Whenever you think of the top vacation spots in Canada, Whistler can usually be found near the top of that list. According to the top 25 destination in Canada compiled by TripAdvisor, Whistler, BC finished fourth. Surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, this little resort town gained global notoriety when it hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Located only an hour and half away from Vancouver’s International Airport, Whistler is engulfed by forest, lakes and mountains, which make it secluded enough to enjoy nature, yet accessible enough to frequent. Whistler also boasts some of the most impressive snow-filled slopes a pair of skis or snowboards ever laid tracks on.
There are fewer than 10,000 permanent residents in Whistler with approximately 2,000 seasonal residents. There is also more than 11,000 second-home owners, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). Many people seek Whistler as an ideal spot to purchase a vacation home due to the abundance of available summer and winter activities.
Attractions in Whistler
Whistler Blackcomb is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and was world renowned before the Olympics took centre stage in 2010. Whistler features activities for all ages and all types of thrill-seekers. Families can enjoy tubing, sleigh rides, and a visit outdoor adventure playlands in Magic Castle and Tree Fort. Adrenaline-junkies can sate their hunger for excitement with zip-lining and heli-skiing. Spanning the distance between the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Peak 2 Peak is the world record breaking gondola ride that spans 4.4 kms, where the highest lift puts you 436 metres in the air. When summer weather rolls in, visitors have the option of entertaining mountain bike trails, ATV tours, and whitewater rafting.
BC Housing Stats
The housing market in BC is expected to perform better than any other province in Canada for 2012 in terms of sales growth. The latest report from BCREA revealed that they expect total residential resales to grow by 4.0% this year, although total sales will still fall short of the 10-year average. Many felt British Columbia home prices were due for a serious market correction this year; however, home prices have only been mildly declining thus far. BCREA forecasts the average residential resale price will soften to $550,500, a 2.5% decline from a year ago.
The Housing Market in Whistler
With BC mortgage rates at historic lows, now may be the best time to lock in a low mortgage rate for a vacation home in Whistler. According to Pat Kelly of Whistler Real Estate Ltd., prices right now are flat due to a very value-conscious market. Last year showed improved year-over-year unit sales growth. As for 2012 expectations, Mr. Kelly believes the market is moving towards reduced listings and increased home prices.
A current search on MLS® reveals that there are over 170 properties selling for at leastone million dollars, with five properties breaching the 10 million dollar mark! Topping the list is a gorgeous lake front home that carries the price tag of $23,000,000, which makes it one of the most expensive 5-bedroom homes in Canada.
Housing options in Whistler remain diverse. The median sales price for a chalet in Whistler was about $1.1 million dollars in 2011 versus a condo which sat under $300,000. Using WhistlerRealEstate.ca, resale condominiums can be had for as little as $105,000. And for some potential vacation home owners, shared ownership may be the best route to go, of which Whistler provides plenty of choice.
*data courtesy of Whistlerrealestate.ca
New Developments in Whistler
There are strong restrictions on developing new projects in the Whistler area; however, there are a few new developments worth mentioning. Using BuzzBuzzHome, we can view floor plans for the recently finished condo project, Fitzsimmons Walk [pictured above] or keep up-to-date with Cypress Place at Nicklaus North which is due for completion later this year.
If you’re looking for powdery ski hills, untouched lakes, and enjoy peaking at mountains from your kitchen window, then Whistler may have everything you desire in a vacation home. To understand your financing options, speak to a mortgage broker in BC.