, and outdoor recreation gear.
Lots of new developments coming in! WOOHOO inventory! The issue is that new fire services will be needed in Britannia Beach in order to complete these. North Britania (mine museum) has a build capability of 850-1000 units, however due to the fire service restrictions currently in play they will be building 225 lots 60 units will be suites and an additional 73 townhomes have been approved.
Other new developments currently being read are the following:
South Britannia- 1000 units including a hotel, wave pool coveted affordable housing, townhomes, and apartments. This area will also have a full public beach which is currently a major focus of the SLRD and developers.
Furry Creek- Wedged North and South of the 99 this development will have 870 dwellings including a couple of condo towers between the 14th hole and the ocean (how nice, eh?!). The other units will be SFH and townhomes. There will be some new commercial units here as well.
Porteau Cove-1030 Mixed units coming in at Porteau Cove (little information is available from the developers)
The Ski Hill- Brohm Ridge/ Garibaldi @ Squamish Environmental checks have been passed, the group behind the project has not applied for any rezoning permits and it is currently not zoned for that. Large hoops need to be lept through in order to make this dream a reality.
Squamish is going to be putting in a couple of new roads in order to help deal with the number of new developments There is an area being held in reserve to create a future by-pass above furry creek. The Department of Transportation (Provincial Government) needs to approve and plan this. So far no plans have been put forward.
As a Realtor in Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor, I am hopeful that we will be able to share our community with more people in the near future!

If you have any questions about the Sea to Sky community or Real Estate please reach out to me and my team!