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Current Market Conditions
Copyright, Li Read, 2007
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I've been selling real estate on Salt Spring Island & the Southern Gulf Islands since
1989. It used to be that the business took place in two distinct time periods, within an
overall grid of activity that ran from March Break to the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend
The first "wave" would be March Break/Easter, and then weekend activity in May (long
holiday weekends, in particular, such as Victoria Day and Memorial Day, both in late May).
June was usually quiet.
The second "wave" came from mid July, throughout August, and most of September.
Although "seasonless", in a sense, as people did turn up year round, the bulk of the
buyers did appear physically on Island during these two "waves" of arrivals.
They may not have purchased when they viewed, necessarily, and it wasn't unusual for
people to phone up a few months after viewing, and decide to make an offer via phone/fax.
There were still buyers from Victoria and from Vancouver, turning up to look in the
Southern Gulf Islands, & some early forerunners about organizing retirement choices -- in
the main, they were from Ontario.
Information was print-oriented, whether newspaper ads, real estate company publications
(such as Block Bros/NRS books), & the mls "book" for specific areas.
The internet, however, changed real estate as an industry, and it also affected Salt
Spring & the Southern Gulf Islands, as it allowed a wider buyer profile to discover the
Island area charms.
From about 1999 on, then, it became essential for a realtor to have a website, and,
slowly, the mls.ca system became what it is today. The buyer profile expanded widely, too.
That more traditional arrivals pattern, on the Islands, to view what may have caught one's
attention via print or internet ads, changed in the past four years to a July arrivals,
with most of the viewings and subsequent sales taking place in the last half to last third
of the year.
It was as if the first half of the year had been "erased". This affected B & Bs, tourist
related businesses (marinas, boat & scooter & car rentals, bike rentals, camping
facilities, resorts, galleries, restaurants, etc.), not just sellers & realtors.
This year, though, we seem to have returned to that former model of activity, and even
earlier than this previous "norm" -- February began this busyness, in 2007. March Break
and Easter were as busy as in earlier years. Weekends remained active throughout April.
May appears to be shaping up as a continuing active month, too. Both Victoria Day and
Memorial Day holiday weekends, at the end of May, appear to be going to be busy.
This is all good news for the business community on the Islands, and also for sellers and
realtors. The "static" nature of 2006, which was characterized by a general treading of
water, on the part of the buyer, has been erased, too.
The buyer profile remains a mainly "out of province" purchaser, now, and they are looking,
always, in all coastal areas. It's essential, then, that a realtor "sell the Island", as
well as a property on it. The Gulf Islands are in competition with other areas, as a
It usually takes two visits, and often three, before a buyer will "connect" with a
property, and they will have been comparing Salt Spring & the Southern Gulf Islands to
other coastal areas, in the interim.
Time lags are involved in all sales, then, due to the Islands having become this
destination area, a discretionary market, & a secondary home marketplace.
It's great news, for sellers, that activity is back onstream, and at the more traditional
time periods (Spring, Summer, early Fall).
The listing inventory remains unusually "thin", as most owners still prefer not to be
sellers, unless they "have to" (death, divorce, & moving to assisted living remain the
three key reasons for a sale).
This means that a buyer doesn't have a huge number of properties to choose from, once
price and type are decided upon.
There are good choices out there, just not lots of them, and, from a buyer's perspective,
it may be that one will have to buy something that needs TLC, to find a parcel of land
with good features.
It's true that the Islands Trust created a "preserve area" on every Gulf Island, when this
provincial government body was created in the 1970s. Their "preserve & protect" mandate
ensures a limited inventory of properties, over time, as they control growth through
strict density/zoning bylaws.
This protected area, then, will make property ever more expensive, on every Gulf Island,
over time. It's simple economics -- low supply and high demand always create higher
At this moment, though, there are still many exceptional parcels of property, both
developed and undeveloped, on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, that would
please any buyer, and they are in all price ranges/categories of property. As these items
sell off, though, there are few new listings coming onstream to replace the "solds", in
this continuing hard asset investment time.
Looking for your Salt Spring Island or Southern Gulf Island gem?
Call Li at RE/MAX Salt Spring, toll free, at: 1-800-731-7131,
or email Li at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or fax Li at: 250-537-4287.
"See Li for Successful Solutions!"
Awaiting your call!
RE/MAX Press Release about the recreational property market :
1 | 2
Vancouver Island Home Sales for April
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