Wow - to say Whistler's ski season is off to an epic start would be the understatement of the year! Opening Day took place on November 23, and it has to have been the snowiest Opening Day on record. The powder was knee deep - I hope all you skiers and snowboarders have been training hard in the off season, otherwise you might want to book yourself a massage after your first day on the slopes!
The Whistler real estate market has remained relatively steady over the past month. Inventory is still as low as ever (with only 37 active town home listings currently listed for sale - that's about a month and a half's worth of inventory!)
This month, I'm taking a closer look at chalets. Keep reading to find out what your dollar can get you in this market segment.
The Slow(er) Chalet Market
Last month, 26 town homes and 28 condos sold in Whistler - but only 7 Whistler chalets (or single family properties) sold.
That's not because inventory was lower for chalets than it was for town homes or condos. In fact, the number of chalets listed for sale on the market is similar to the number of condos for sale, and higher than the number of town homes listed for sale. So what gives?
The trend of lower chalet sales (compared to condos and town homes) is something I've observed for the past 18 to 24 months. I speculate that it has something to do with price: while market values have been rising across all property types, the prices of chalets has been increasing quite substantially on an absolute basis.
Here's what I mean: let's say that property values increased 5% in 6 months. A $400,000 condo is now worth $420,000 (a $20,000 increase); a $750,000 town home is now worth $787,500 (a $37,500 increase); and a $1,000,000 chalet is now worth $1,050,000 (a $50,000 increase). Although each property's value has increased by the same percentage, the dollar increase is greatest for the chalet.
The increase in chalet prices overall may exceed the budget for many buyers. For awhile, chalets priced around the $1 million point were very popular, but it is increasingly rare to see a Whistler chalet at this price point. Buyers still do exist for the more expensive Whistler chalets, but the pool of potential purchasers is more limited. Meanwhile, lower priced condos and town homes are considered attractive alternatives - especially because these properties can often be rented on a nightly basis, whereas most Whistler chalets cannot be rented nightly due to zoning regulations. (Note: there are a few exceptions to this.)
The most affordable chalets you'll find today - priced just above the $1 million mark - are located in neighbourhoods like Black Tusk and Pinecrest. These areas are actually located south of Whistler - about a 15 minute drive south of Function Junction, Whistler's southernmost neighbourhood. Chalets here have a quiet "cabin in the woods" feeling.
In the $1.35-$2 million range, you'll find older cabins with a more rustic feel. Some are in need of renovations, while others are perfectly functional and are a great bet for people who like the traditional ski chalet charm. These properties are often located in neighbourhoods like Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates, which are north of town and are well loved by the local community. The chalets in this price point have good investment potential.
Above the $2.5 million price point is where you'll find the more modern luxury chalets. I mentioned in last month's newsletter that properties in this price range represent some of the best value in Whistler. That's because the buyer pool is relatively small. These properties have some pretty impressive bells and whistles and are perfectly suited for those who want a turnkey property to enjoy for the ski season and beyond.
Interested in a chalet or another property type? Contact me for details.
Where We're at Today
To help you navigate through the latest sales and listings, I've divided current listings and November sales up by property type:
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Have a wonderful holiday season and wishing you the best for 2017!