Real estate showing gradual improvement 

Lower prices, low mortgage rates increasing in Whistler properties

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There are exceptions. For example, there aren't many townhouses available, which has created a little more demand in that area. Some neighbourhoods are also more desirable and are priced higher as a result.

Whistler Real Estate Company, said Kelly, is involved in between 450 and 550 real estate transactions per year, and so far the company is on pace for roughly 500 sales based on 121 sales in the last quarter.

The level of interest is picking up. In recent months the company has received more calls from people looking at properties. The difference is that people aren't rushing in, and will look at a number of properties before taking their time reaching a decision.

Kelly said that's a good thing.

"We are at the bottom of a cycle, and my sense is that we are starting to come out of it," he said. "The consumer is still being cautious. A lot of people lost significant net worth in a short period of time, and as people get older they get more risk adverse. They're looking closely at their monthly overhead costs like strata, and very critically, at taxes. They're looking at heating and light and those annual operating costs before making a decision - it's a much more normal kind of real estate market than 10 to 15 years ago when people were betting on skier visits."

Kelly isn't the only local realtor feeling more optimistic lately. Laurie Vance of Sea to Sky Premier Properties is seeing a similar increase in interest, as well as more sales.

"Prices have really come down and buyers that have been laying in the weeds watching what's going on - globally, and not just Whistler - are seeing great opportunities here right now," she said.

"It's not just condos, but people buying multi-million luxury properties."

Vance also believes that the customers are thinking long-term with their investments, rather than looking to make some fast money.

"Maybe the stock market has been good to them, but they're moving their money out of the markets and into land. They're moving their currency around the world and trying to figure out where the best value might be," she said.

"And it's not just Whistler - we're also seeing the same trend for other mountain resorts, which is equally important. It's good for us as an industry when in Colorado they're seeing the same things as well."

In the first quarter (January through March), Vance said they saw chalet sales increase to 20 from 19 the previous year. The average sale price also declined from an average of $1.5 million to roughly $1.219 million in the same period, although she cautioned that the two years aren't comparable because of the types of properties that were available.

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