Whistler’s Real Estate market in 2019 began slowly, paralleling trends seen throughout British Columbia which began back in the second half of 2018 and continued into the first half of 2019.
However, a strong recovery in consumer confidence combined with low-interest rates and a strong tourist season saw the marketplace return to its historical levels of activity during the second half of 2019. Therefore, despite the total number of transactions being below that achieved in 2018 by 16%, the overall average transaction remained essentially unchanged from that achieved in 2018, finishing the year at $1,247,388.
That being said, different categories of the market experienced different results during 2019 that should be highlighted to better understand where we stand heading into 2020.
Despite an approximately 12% reduction in activity, the average transaction value was largely unchanged from one year ago, finishing 2019 at $2,881,000. Over the course of the year the number of properties offered for sale increased steadily and the total number of listings, as well as the average time on the market, also increased. Going into 2020 we will see a balanced market for single-family homes, particularly those below $3,000,000.
The townhouse market experienced both an 18% decline in activity, and a drop in average transaction value by 11%. By the end of 2019, the average sales value for a townhouse was $1,354,000. Much of this sectors behavior is as a result of fewer luxury townhouse sales, an increased focus on properties that offered short term rental opportunities combined with fewer listings being offered on market. Overall value per square foot held steady at $1,150.00 a square foot. The average time on the market also remains largely unchanged and the number of listings has not increased. Going into 2020 we expect this market to be balanced, with a continued strong interest in lower-priced townhouses that offer rental opportunities. We anticipate sales value to continue in the $1,100-$1,200 square foot range.
Similar to the last two sectors, the condominium market experienced a drop in sales activity in 2019, 15% below 2018. However, it was the most active part of the market with over 200 sales. Strong demand for condominium properties fueled an increase of the transaction value by 9% to $733,000. Like the townhouse sector, properties that offered the opportunity for either managed, or personally managed, rental incomes were extremely popular and often resulted in multiple offers in the second part of the year. Overall the total number of listings fell slightly, while average days on the market increased to 43 days, but still indicative of a seller’s market.
The luxury market in Whistler (properties over $3,000.000) is a highly specialized, unique market that is difficult to analyze. This is due to its small size and the unique features that are often found with these one-of-a-kind properties. Overall, sales activity fell significantly during 2019, however, the average value of those transactions increased by 7% during the year to finish at $4,856,368 ($1,483 per square foot). As we move into 2020, the expected time on the market will begin to lengthen as a result of the slowly increasing number of properties being offered for sale in this price range when compared to prior years. We would expect that sellers should be patient, and price effectively if they wish to meet their goals within the next 12 months. The luxury market going into 2020 can best be described as a buyer’s market.
In summary, we believe that the uncertainty and lack of confidence that impacted consumer decisions in the last half of 2018 and the first 6-8 months of 2019 is behind us. Significant pent-up demand exists for all properties, with a strong focus on properties under $3,000,000, and properties that can generate short term rental income. Our advisors are actively pursuing opportunities in these areas.
Keep in mind that each sector of the market, whether by type, price range, or location has behaved somewhat differently in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020. Although general trends are a good starting point, accessing the experience and insight of one of our full -time local professionals will help you get the specific information you need to be successful in the Whistler Real Estate market.