1) During recent phone conversations I've had with my some of my clients, there's a prevailing notion that the new 15% non-resident real estate tax in Vancouver also applies to Whistler. No it does not. It only affects real estate purchases in metro Vancouver. Our existing clients will continue to investigate Whistler for the usual real estate opportunities here as nothing has changed for them in Whistler.
2) Non-resident purchasers have represented 12-20 % of the Whistler real estate market for many years . Their activity has not affected affordability in any measurable way as they generally are interested in properties that would not be defined as purely residential. Their interest seems to fluctuate primarily as a result of large macro issue like exchange rates, the general economy of Canada and/or their native country, and their perception of Whistler as a recreational and resort area. Additionally the non-resident buyer we have experienced in Whistler to date does not fit the profile (economic, demographic, or social) that is the primary target of this new real estate tax in Vancouver.
3) Most, if not all Whistler real estate purchases are motivated by personal lifestyle considerations and expectation of long term appreciation , not cash flow or short term speculation.
4) If non-resident purchasers are going to look at areas outside of Metro Vancouver for a real estate investments they have lots of choices, it should not be assumed that they will think Whistler is the best opportunity for them. There may be some increased interest in the Whistler market but new buyers to our area will certainly need to take their time and educate themselves in regards to the opportunities, risks and rewards of the very dynamic Whistler marketplace. Expect any change to our market here due to the new 15% Vancouver non-resident tax to be slow.
5) Until the impact of the tax on the Vancouver market and real estate values can be accurately determined we expect buyers looking at investing in Whistler from Metro Vancouver to be cautious particularly if they are or were relying on equity or funds as a result of activity on a Vancouver property. However many of our buyers do not fall in this category so we expect them to stay active, in fact they may see this as a buying opportunity depending on how sellers perceive this situation to play out. Of course, most of our sellers are pretty sophisticated and will deal with change in an orderly fashion.
6) There are always going to be "one off" stories in our marketplace that folks (and especially the media) will want to hang a theory or a conclusion on. However, it is a little early to tell what the impact of this all will be conclusively in the Whistler real estate market.
7) I will of course be monitoring this as it develops and should we see conclusive (ie. backed up by facts) changes in the operation of the Whistler market due to the new non-resident tax in Vancouver, I will let everyone know!