Interest high in new WHA projects 

Waitlist for Fitzsimmons Walk over 100 after first 12 hours

Late summer will see a lot of activity on the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) waitlist, with presales for three projects — Rainbow, Cheakamus Crossing (athletes’ village) and Fitzsimmons Walk — expected around the same time. Interest has been high for all three developments.

The WHA sent out notice regarding the Fitzsimmons Walk project waitlist on Tuesday, and already has more than 100 people on the waitlist for the two-bedroom units, and 81 to the waitlist for three-bedroom units. A total of 36 units will be available to the community in 2009.

“The notice literally just went out, and it hasn’t even been 24 hours,” said WHA manager Marla Zucht. “We expected it to receive a lot of interest, and that it would be quite popular just given the great location.”

No date has been set, but in talks with the developer Zucht expects the presale for Fitzsimmons Walk to take place in late summer or early fall.

Cheakamus Crossing has 105 people on the list for one-bedroom residences, 191 people for two bedrooms, 146 for three bedrooms and 100 for three bedrooms plus den. With overlap, approximately 350 are on the list to buy at Cheakamus Crossing, with a presale expected in September.

Rainbow has roughly 360 people on the list, including 211 applicants looking for single family homes and 300 looking for duplexes. The presale for the first phase of duplexes is expected sometime this summer.

Combined, the three projects will add almost 500 homes to Whistler’s supply of resident-restricted homes, almost doubling the inventory. It will also make a sizable dent in the WHA’s waitlist.

Currently there are just over 720 applicants on the WHA waitlist, approximately 120 of which are already housed by the WHA but stayed on the list — many of them looking to move into bigger or smaller places in the future. People already housed by the WHA and ready to move into one of the three new projects will free up another 80 units in other WHA neighbourhoods.

According to Zucht the current rate of turnover is slow but steady, with two or three units a month on average, but she expects more places to open up after the presales.

“People still have two to three months on average to wait until the presales, when I think we’ll start to see more and more people gearing up to sell their places in anticipation of the new product coming on,” she said.

The WHA will continue to maintain the waitlist after the new inventory is available.

“We’ve talked about what the demand will be after the new units come on, and what we’ve seen is that 95 per cent of people who buy stay on the list and go to the bottom,” she said. “The list will hopefully be smaller, but there will continue to be a list.”

As for the decision last year to switch their appreciation formula from the Vancouver market to the Core Consumer Price Index, Zucht says it hasn’t been an issue for most sales. One- and two-bedroom units at Bear Ridge and 19-Mile Creek are still going for close to the maximum resale price, while larger three-bedroom units in those complexes that are still tied to the Vancouver market can have a price tag of $450,000 are attracting offers below the maximum.

However, those offers are close to the purchasing threshold on the waitlist, says Zucht, which was used to determine the types of places being built at the three new developments.

“There is still a lot of demand for larger units, just not at the maximum price,” she said.

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