British Columbia ski hills are set to see the strongest price appreciation in Western Canada next year, with growth rates second in Canada behind the Mont Sutton region in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
Big White, Invermere and Whistler are all set to see price growth of 5 per cent next year, according to the Royal LePage recreational property report released this week. The growth ranks second against Mont Sutton’s projected increase of 8 per cent and a national average increase of 2.9 per cent.
Demand will push the median price of a detached property in Whistler to $3.8 million in 2024, with Big White ranking second with a median price of $1.575 million.
Big White’s gain follows a 6.3 per cent decline in the median price of detached properties in the first 10 months of this year versus a year ago as sales normalized from their pandemic highs. Condo prices declined even more sharply, according to Royal LePage, falling 9 per cent to $500,000.
But averages don’t tell the full story.
Joan Wolf of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada said the benchmark sale price at Big White has experienced an upward trend over the past year despite lower activity.
She told Western Investor earlier this month that while Big White had seen fewer sales this year and those that did complete take longer, the average price paid had increased.
Wolf cited sales figures showing 89 transactions as of Nov. 10 with an average price of $682,624. This compares to a volume of 150 sales a year ago with an average price of $621,974.
Among the most recent transactions was the sales Nov. 7 of 620 Feathertop Way, which sold for $3.4 million, a significant premium to the $2.8 million it commanded in December 2020.
However, interest rates are a factor slowing sales activity across the province, according to the brokers Royal LePage surveyed.
“With all of the conversation around rising interest rates, many consumers – including luxury homebuyers – have temporarily withdrawn from the market and are prepared to wait and see what the Bank of Canada decides to do in December and next year,” said Frank Ingham, associate broker with Royal LePage Sussex in Whistler.
The impact is seen even in markets where cash is king, such as Mount Washington. The Comox Valley saw nation-leading price appreciation of 26.5% for detached ski properties in 2023, but Royal LePage expects scant growth in 2024 as owners absorb the cost of their purchases.
“As cash buyers are common in this community, higher interest rates have not prompted many residents to list their recreational homes for sale due to increased mortgage costs,” said Rick Gibson, sales representative for Royal LePage in the Comox Valley. “However, more homeowners are renting out their properties, as many paid a higher-than-average purchase price during the peak of the pandemic-fueled market.”
Gibson expects home price appreciation and market activity will remain subdued buyers and sellers gain more confidence about the trajectory of interest rates and the overall economy.
It’s a similar story in Invermere.
“We are seeing more homes come online as mortgage rates have climbed over the past year and a half,” said Barry Benson, broker with Royal LePage Rockies West Realty in the city. “Although demand for Invermere homes has stayed steady, growing supply levels have moderated price growth. I expect this will be the norm for the near future as borrowing rates remain higher than normal.”