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Current Market Conditions
Copyright, Li Read, 2007
Return to Current Month
Wishing a very happy and prosperous New Year to all!
Real estate markets are like every good story, and they, too, have
a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Middle periods in market cycles, whether it's about the stock
market side of investment, or whether it's about "hard asset"
investment (real estate being the best example, of same), are often
characterized by inaction.
This lack of activity can be misunderstood as a "dipping". This
may have been the case, in the forecasts for 2006, globally, for the
A lot of articles were written, and media talk explored, between
April and October, in 2006, and the Salt Spring marketplace was
not left out of these prognostications.
Buyers, who were in a "pause mode", which, again, is typical of a
middle moment in a market cycle, became even less inclined to
purchase -- they, too, were reading the same reports of impending
"doom" in real estate, and so were wanting to "wait" even longer
for action, in case there was an opportunity for them to buy into the
market at lower price points.
This "pause period" seemed to pass off by October, 2006, however.
Apparently, according to recent December press remarks, the
much touted U.K. property crash didn't occur, and, in fact, sales
volume was up about 10% in 2006, and prices rose, in many areas.
I understand that the L.A. market was apparently only down 3% in
sales volume, and, in key areas of Southern California, prices were
either maintained or rose slightly.
In noting the "plateau period" in our coastal area, it, too, showed
inaction, for a good 5 to 7 month period in 2006, but inventory
remained "thin", and sales volume was only down slightly, from
2005 (which was one of those infrequent "banner years").
The Victoria Board, of which Salt Spring Island is a part, stated, in
early December of 2006, that sales volume was only down 7%, to that point,
and that prices, in some cases, had gone up.
Middle periods in market cycles, then, are characterized by "pause
periods", and we may just be emerging from such a feature.
Strong activity in sales in our area began to appear by November,
2006, and, in spite of the very odd weather pattern for the coast,
and the time of year, it remains busy with buyers.
All of the characteristics of a "hard asset" investment time are still
with us -- low inventory of listings (most owners prefer not to be
sellers, and "death, divorce, or moving to assisted living" remain the
leading reasons for listing a property), coupled with continuing strong
For Salt Spring, though, there is this added factor of having
become, over the past five years, a destination venue, a secondary
home marketplace, and a discretionary market.
The buyer comes, in the main, from "out of province", and this
means two things: one, there are serious time lags in all sales,
regardless of property type or price point, as the buyer has to
discover the area, make plans to get here to view, and usually has
to make two trips, before "deciding for" the Island.
This all takes a significant amount of time, and it's not unusual to see
properties listed for one to three years, before they sell. This is
totally a result of a non-local buyer profile in this area. No one
"has to" purchase on Salt Spring Island -- it has become a secondary home
market -- & the buyer is in control of the process of "where" and "when".
Secondly, the buyer will be affected by market conditions in their
home area, and so it's important that realtors and sellers, on the
Island, take a larger picture of the real estate trends, globally. In
having become this destination area, Salt Spring has to look at global
trends, as we are now a recipient marketplace.
The real estate act begins with the phrase "under all is the land". As a
result of the Islands Trust, a government mandated body, put in place in
the mid-1970s, with a "preserve & protect" agenda, there will always be a
limited inventory of properties available, on Salt Spring Island and the
Low supply translates, over time, into higher prices, due to the
demand for the item. The Trust, then, created the environment
for higher prices on the park-like Gulf Islands. Over time, these
Islands will all become places where one will have to be able to afford
the property -- it will become ever more difficult for "first time buyers"
to enter the marketplace. On some Islands, we are already at that
We may, then, be entering the last period of a market cycle, which
may last another good two to three years, and see further price
escalation, generally, in real estate.
It may be, though, that the larger cities will not prosper so well.
Smaller communities seem to be the flavour that is wanted by the "boomer
retirement" group, and the first wave of boomers began to be seen in the
marketplace, in 2005. Since the "boomers" changed all segments of
society, as they bulged their way through their different life events,
they may do the same to the concept of retirement, and the "third segment"
of investment may also last longer than in previous cycles, due to the
size of the boomer generation.
Salt Spring & the Southern Gulf Islands remain wonderful places,
offering proximity to major centres, with a treasured sense of being
"apart". The Islands Trust did preserve the park-like atmosphere of
the Islands, and there is a significant amount of green belt and park and
ecological reserves, on all the Islands. The weather pattern, known as
"cool Mediterranean" offers less rainfall and more hours of sunshine than
in most coastal areas. Although nothing is "perfect", ever, it seems
to be "practically perfect", on these Islands.
Markets go up and go down. When they go down, in hard asset
vehicles, such as real estate, they never go down to previous
bench marks, but may drop 20 to 30% from a high mark. This
may be 20 to 30% higher, though, than the prices before the strong
Real estate in areas that are protected from growth, such as the
Gulf Islands, remain preferred investment vehicles, over time, and
to own property in this area is a good thing to have in one's
portfolio, regardless of market cycle in play at any given time.
Looking for more information? Contact Li Read, and put Li's
experience, skill, market knowledge, and integrity to work for you.
Let Li help you to turn your dream into reality!
"See Li for Successful Solutions!"
RE/MAX Salt Spring
Toll free pager: 1-800-731-7131
Fax : 250-537-4287
Real estate is a regional affair, but in a non-local market area, with the
marjority of sales to out of province purchasers, it's vital to be
informed about conditions in the "home areas" of these buyers.
Entries for 2006
Entries for 2005 & Earlier
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2, Toll-Free 1-800-731-7131