The high-end real estate market is hardly stalled if last weekends sale of the Four Seasons Private Residences is anything to go by.
Buyers put down $109 million for 37 hotel/condo suites, selling out the Intrawest development in just over two hours.
There were two sales at $5.4 million for the penthouse suites; two sales at $5 million; and four sales at $4 million. The cheapest suite on the block was $1.7 million. Compare that to the three sales over $5 million throughout the entire Whistler real estate market in 2002.
So who are the buyers of these multi-million dollar condos?
"Thats the million dollar question," joked Ross McCredie, director of sales and marketing at Playground Destination Properties, Intrawests marketing and sales arm.
Along with a handful of local buyers, there were also buyers from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Venezuela and the U.S. One buyer snapped up five condos alone. More than half the buyers already owned properties in Whistler.
"A lot of these people own real estate in the top resorts in the world," said McCredie.
"In their minds they see Whistler and this particular offer as a great value."
The buyers were not looking at these condos for their rental capacity like they would if they bought a suite at the Pan Pacific Hotel.
"We really sold the lifestyle and the building itself instead of the spreadsheet," he said.
But the fast-pace sellout caught McCredie off-guard.
"I really didnt know that we were going to sellout," he said.
The sellout was even more extraordinary he said because of the ongoing war and the fact American buyers may be a little wary at the moment.
"They see this as a safe way to park their money," he said.
There may even be a spillover in the high-end Whistler market as a whole, particularly in the Blackcomb Benchlands, where this project will be built over the next year and a half.
"I think itll give people a little more confidence," he said.
The Four Seasons Private Residences are a departure from the typical Intrawest development because the whole complex is very high-end.
"Its one building full of penthouses," said McCredie.
Most of their other developments, for example the Fresh Tracks Lodge in Creekside, have just one penthouse and three or four other condos on par with the penthouse.
"There wont be anything in Whistler like this," said McCredie, adding that there will be very few places like this the world over.
The suites will be fully furnished, ranging in size from 1,500 square feet for a two-bedroom home to almost 3,700 square feet for the penthouses.
The development will have a private spa, lap pool, cardio room and gym. Owners will also be able to access amenities like room service from the neighbouring Four Seasons hotel.
Last spring Intrawest sold the 242-suite Four Seasons Resort Whistler luxury hotel for $150 million in just five hours.
Construction for the private residences will start next month.
Meanwhile sales for the next Intrawest hotel development in Whistler, the 83-room hotel at Whistler Village Centre, are scheduled for April 29.
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