There is no denying that the Squamish real estate market is red hot and has been for a few years now. The demand for homes far exceeds the available housing. Prices have continued to rise and there is no plateau on the horizon. However, it will be interesting to see what the interest hike by the Bank of Canada will do to the future of the market. It may have little or no effect. At this point, it remains hard to gauge.
Interest Rates Rising For the First Time in Seven Years
On July 12, the Bank of Canada increased the interest rate by .25 points. The hike could mark a turning point with future hikes forecast. For the last seven years, the interest rate has held steady and the market has flourished with historically low rates. However, that may gradually start changing as the interest rate steadily climbs.
Rising Interest Rates May Spur the Squamish Housing Market
Although many people balk at buying real estate when the interest rates are high, the reality is that the interest rate increase is not that dramatic. It may actually make the Squamish market even more robust for the short term as people scramble to buy before a significant rate hike hits.
Investors and Squamish
The region around Squamish has been a Mecca for real estate investors but with the interest rates on the rise that may come to a screeching halt. Uncertainty makes investors put the brakes on because they are planning on making money on the future market and who can project if the market will remain strong enough to create a sufficient return on their investment.
Investor Uncertainty in Squamish
Investor uncertainty may make housing even more difficult to obtain in Squamish as big investors stop building townhomes, condos, and subdivisions because of their concern over future interest rate hikes. In an area where housing is already difficult to find, the lack of investors willing to invest could cause problems for anyone looking to buy.
Forecast for Squamish
Despite the modestly small interest rate hike, the interest rate still remains historically low. However, RBC’s Chief Economist Craig Wright has indicated that the modest rate hike is simply the turning point to a longer-term trend which will result in steady increases in the interest rate. If the rate continues to rise but wages remain stagnant then inevitably the market will start slowing and experience difficulty as it becomes harder for the working class to afford to buy a home and makes end’s meet. The reality is that no market stays red hot forever.
Squamish Long-Term Real Estate Market Uncertain
Eventually, there is going to be a slowing and cooling off period. It is inevitable in all real estate markets. The rate increase is a small window into the future and if the rate continues to climb then the market will slow and plateau. If the interest rate gets too high and the wages remain the same then a downturn will happen as buyers back off from buying.
When its pouring in Squamish in November, its usually dumping powder in the alpine. Winter in Squamish is magical and if you are an outdoor enthusiast then there is no shortage of snow-related adventure sports in the region. The biggest question weighing on everyone’s minds is will winter 2018 set snow records?
Weather predictions are never easy. Some people follow the age-old Farmer’s Almanac and others opt to take a more scientific approach by listening to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). No matter which source you follow, many times they agree on key points.
The Farmer’s Almanac Predictions
In the Squamish area, wintertime temperatures in November are expected to be a little below average with rain throughout most of the month, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. However, during the latter part of the month snow lovers can start to rejoice because snow flurries are expected.
As December arrives, the temperature is expected to remain only a slight bit below average with intermittent rain and snow showers persisting for much of the month. By Christmas time, rain showers will increase in the coastal regions with snow falling inland. The temperature is also supposed to plummet.
British Columbia should experience the greatest snowfall in late December, early and late January and into mid-February. When April and May arrive the precipitation levels will drop and the temperatures are forecast to be above average.
NOAA’s Warnings About an Early La Nina
NOAA’s official maps show that La Nina might occur a little early this year which could cause higher than normal wintertime temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. If this happens there will be increased precipitation in the region. Does this mean more snowfall? Well, not necessarily because the warmer temperatures could cause increased rain versus snow.
Understanding La Nina
A La Nina winter means that the Northwest will experience a colder and wetter season.The Pacific jet stream pushes higher into Alaska and Canada if La Nina forms early. Coastal areas would see increased rainfall but inland regions and ski resorts will enjoy the snow. Will there be record-breaking snow? That is still too early to predict. The fact that the La Nina phenomena will be short-lived if it does occur will probably prevent record snowfall at resorts but at least there will be average or maybe even above average snow to enjoy.
With La Nina expected early this year, some forecasters are saying that coastal areas will experience higher precipitation and inland areas more snowfall. About mid-December temperatures are expected to turn colder than usual, according to NOAA. If you are wondering how likely the La Nina scenario is, well forecasters are predicting a 55 to 65 percent chance of La Nina fully forming, according to CNN.
Record Snowfall Year in Squamish?
So far both the Farmer’s Almanac and NOAA agree that 2018 is not predicted to be a record year when it comes to snowfall. However, don’t be too downhearted yet because at least there is going to be average snowfall so you can still enjoy your wintertime recreational sports. It should be safe to book your Christmas ski holiday.
Squamish, Whistler, and Blackcomb Weather Forecast
As it stands right now, weather forecasters are predicting overall a normal snowfall amount for ski areas around the Squamish area. Whistler and Blackcomb should experience a 100 percent normal snowpack this winter so there are no big surprises. You should be able to plan your ski, snowboarding, and snowmobiling vacations with relative certainty that there will be ample white stuff to enjoy.
Squamish is considered a fire-hot real estate market but the demand for housing typically exceeds the available units. Often people have to search for an extended time period to find a home for sale that they can afford. However, that is hopefully going to change soon because a bevy of condos is forecast to come to the region.
Townhouses: Listings are Running Low
In recent years, it is virtually impossible to find a home for under 400k in Squamish. Most available single family residences are reaching the million dollar mark ( crazy!) . Townhouses have remained a popular option for the many young families moving to town. Townhouse buyers can still find places for sale for mid 600k in Soleil and The Breeze. These are in high demand and once they sell out it is looking like their will be a lag in townhouses for Squamish. Most townhouse developments remain a year or more away before the ground will be broken and construction started.
The Future of Developments in Squamish
2 years ago, a 103-acre waterfront parcel was sold by the District of Squamish to the Newport Beach Developments. An agreement was made when the deal was finalized that ensured that the development company would build a waterfront park, public amenities, and housing in the area. The details are still being worked out, but hopefully, there will be even more housing developments on the horizon for Squamish.
The Kingswood Capital Corp. also has plans to break ground on two new housing subdivisions, Scott Crescent and Waterfront Landing. They are located two kilometers south of Squamish. Tentative plans have been made for an apartment complex and additional townhomes in the Scotts Crescent area. On the other 54 acres of Waterfront Landing, they plan to eventually use the land for townhomes and apartments. If everything works out as planned, the two areas will eventually provide 435 homes and 800 homes to the community.
There is little doubt that Squamish is a growing and thriving community where the demand for affordable real estate often exceeds the availability. However, good things are worth waiting for and to live in the pristine B.C. community many people are forced to wait to secure their dream home. However, the building is ramping up in the region and more much-anticipated homes will soon be offered to hungry real estate buyers.
THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT UPDATES
Britannia Beach- Macdonald Developments
In late September, a public forum took place where locals gathered to openly voice their concerns about the new Britannia Beach-Macdonald Developments. Many are concerned about traffic congestion and the influx of fast-food restaurants that typically follow any housing boom. There is also some upset by locals over the flood control costs. At the meeting, the developer gathered feedback and also the possibility of the village containing small businesses that are independently owned.
The Britannia Beach-Macdonald Developments still remain in their infant stages. Floor plans have not yet been released. Prices are expected to hover between $600 to $700k.
I am sad to report that the Lauren has officially sold out. I know that many would-be buyers will be saddened by the news.
Potential condo buyers will be happy to note that the Amaji continues to have units for sale. As of publication, approximately 30 percent of their homes have sold out. The Amaji is offering one and two bedroom condos that will be located at the 2nd Avenue in downtown Squamish. The central location is ideal. Buyers are encouraged to move quickly before this development sells completely out.
The Vantage has offered a public release in October. Although many units have already sold to people who pre-registered, larger one bedroom units still remain available. Prices hover at around $439k.
All units in Plan One of the Breeze have sold out but Plan Two still has houses available. These residences are three bedroom floor plans that feature ample square footage. Prices start at around $579k. A deposit will hold a home. The residences should be completed in 1.5 to 2 years.
Soleil is located in downtown Squamish. It continues to have units available. Prices start at 600k and they require a 10 percent deposit to hold one of the townhomes.
The proposed development of the Cheema lands stills remains in limbo. The community plan states that the developer cannot break ground on the 200-acre housing tract unit the region sustains a population growth of 23.000. The advancement of the development is going to be again debated in December. Landowner Bob Cheema says that if he does not get approval to build then he will shut down the trail system that runs across the land. However, if he is granted the permission to build the much-needed homes then he will leave the trails open to residents and visitors.