The Whistler Market
The real estate market in Whistler followed trends similar to those experienced throughout southwestern BC through the first quarter of 2020. Despite improvements through January and February, global and local shutdowns of most parts of the economy and society due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant slowing of the market through March.
There have been a total of 110 firm transactions so far this year as compared to 151 in the previous quarter and 131 in the same quarter of 2019. This lower number can primarily be attributed to a 50% drop in activity in March as compared to both February 2020 and March 2019. Despite the lower overall number of transactions, sales values remained steady, and increased slightly in some segments. The overall average transaction value in Whistler is currently $1,482,000 as compared to $1,247,000 at the end of 2019. The average sales dollar per square foot has also remained steady and currently sits between $1,000 and $1,200 a square foot.
The Pemberton Market
The real estate market in Pemberton also experienced a significant drop in activity through March. Overall sales activity dropped approximately 35% as compared to the previous quarter and by 50% as compared to the same quarter of 2019. Like Whistler, values remained steady and consistent with those reported at the end of 2019. With low-interest rates, buyer interest remains strong, particularly amongst young families and recreational property enthusiasts.
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Navigating Through Covid-19
This is a unique time for Whistler real estate and looking back at what happened in early 2020 can no longer provide an accurate picture of current market conditions, nor is it as important to my clients as what will or might happen as we move forward through the pandemic and post-pandemic time.
The Whistler Real Estate Company has been in business locally since 1978 which gives the company the important experience of having been through numerous local and global periods of uncertainty. This experience tells us that no matter what the short-term challenges are, both Whistler and Pemberton will bounce back with resilience.
That said, we will face some adversity and challenges in the coming months. The number of sales transactions will likely be below historical levels until the fourth quarter of 2020 and buyers will be looking for value which will lead to downward price pressure on average sales value in some segments of the market. It may be some time before we again experience the robust tourism numbers of 2017-2019. There is little question that there will be a reset as we reestablish and attract people to the area. In the long run, however, we will be just fine, and the future is bright.
Our beautiful natural setting, a planning framework and geography that limits supply, a full range of services and recreational opportunities for residents and tourists, and a young educated entrepreneurial business community that has embraced the vision of being North American’s number one ski resort combine to make sure that both values and demand for real estate in the area will increase.
Added to this, the success B.C. is having at attract people and capital investment, its performance in the current scenario regarding health and safety, customers becoming more comfortable with remote work, historically low-interest rates for the foreseeable future, exchange rates for foreign buyers, and the desirability of real assets in turbulent times, will also continue to contribute to helping Whistler and Pemberton be desirable places to own real estate in the long run.
There is always a real estate market happening and there will always be buyers and sellers looking to achieve their real estate goals. Although our office is currently closed to public access, I am available by phone and by email. It more important than ever for buyers and sellers to seek a local expert to help you navigate this unprecedented marketplace. As such, if you are curious about what your home is worth or if you are wondering how to be successful as a buyer in this market, or even if you are just looking to stay up-to-date on the current market trends, contact me and I will be happy to discuss the current market with you and how you can accomplish your real estate goals.
*All stats deemed to be accurate and taken from the Whistler Listing System, April 2020