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BC Waterfront Blog

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, in this blog we try 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.

Average Single Family Waterfront Price up $300, 000 on Sunshine Coast

Our #4 area for single family waterfront sales this year (and the one with the most noticeable price increase!) is Sechelt (Rural) While the District of Sechelt has had a number of waterfront single family sales this year with an average selling price of $677, 445, it is the whole area surrounding Sechelt-basically from Gibsons up (but not including the actual Town of Gibsons or District of Sechelt) that is included in these statistics. In addition, this jurisdiction includes Gambier and Keats Islands, Nelson and Hardy Islands and Jervis Inlet. Quite a large area to say the least!

For many years, the Sunshine Coast has been a destination for Vancouverties looking for a weekend place to "get away from it all". Popular waterfront areas on the Sunshine Coast include Halfmoon Bay, Pender Harbour and Robert's Creek to name a few. While the market for vacation homes remains hot here, in recent years, more buyers have been purchasing primary homes and making a permanent move to the area. The Sunshine Coast Regional District had an 8.4% population increase between 2001-2006 and the average age in the District is 47.2 years old according to the 2006 census.

For the last two years, the market on the Sunshine Coast has been balanced with a sales to listing ratio of between 0.5-1 based on a three month moving average. According to the MLS Housing price index, the average price of a single family home on the Sunshine Coast has risen 8.6% over the last 12 months to $409, 740. Permit values in the Sunshine Coast Regional District have increased dramatically since 2001. 2006 reached 73.3 million!

I spoke to Patti Gaudet of Prudential Sussex Realty , Madeira Park and Bruce LaSuta of Prudential Sussex Realty in Sechelt about the Sunshine Coast waterfront real estate market. Bruce says "the majority of our Buyers are from the lower mainland (Vancouver area) but we are also seeing many Albertan Buyers as well this year. The internet and the information it supplies make our jobs as Realtors much easier as we are finding that the Buyers are more informed on the local market."

Regarding the "sub-prime" issue in the States, Bruce says "it is having little effect on us in Canada 'though the Eastern Buyers are dwindling off likely because of the high Canadian dollar that has really hurt some manufacturers, especially in the auto industry. Long-term, real estate is still very desirable and the baby boomers (over 50% of them are over 50 years old this year !) here in Canada are purchasing their retirement homes in anticipation of them leaving the workforce."

Bruce is right on the mark with this comment. If you have been following our blog for the last few months, you are aware of the effect of this mass exodus of baby boomers from larger cities to smaller towns, where they can upgrade their residence to a waterfront, view home or small acreage and enjoy a higher standard of living than they may have had in they city. 

Patti agrees that most of the buyers they see are coming from Vancouver. Interestingly, she says that properties with docks and foreshore leases in Pender Harbour come at a premium (about $100, 000 more than those without she estimates) as Lower Mainlanders who have purchased vacation homes there like to boat up for weekends and avoid the ferry traffic.

As for waterfront prices in the area, Patti noted that some buyers are still under the misconception that they can get a waterfront place in the price range of $400, 000-500, 000 but that this is no longer the case in this busy waterfront market (with the exception of leasehold property). Indeed, based on our October statistics, single family waterfront homes in this jurisdiction had risen by an average of over $300, 000 from $697,628 in 2006 to an average sale price of$1, 007, 366 so far in 2007. Price-wise, anything under $1, 000 000 in the popular waterfront neighbourhoods is hot, according to our Realtors.

Note: Patti has noted a slight decrease in prices in recent weeks . Although typical for this time of year, this is also happening in Vancouver. Click here for Ozzie Jurock's comments on the Vancouver market.


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