Whistler’s real estate market already has a reputation for pricey listings, but a recent land sale is pushing the parameters of what’s considered expensive to new levels.
Whistler Real Estate Company agent John Ryan recently set the record for highest land sale price recorded in Whistler with the transaction of a 5.44-acre (2.2 hectare) lot at 5466 Stonebridge Drive for $9 million.
Located on the west side of the valley in the eminent Stonebridge development, the residentially-zoned property offers panoramic views of Sproatt, Wedge, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, as well as “spectacular views” of Green and Alta Lakes, said Ryan. The sale was finalized in late September, without ever being formally listed on the market.
“It’s owned by the actual developers of Stonebridge, so it wasn’t actively being marketed,” said Ryan. “We just brought them the buyer.”
The property was assessed for $3,788,000 in July 2020, according to BC Assessment.
The final sale price is “pretty well bang on,” to what Ryan and his team expected, the realtor said. The price technically matches that of another Stonebridge lot—this one with about 10.87 acres, or 4.4 hectares—previously sold by Ryan for $9 million in autumn 2015. “That lot and this particular lot are Stonebridge’s two best lots,” he noted.
It represents yet another record for Ryan, who also represented Whistler’s highest-ever property sale at $22.225 million in 2016.
This latest lot sale clearly “illustrates that Whistler is on the map for the uber-buyers now,” said Ann Chiasson, managing broker and owner of RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate.
Though the recently sold Stonebridge property is no doubt sizeable by Whistler standards, it’s not solely the lot’s acreage that’s responsible for pushing its sale price to record-setting status, Chiasson explained.
“Stonebridge is a prestigious development,” she said. “The people that are buying up there have the money to buy what they want, and also, the views are spectacular.”
For comparison’s sake, Chiasson’s brokerage recently sold a four-acre lot in the WedgeWoods development, slightly north of Green Lake, for $2.3 million.
It takes about the same time to travel “from [marketplace] to Stonebridge as it is to WedgeWoods, and it has similar zoning,” she explained. “If I was buying into the prestigious-ness of Stonebridge and I wanted to pay $9 million, that’s one thing, but if I looked at practicalities and I could buy a four-acre lot at WedgeWoods for $2.3 [million], some people might make [a different] decision.”
According to data from Whistler Listing Services provided by RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate, there have been 48 vacant land properties sold in Whistler so far this year, compared with 15 in the entirety of 2020, 10 in the whole of 2019 and 14 in 2018. As of Oct. 12, a total of 66 lots have sold in Whistler since January 2020.
The market is booming again in 2021, with 319 properties of all types sold in the first quarter of the year, 211 in Q2, and 231 in Q3. “Last year, the market was kind of coming back in summer, if you will, and this year it came back with a vengeance,” said Chiasson. “It was a very strange market.”
With limited inventory available this year, Chiasson tells the story of highly competitive, multiple-buyer situations and “difficulty for anything that’s priced reasonably,” she said. “This [$9] million lot, it had one buyer, but if you put a house in Alpine on the market at $2.8 [million], there’ll be anywhere from five to 10 buyers.”
Said Ryan, “There’s such a shortage of product, period, no matter if it’s condos or townhomes, single-family chalets, land; everything is just in incredibly short supply … [the market] is active, there’s no question about it.”
He added, “In all segments of the market, it’s short supply and high demand.”
And Whistler isn’t likely to see an influx of vacant land listed for sale anytime soon, Ryan explained.
“We’re very close to being out of bare land, and you’re already starting to see a lot of tear downs of smaller cabins, which has happened in more established resorts like Vail and Aspen, where they’ve been dealing with tear downs for decades—so it’s a bit new to us.”
According to Chiasson, there were 31 vacant lots for sale in Whistler as of Oct. 12.
Data shows the average sale price of a chalet, or single-family home, in Whistler is just over $4 million in 2021, compared to $3.265 in 2020 and $2.861 in 2019. The average sale price of vacant land is $1.68 million in 2021, down from $1.893 million in 2020 but up from $1.138 million in 2019.
Also of note, Canadians made up 95.91 per cent of Whistler property buyers from January to August 2021, with 2.95 per cent coming from the U.S. and Hong Kong buyers totalling 0.68 per cent. In 2019, 83.99 per cent of Whistler buyers were Canadian, while 10.24 per cent of buyers were American, and 2.61 per cent were of Chinese origin.