Whistler real estate prices plummet up to 68 per cent
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 10:45PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 3, 2013 8:04AM PDT
Real estate prices at one of B.C.’s most popular getaway spots are sliding downhill, with some properties selling for up to 68 per cent less than a decade ago.
Whistler property prices have fallen 25 per cent on average since 2007, but it’s the so-called Phase 2 and fractional ownership units that have seen the most dramatic declines.
One 800-square-foot unit at Blackcomb Springs with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, located right on the ski hill, is currently selling for $229,000.
In 2004, a similar unit would have cost $579,000.
Real estate expert Tsur Sommerville said Whistler’s market fluctuates with demand from U.S. buyers, which has been dwindling for years.
“Whistler has been impacted both by exchange rates, which have made Canadian markets more expensive for Americans, and by what’s going on with the U.S. economy,” Sommerville said.
With the Canadian dollar at par, American buyers accounted for just six per cent of sales in 2012.
The nature of vacation properties makes their prices much more cyclical, Sommerville added, and fractional ownership properties, which are similar to timeshares, are generally tougher to sell.
Even Phase 2 properties, which can be purchased by a single owner but contractually must be rented out most of the year, are seeing huge drops.
One such studio apartment next to Blackcomb Mountain that sold for $249,000 in 2003 is now listed for just $79,000.
Phase 2 owners are only permitted to spend 56 days in their properties annually; 28 in the summer, and 28 in the winter.
Whistler realtors told CTV News they’re seeing momentum in some areas, and Sommerville said there could be a resurgence in prices as the U.S. economy picks up steam.
“If we’re having this conversation in a year or two from now it would be a different dynamic,” he said. “We would be talking about Whistler’s recovery rather than Whistler being in the doldrums.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee