$10M deal biggest house sale since 2009 

Realtors say confidence returning to market

click to enlarge HOME SWEET HOME A luxury home at Stonebridge, called Glen Gordon, sold for $10M this week, the largest home sale in the resort since 2009.
  • HOME SWEET HOME A luxury home at Stonebridge, called Glen Gordon, sold for $10M this week, the largest home sale in the resort since 2009.

Whistler's realtors are not surprised to see a $10 million sale in Stonebridge this week, the highest sale in the resort in four years.

It's evidence, they say, of a growing confidence in what the Whistler market has to offer.

While it's the $10 million plus deals that make headlines — there have been roughly half a dozen in Whistler with the highest at $17.5 million in 2008 — the market, in general, has been quietly picking up steam of late.

And it's not just the on-the-record sales transactions; there are multi-million-dollar new builds taking place throughout the resort, all fanning the flames of the marketplace.

Ann Chiasson of RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate announced the sale this week, which, she said, came from an international business person.

"I think there's a lot more confidence coming back into the market," said Chiasson.

"I think there are some very good opportunities out there."

Her colleagues at other real estate companies agree, with the stats to back it up.

Pat Kelly, owner of the Whistler Real Estate Company, said the past six months have been the best six-month period for single family homes in the last ten quarters.

The last six months have seen 60 reported chalet sales compared to 43 for the previous six months, and 46 for the time previous.

"That $10 million sale is very indicative of that," said Kelly.

"When you see people spending that kind of money today it's a real statement that there's confidence in Whistler, confidence in the direction Whistler is going and confidence in the offering that Whistler makes to the marketplace."

Just before Christmas, for example, Whistler Real Estate finalized an $8.8 million deal for a 7,000 square foot house in Lakecrest.

And while it's still a buyer's market, said Kelly, the confidence is growing and people are willing to make decisions.

"The trend is upward, not downward," he said.

People are making decisions based on that fact — that next year the property will be worth the same, if not more.

"We're back from where we were four years ago after the financial collapse," said Kelly. "Whistler is considered to be a tremendous resort and recreational place, on par with Aspen and Vail and people's personal confidence in the economy is coming back and there is good value here vis-a-vis other similar resorts that we would compete with," said Kelly.

According to RE/MAX's 2013 recreational property report, there were 565 recorded sales from May 2012 to April 2013 in Whistler. The average price climbed marginally over last year from $676,000 to $695,000.

The report states: "While overall pricing has fallen, the increase in average price is reflective of stronger confidence, as more transactions take place at higher price points than one year ago."

Demand too remains steady.

The starting price for a typical three-bedroom chalet is $700,000.

Local buyers from across B.C. are the driving force in the market, accounting for 75 per cent of transactions. International buyers — most notably from Hong Kong and Singapore — make up 12 per cent of purchasers.

Sales activity is forecast to remain above year-ago levels through to year-end, according to the report.

"This sale is not a surprise," said Maggie Thornhill, of the Thornhill Real Estate Group. "Whistler is a bright light that's going to continue to see property sales like this for many years to come."

The latest $10 million sale is on a six-acre estate in the upscale 29-estate Stonebridge subdivision, with a regulation tennis court, salt water pool, putting green, extensive gardens and a guest house.

It is called Glen Gordon.

The property with a total of seven bedrooms and nine bathroooms was listed at $12.9 million.

According to the listing, it is 6,200 square feet.

In early 2008, a $17.5 million deal on Crabapple Drive broke the previous Whistler record of $13.3 million for a home in Sunridge in 2007. In total, six homes in Whistler have sold for $10 million or more.

Since the start of the 2008 recession, Whistler real estate market prices have dropped overall while the number of listings has increased. The last two assessment roles from BC Assessment saw the total value of real estate in the resort decline by 12 per cent, or close to $1.2 billion.

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