Copyright, Li Read, 2018
March...it brings with it "real Spring" (the one marked on the calendar), plus is the beginning of our main grid of sales activity.
March Break to the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend (mid-October) signals our "season" in our secondary home/discretionary/recreational region.
The busiest months are July, August, September, of course, and these months also encompass high tourist season, but holiday weekends in earlier months, and school holidays (March Break), begin the rhythms.
March is beginning with very little inventory for sale. High buyer demand (in the entry level residential segment) continued throughout January/February, in spite of weather hesitations. There may be some few new listings yet to come onstream, but there is much less choice for a buyer.
The definition of a buyer's market: lots of listings and very few buyers. A seller's market? Few listings and many buyers. This scenario often leads to higher list and sale prices.
Sellers and listing agents do not set markets. Buyers do that. Strong buyer demand and few purchase choices create rising values. The economic maxim of supply and demand is a real one.
There are always opportunities for a buyer in a seller's market. If interested in a property, though, one must be prepared to act. Bidding wars are rare on a Gulf Island...but back-up offers do come into play.
The new coalition provincial government raised the offshore purchase tax to 20%, at their February budget. It still applies to metro-Vancouver, but now will also apply to Victoria, to Nanaimo, and to Kelowna. For Salt Spring, many buyers are from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Will the tax create a hesitation in sales there, as the initial tax did in August, 2016? Those sellers in Vancouver have become many of our Island buyers.
The provincial government is stating that they are bringing in empty home taxes, in an effort to stop speculation...in their words: to stop people treating the housing market as a stock market. They tie this to the affordable housing crunch, which is a feature of all communities, but this also involves the B.C. Tenancy Act (many people choose not to rent their homes).
I write these market updates at the beginning of each month, and do updates via my blog, as the month proceeds. Check out my blog for March 1st. It gives the Vancouver Real Estate Board's recap of the February Budget. There is some confusion right now, but the offshore purchase tax (at the moment) only applies to Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna.
Changes to the Real Estate Services Act of B.C. were meant to take place by March 15th. The government wasn't ready with courses for realtors, or with new contract forms paperwork, for the proposed substantive changes. The date has now been set for June 15th. Until then, it's business as usual.
2018 seems to be a time of change. For Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, locked into a form of governance from 1974 (Islands Trust), we might appear to be a time tunnel, but these beautiful islands are on the doorstep of major centres (Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle), and being slightly "apart" does not mean isolation.
It is now stated that all knowledge we possess right this minute will be replaced within 18 months. Hmmm.... The creative response of the artist may be needed more than ever.
Meantime, technological shifts are streaking right along, in our post-Internet world: crypto currencies, block chain investing, 3-D printers, robotics, artificial intelligence (will those machines out-think us?), driverless cars, smart homes, smart phones, online lives, meshed reality.... Hmmm....
1974 is beginning to sound pretty good? It still exists on the Gulf Islands...thanks to the Islands Trust. One can always go out to visit and sample the "always on" world and then come back home to your chosen island.
Are you seeking a Salt Spring Island or Gulf Islands property? Call me. Your best interests are my motivation. Benefit from my knowledge, expertise, and negotiation skills.
Salt Spring offers an authentic artists community, a temperate climate that sustains vineyards, olive groves, small holding farming, plus encourages appreciation of the preserved natural beauty. "Discover Yourself Here" is the tag line of the local Chamber...and it's true.
How may I help you with your real estate discoveries? Look forward to meeting you.