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? 

 

The B.C. government is expanding the province’s speculation to include Lions Bay and Squamish, but it will not include the resort community of Whistler.

The changes also include speculation and vacancy tax in Duncan, North Cowichan, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan.The changes will start sometime in mid-2023.

A speculation tax was introduced in British Columbia in 2018 in an attempt to push homeowners into either renting or selling secondary properties. The tax is currently in place in Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District, Kelowna, and Nanaimo.

The province claims the tax led to property investors freeing up an estimated 20,000 rental homes for British Columbians.

Whistler and other resort-based communities have been exempted, even though there are rental pressures in many of those communities as well.

Right now the province is not considering moving to a province-wide speculation tax.

This tax is only applicable to homes that are not lived in by owners. Currently, every B.C. homeowner must complete a declaration as to whether they’ve lived in their home for at least six months. The tax is intended to identify foreign buyers but has also captured some British Columbians with vacation homes.

Are you interested in finding out more about how this tax will impact your real estate goals? Message me directly.

Crankworx 2022:

Your Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate MTB Festival

Adrenaline junkies rejoice!

After a two-year hiatus, due to the pandemic, everyone’s favorite mountain bike festival, Crankworx, is returning to Whistler.

Whistlerites, locals, and tourists alike will delight in the extreme athleticism and celebration that this event brings to the village.

This festival is known for extreme speed races, incredible stunts, and pushing the boundary of what is possible on a bike. If you are lucky enough to be in Whistler from August 5-15th, be sure to check out some of the fantastic events and unbeatable parties.

Click the LINK HERE for the full schedule of events you can catch.

Keep reading for my top picks of happenings you won’t want to miss.

Mountain Bike Events

CLIF Speed & Style

Two riders hash it out down the mountain in Speed & Style. Riders compete against each other to get down the mountain as quickly and stylishly as possible.

If you want to see incredibly talented athletes go fast and do tricks, you’ll want to be at the Whistler Bike Park at 5:00 PM on Thursday, August 11th. 

Ultimate Pump Track Challenge

The Pump Track sees two riders line up head-to-head and drop into a maze-like track of bumps and rollers. The winner is whoever crosses the finish line first. Pretty simple right?

To add to the challenge, no pedaling is allowed.

Strength, momentum, and skill are the name of the game in this arena where pedal-less power reigns supreme and a single mistake can cost the victory.

Catch the finals at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, August 10th.

Whip-Off World Championships

One of the fan-favorite events of the festival, Whip-Off mixes style and skill. This event brings a big crowd, hungry to catch the big air action.

The premise?

Hit the Whistler Bike Park’s most infamous jump line, go big, and throw your bike as sideways as possible, then bring it back underneath for a smooth landing. Easy right?

Get ready to see the kind of stunt riding that will give you second-hand adrenaline. Catch the final at 3:30 PM on Friday, August 12th on Whistler Mountain.

RockShox Canadian DH Open

If you have a need for speed, this is the event for you! Straight down, no mercy, under the watchful eyes of downhill fans around the world.

The Canadian Open DH course is a one-run take-down of Whistler’s rooty single-track. Open to pro, aspiring, and amateur racers, many bikers look to accelerate themselves into the sport on this global stage.

Catch the final pro division race at 3:00 PM on Sunday, August 14th. 

Red Bull Joyride

Often considered “the main event”, or “the Super Bowl of Mountain Biking”, Joyride has been around since 2004 and attracts the top athletes in the sport from all over the globe. The biggest and most challenging Slopestyle course in the World circuit, the  “Boneyard,” (a dirt stadium at the base of Whistler’s Bike Park) separates the champions from the amateurs.

Bringing together over 35,000 fans in person, you will feel right in the action. Be sure to get there early to secure a great viewing spot, or consider purchasing VIP access passes to ensure you have the best seats in the house.

Reb Bull Joyride practises will take place daily at various times throughout the festival. The final competition starts at 4:30 PM on Saturday, August 13th. 

 

VIP festival passes can be purchased from the official Crankworx website, LINKED HERE.

Can’t make it there in person? Stream along with millions of others on Red Bull TV Live.

Know before you go…

As this is an outdoor festival, expect to be in the alpine elements. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and proper attire! I recommend wearing closed-toe shoes, as you will be on a mountain and the terrain can be dusty and a bit rocky.

We are experiencing the peak of summer heat right now so be sure to wear a hat and sun protection. Bug spray is also a great idea! Consider bringing a camp chair or blanket as you may want to sit down between races.

Restaurants in the village will be very busy and not all of them are kid friendly. Make sure to have a game plan for food, and reservations are highly recommended.

Many clubs, bars, and pubs in the village will have official after-parties and live entertainment throughout the festival. Be sure to catch all the hype!

Race viewing spots (especially lower down and closer to the village) will fill up quickly. Be prepared for crowds and get there early to secure a spot.

Have any questions? Want to know more about life in the Sea to Sky? As a long-time local I can help!

Email me at madison@madisonperry.com 

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.