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Market Insights - BC Waterfront Real Estate

There are a lot of "how-to" articles online that regurgitate the same advice about real estate related topics such as getting a good mortgage or prepping your home for the market. While those things are obviously very important, we want to write articles that are enlightening and valuable for visitors to our site. Rather than write about the same-old, same-old, we endeavour to create interesting and compelling articles specifically for people interested in (BC) waterfront real estate.

Thanks for reading.
Sharleen Kneeland
Publisher, Waterfront West

Vancouver Island Waterfront for Sale Below Replacement Cost

As promised, we will be featuring our "Property Pick of the Month" in this blog.  Previously, this information was only available to registered users of our site; however, we have decided to make it public as it is such a popular feature.

This month's property is a custom-built lakefront home on Cowichan Lake. According to our member agent and area specialist Norm DeWit, the home, listed at $654, 000, represents the best waterfront value currently available in the Cowichan Lake market.

998_MLS1.jpgLocated on Cowichan Lake, about 1 hour north of  Victoria and 1 hour south of Nanaimo, this 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom open-plan home boasts a southern exposure, a large 11, 200 sq ft lot, vaulted ceilings, high-end finishing (including hardwood floors and stainless appliances) and the privacy of your very own dock. 



The seller has already built another home and has moved on so the home is being sold for below replacement cost. This is a great opportunity to live the dream with a first-rate home on your own piece of Vancouver Island lakefront. 





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Deals Popping up in BC's Recreational Market

As you may have noticed, we have started our "Hot Properties" newsletter as of the last week January. This was the first of a quarterly series of newsletters designed to highlight some properties on our site that are of great value in the current market. Our last newsletter featured some properties that were recently reduced, whose sellers are motivated and even a high-end foreclosure near Kelowna. Click here to sign-up.

It seems as though others in the business are starting to see (and write about) some deals as well. In last weeks Facts by Email, Ozzie Jurock pointed out some developments that may be facing issues in the coming months. Among them are:

  • Whiskey Landing in Ucluelet: Developer having problems getting an occupancy permit. Building in receivership although complete.
  • Black Rock Oceanfront in Ucluelet: Some buyers who bought pre-sales trying to get out of closing.
  • Wyndandsea Resort in Ucluelet: Construction stopped due to financial difficulties.
  • 160 Lakeshore Development Corp. in Penticton: Some buyers not closing.

Although the units in the above mentioned developments may not yet be discounted, there is potential in the market for prices to start to adjust due to the overbuilding that began to take place towards the end of the last market high.

If you are looking for deals on our site, you can sort out the motivated sellers by doing an advanced search and selecting the "Motivated Seller" button at the bottom of the page.

Happy House Hunting!

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Hot Picks: A Few to Properties Gander At

This week, I thought I'd make special mention of a few properties that caught my eye as I was going through the site. I see a lot of waterfront properties during the day (or photos of them anyways), so I thought I'd mention some that have attracted my interest in the last few weeks. Of course, I haven't seen these in person and don't offer any guarantees, but if you like what you see, they could be worth a gander.

The first property is a private sale on Nelson Island on the Sunshine Coast. It features 2.6 acre, sheltered deep water moorage and 26' oceanfront. There are two winterized cabins on the property. With prices what they are on the mainland of the Sunshine Coast, this might be a nice alternative for someone wanting a recreational getaway from Vancouver. 

Another property that shows promise is an inexpensively priced oceanfront lot on Pender Island. At only $339, 000 I was sure it would involve a lot of work to get sewer/water, etc... to the lot, but the ad states that water & sewer hookup, hyrdo and cable are at the lot line. 

Finally, if I could, I would snap the following property up myself. 47 acres 5 minutes from Port Alberni with 18 of those acres being rights to a lake. The lake is owned by only one other family (as I understand) and their home has been built on a hill so you are, effectively, the only one on the lake. I didn't think this was still possible anywhere near the south or central part of Vancouver Island but apparently it is! With homes on regular lots on nearby Sproat Lake going anywhere from $500, 000-$1, 500, 000 and up, this "Trophy" property looks like a great price at only $1, 500, 000 for the whole thing. 
Update: The listings info here is either gone or changed since this blog was written. March 2013
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Waterfront Still Affordable around Cowichan Lake/Dunca

After looking at waterfront property around the province for much of the day, I consider a single family lake or oceanfront property under $650, 000 to be a good price on southern Vancouver Island and in the current market. While investigating the market in our 5th area for single family waterfront sales this week (Duncan Rural), I got excited about some of the seemingly good opportunities around the Duncan area. According to our stats from MyLandcor, Duncan Rural includes areas such as Shawnigan Lake , Mill Bay, Cowichan Lake, Youbou, Cherry Point, etc...

Having lived in Victoria most of my life, I remember Shawnigan Lake as a popular destination for summer getaways. In those days, it seemed a long way out of the city but with the recent growth of the Western Communities , it seems you are barely out of the city when you reach the infamous "Malahat." Now it seems these areas are just a hop, skip and a jump from Victoria and with the population of Victoria spilling over the Malahat into areas like Mill Bay, Duncan and Shawnigan Lake I am suprised that the waterfront prices aren't higher. While Cowichan Lake is a little farther away, it is still within a two hours drive of downtown Victoria-not bad as a vacation destination considering Ozzie Jurock considers anything 4 hours from Vancouver a shoe-in for vacation property.

Our member Realtor, Norm deWit, owner of Osborne Realty and www.waterfrontvancouverisland.com, specializes in waterfront on the Island and particularly the area around Duncan including Lake Cowichan, Shawnigan Lake, Youbou, etc...While Norm's office says this year was a bit slower (which our stats reflect-click here for reference), the average sale price for single family waterfront in this region only increased (so far) by just over $65, 000-a far cry from other areas such as the Sunshine Coast, where prices in some areas went up over $300, 000 since last year. A quick search of the MLS "Duncan" region shows lakefront for under $500, 000 and even oceanfront property close to $400, 000 (!)

Who is buying in this area? Norm says they are seeing buyers mainly from Alberta and other parts of B.C. but also some from Europe, the U.S. and even Mexico.

Norm's value pick's for the area are listed below:

One of the last lots in a beautiful waterfront development $415, 000

Cowichan Lake Lot

Lake View Home with access to Dock and Lake $299, 900

lake cowichan


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Sproat Lake Vacation Homes Hot with B.C. Urbanites

With the recent California wildfires, you may catch a glimpse of our #3 waterfront area on your local news. Located near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, Sproat Lake, which accounts for the majority of waterfront sales in the Alberni Valley is home to the Mars water bombers that are due to arrive in San Diego today. Our member real estate agent Dave Koszegi of RE/MAX Mid-Island Realty and owner of www.midislandhomes.com, gave us the rundown on the waterfront market in the Alberni Valley.

Waterfront (Single Family) on Sproat Lake can range anywhere from around $600, 000 - $1, 500, 000; however, Sproat Lake properties have been listed for up to $4, 000, 000 (!) in the past. Dave says last summer was a busy one for Sproat Lake waterfront. He has had 29 sales transactions for lakefront properties over the course of the season and has noticed (as have some of our other agents) a recent surge of activity again in the waterfront market. Note: I like to think this is due to my recent blog, which recommended that now is a great time to buy waterfront, but I'm sure there are other contributing factors. Perhaps the short summer left us pining for more sun and dreaming of lazy days by the beach.


One of the most surprising things that came up in my conversation with Dave was the fact that although the market is extremly busy, he has not seen many buyers from Alberta in the area. This seems to be an anomaly in the B.C. waterfront market. Dave says he has seen some interest from Europeans as well as Californians, but comments that the bulk of the buyers hail from large B.C. cities. Indeed, with it's location on central Vancouver Island, it makes sense that B.C. buyers (particularly from Victoria) looking for vacation property would find Sproat Lake attractive with it's affordable (in waterfront terms) prices and abundance of recreational opportunities.


Dave says his hottest properties so far this year have been eight luxury townhouses in a gated community, six of which sold right away, listed between $629, 000 and $750, 000. With the majority of buyers hailing from Vancouver and Victoria and buying primarily for vacation purposes, it makes sense that these would be popular given the low maintenance requirements. Another hot product at the lake is the Dockside on Sproat Lake Community, with only 3 of 8 semi-waterfront lots still available (priced from $269, 900). Links to both properties are available below:

Mya Beach - Lakefront Luxury Town Homes

Mya beach luxury townhomes sproat lake

Dockside at Sproat Lake - Lots

dockside lakefront lots at sproat lake




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Market Insights - Waterfront Real Estate

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