The real estate market for recreational properties on Vancouver Island is slowly recovering as prices continue a correction from pre-recession highs, according to a new report by Re/Max.
The real estate company says Saltspring Island and the Ucluelet–Tofino areas are showing slight increases in sales compared to last year, however Comox Valley-Mount Washington area is mired in a slump.
The recently released 2013 Re/Max Recreational Property Report said prices have increased in some areas and dropped significantly in others, but indicated the market has benefited from buyer confidence now that the provincial election is over and cost and confusion over the province’s harmonized sales tax has been settled.
Recreational home sales on Salt Spring Island rose slightly to 120 between May 2012 to April 2013, from 117 in the same months over for the previous 12-month period. The average price climbed by seven per cent to $630,000 from $588,060 during those time frames. There was a surge in purchases last fall. Local buyers were responsible for 45 per cent of sales on Saltspring. Ontario and U.S. purchasers make up about 13 per cent, Re/Max said.
In the Comox Valley-Mount Washington region, sales have slipped compared with past years.
“At present, pricing remains the strongest driver, with raw land waterfront values correcting by approximately 50 per cent since 2008-2009,” the report reads. A starting price for a three-bedroom cabin on a standard waterfront lot is about $300,000.
As interest in waterfront areas has rebounded, sales at Mount Washington have “slowed to a trickle,” the report said. In the past year, only 15 sales have taken place on the mountain, where 80 properties are currently listed.
Demand is rising for West Coast (Ucluelet and Tofino) recreational properties after six sluggish years, Re/Max said. Year-over-year sales of residential properties, including recreational, moved up slightly, to 57 from 52. A starting price in Ucluelet for a three-bedroom, winterized, waterfront property on a standard-sized lot is $549,000. In Tofino, a similar property is $769,000.
“Overall prices in the area have experienced a 30 per cent correction since the spring of 2007,” the report said. Buyers are from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Calgary and Edmonton.