Sales of luxury homes pick up the pace in B.C.

Quick sales, record prices show that some buyers unaffected by pandemic recession

The recent $8.5 million sale of a 41-acre luxury property is the highest price paid in Pemberton’s history | Whistler Real Estate Co.

The record sale of an $8.4 million property at Pemberton in September highlights a strong B.C. luxury resort and residential market with accelerating sales and prices despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the economy has opened, we have seen unprecedented interest in properties with more land and privacy,” said John Ryan, an agent with Whistler Real Estate Co.

Ryan’s recent record-breaking sale of the 41-acre luxury property in Pemberton, located minutes from Whistler, B.C.’s top ski resort, fetched the highest residential real estate price that Pemberton has ever seen – $8.47 million – within weeks of listing. The residence features acres of lawns, gardens, a pond, an orchard, farmland, outbuildings and dirt bike courses.

“These large luxury properties are a hot commodity right now and are selling quickly and for more money,” Ryan said. “In Whistler and Pemberton alone, we have seen 13 sales over $5 million this year.”

Overall, within the Whistler and Pemberton real estate market, in the first six months of 2020, the average sale price had increased 54% to $2.4 million in 2020 from $1.9 million in 2019. That resulted in a 22% dollar volume increase. The unit volume has grown 52%, with 32 sales in 2020 versus 19 in 2019’s first half, according to Whistler Real Estate Co. data.

In West Vancouver – considered a resort location by some well-heeled international investors – the new Sentinel, a 122-unit luxury condominium tower, pre-sold 54 condos in June alone, including a $6 million penthouse, reports Cameron McNeill, a partner at MLA Canada.

As of August, the West Vancouver composite home price was up 5.7% from a year earlier to $2.17 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

On resort-like Bowen Island off the coast of West Vancouver, the composite home price has soared 17.8% since the pandemic began in March – the highest increase in the Metro region – to more than $1 million.

Figures show that some Canadians have seen their net income increase during the pandemic, despite its recessionary affect, due to a surge in financial markets and in real estate values.

For example, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ B.C. office, Canada’s top 20 billionaires amassed an average of nearly $2 billion each in wealth in the six months ending this September, for a combined total of $37 billion.

Appreciation of expensive real estate is part of the equation.

According to the Royal LePage Luxury Properties Report, released September 29, the median value of a luxury house in Metro Vancouver increased 8.6% – about $352,000 – since the onset of the pandemic in mid-March, to $4.1 million. During the same period, the median price of a luxury condominium rose 10% to just over $2 million

Royal LePage defines luxury property as having a value three times higher than the median price of a house or condominium in its region.

“It has only been the past few months that we have seen clear signs of improving demand and price appreciation for properties above $5 million,” noted Jason Soprovich, sales representative with Royal LePage Sussex in Vancouver. •