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$32M mansion shatters Whistler real estate sales record

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A home in an exclusive neighborhood overlooking Alta Lake has sold for $32 million breaking Whistler’s real estate sale price record by nearly $10 million. 

The 8,700 square foot mansion was designed by the architect of Bill Gates’ home, and features an 82-foot-long cantilevered swimming pool overlooking the lake.

“There are a ton of things about the house that are incredible, but architecture, obviously that’s where it all starts,” said listing agent Max Thornhill with Engel and Volkers Whistler.

This photo from a listing by Engel & Völkers shows one of the bedrooms in a Whistler mansion for sale. “I have been selling real estate here for 30 plus years, and this is definitely an architectural masterpiece is how most people refer to it,” said real estate agent John Ryan who represented the buyers. The international couple, who Ryan say split their time between Europe and New York City and are self-made, also bought the lot next door for an additional $7.5 million to build a guest house and tennis courts.

“They just fell in love with Whistler. They literally are closing on this as quick as possible, or did this morning, and will spend the next couple of months living in Whistler here,” said Ryan. “They’re talking kind of three months in the summer and two to three weeks in the winter for skiing. So they’ll spend significant time here. More than a lot.”

The buyers were able to purchase the home because Whistler is exempt from a new law that prohibits foreigners from buying homes in Canada.

“When the federal government came in with both its under-used housing tax along with the foreign buyer ban, they exempted basically rural and vacation areas across the country from both the tax and the ban, which kind of makes sense. You have these areas that depend on non-residents,” said Tsur Somerville, a professor at UBC Sauder School of Business.

This photo shows the kitchen of a $39 million home in Whistler listed by Engel & Völkers. “The foreign buyers ban is to create housing in urban areas, right? But really Whistler was created as a place to bring the world to Canada, show off Canada. Really you want the world to enjoy it as much as we can,” said Thornhill.

Homes in Whistler are also exempt from the provincial speculation and vacancy tax. Ryan said that was a factor in his clients’ big purchase.

“To be able to buy is one thing, to avoid some of the signifiant taxes like you have in Vancouver is another. I still think these people would have bought even if they had to pay the extra taxes and that, but maybe not at this price point,” he said.

This photo from a listing by Engel & Völkers shows a floating staircase inside of a Whistler mansion. While the $32,000,000 sale price is record breaking, it may not remain at the top for long.

“We have clients that are $60 million plus and the house isn’t finished. And we have a client in this neighbourhood that’s over $100 million he’s spent between land and home. So there are some big boys in town. This is the first one that has really traded,” said Ryan.

“This town will set record after record after record within the coming decades,” said Thornhill. “That is just is a testament to Whistler and the type of world-class resort this is now.”

This photo from a listing by Engel & Völkers shows one "light cannons" in the courtyard of a mansion for sale.

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