real estate 

A search for real estate properties quickly confirms that there is a limited quantity of inventory currently available. With Whistler soon reaching build-out, investors are anxiously entering the marketplace. Considering current condition of supply and demand economics, the seller is definitely in the driver’s seat. However, buyers should not be dismayed, as there are still good buying opportunities. The old adage still remains, "you can’t be in a seller’s position until you are first a buyer." To that end, buyers should be encouraged to do their research before purchasing. In an escalating market, the buyer should try to remain focused on short- and long-term objectives. This is critical so that buyers can focus on properties that are most suitable for their needs while best utilizing their time to educate themselves on market values and suitable options. The key is to use your time wisely and to not lose sight of your goals. Keep in mind that newly completed projects and pre-sold projects generally have fixed prices. On the re-sale market, most asking prices are negotiable but with today’s active market a well priced product will sell at full price or more. However, unrealistic pricing seldom results in a quick sale and the seller must then decide whether to wait until the market catches up to the price, withdraw the property from the market or revise the asking price. As single family housing and raw land has continued to escalate in value many buyers have turned to the condominium market. The buyer profile is broad. Young people who have a down payment have entered the market when faced with high rental costs but low mortgage rates. Most buyers are still coming from the Lower Mainland, with a noticeable trend to investors from Asia. There is also a strong interest from all parts of the U.S.A. as they discover Whistler for the first time. Buyers are also coming from many parts of Europe. Many of the latter profile the higher end housing market and elite townhouse developments. A noticeable shift has been an increase in investment buying as compared to the early Whistler days when one owned a recreational property and relied on the growth in tourism to cover the costs of operating the condominium purchase. This, coupled with the potential for capital gain, appeals to the buyer wanting a better return than can be expected in other areas. Low interest rates provide them with an even greater incentive to not delay. Furthermore, many new condominiums are being offered with and additional half per cent mortgage discount and an opportunity to defer all GST costs on the purchase price. On a more local note, Pemberton has experienced exceptional growth. This area has attracted some Lower Mainland families, retirees, investors and recreational users. However, the market is primarily driven by those working in Whistler and wishing to raise their families in a smaller community and/or are choosing the valley because of economics. Many of these buyers are either first timers in the real estate market or are trading in their equity from a small condo at Whistler for a larger residence in Pemberton. Overall, the sales in Pemberton to the end of July 1996 have already exceed the dollar volume and number of units sold for all of 1995. With the creation of more townhouses and lots, this will be a banner year for sales in Pemberton. Prepared by Sandra Jarvis, President of the Association of Whistler Realtors

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