A home in Whistler, where both condos and detached houses saw a year-over-year price increase. (CNW Group/Royal LePage)

real estate

Condo prices soar in B.C.’s hot spots for winter tourism

Whistler, Kimberley and Nelson saw increases in housing prices as investors look to nearby winter recreation

Retirees and investors continue to drive up housing prices in some of B.C.’s most bustling spots for winter tourism, according to a new report by Royal LePage.

In Western Canada, the median price of a condo in winter recreational regions rose significantly between 2017 and 2018, while detached properties slightly dipped, the real estate agency said Wednesday.

In Nelson, detached homes dipped by 9.8 per cent, from about $650,000 to roughly $580,000, while condo prices rose 8.9 per cent costing just under $400,000.

Detached homes in Kimberley, with the Purcell Mountains in its backyard, made the largest median price gain of regions surveyed by Royal LePage, as demand far outstripped supply. Potential buyers were shopping with less than 40 per cent of the typical inventory level for the region, said Darren Close, managing broker for East Kootenay Realty.

“While demand for detached homes in Kimberley is strong as buyers continue to be attracted to the lifestyle offered in the region, median price appreciation also reflects more expensive homes being sold,” Close said.

Meanwhile, Kimberley saw a dip in condo prices, of 7.5 per cent, now at a median of about $235,000.

Whistler was the only region in the report to see the biggest rise in both kinds of housing. The cost of a condo rose 26.5 per cent, bringing the median price to roughly $610,000. Meanwhile, the median price of a detached property rose 14.5 per cent to $2.4 million.

Royal LePage Black Tusk president Pat Kelly said the high demand stems from the B.C. foreign buyer tax and speculation tax being void in the Whistler.

“That being said, recreational properties in the area are primarily bought and sold by individuals who are local to the province, while international buyers only represent a small proportion of sales in Whistler,” Kelly said. “In 2019, we expect further price appreciation, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years.”

Kelly added that growth in tourism over the last five years has fueled an increased demand for condos, as many buyers are searching for short-term income rental and investment properties.


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