Peter Colls


2008 Whistler Market Summary and Post Olympic Forecast


2008 turned out to be a buyer’s market with a healthy supply of listings (for most property types) and modest demand.

Buyers have had a good selection of properties to choose from and the ability to negotiate some fair deals. As has LONG been the case the typical buyer is from the Greater Vancouver area and is purchasing for long-term personal-use. This trend started back in 2006, (actually in 1966!), and will mostly continue over the next number of years. The days of the speculator/short-term investor are long gone. As a result, I believe we will continue to have a stable market with respect to residential/recreational properties; chalets, condos and townhomes.

Most recently with the world financial situation being top news, some sellers have developed a sense of urgency and have dropped their prices in an effort to inspire a motivated buyer. In certain property categories where the selling is very competitive we see price reductions well below the previous sales. This scenario will be selective and limited, with this type of owner/seller being an investor rather than a recreational-user or resident. Most of these properties will tend to be Phase One and Phase Two condos/townhomes located in the Tourist Accommodation zones. With the financial crisis affecting some owners there will some extremely good buys as these sellers need to 1iquidate. The smart buyer will seek out these opportunities.

On a local and regional level I’ve been through this scenario several times before in my 20 years as a realtor. For most owners patience is the key. Once these urgent-sellers sell their bargain opportunities the market will slowly regain stability as the listing inventory is reduced and values firm up. As a buyer, as almost always, you can’t go wrong buying the right property for long term personal-use and family values!

One key area that never seems to soften is the strong demand for residential long-term and seasonal winter rentals. Vacation-rental units in the Tourist Accommodations zones may “ebb and flow” with the economy and competition from other resorts but the local residential rental market always seems to be tight and if it does soften, it’s short and turns around quickly.

Post Olympics, my personal opinion, based on research from Park City and Calgary Realtors is the market will see a sizeable increase in inventory which will lead to a balanced or over-supplied market for 12 to 16 months after which Whistler values will take off again. Call or email if you would like to discuss this further.

In closing, we'll see some excellent buying opportunities over the next while. The sky is not falling. Whistler is positioned to weather things quite well.

Keep in mind;

  1. Whistler has not had any new condo starts/major developments since the late 90’s thereby eliminating speculators
  2. Most property values have not changed much since bottoming out in 2006 
  3. The new Sea-To-Sky Highway will dramatically improve access to Whistler
  4. The Peak to Peak Gondola will be a year-round attraction
  5. Olympic exposure will promote tourism for years after 2010.
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