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Market Analysis

Current Market Conditions

Copyright, Li Read, 2023

December, 2023.

December. It brings celebrations

December. It brings celebrations and also a recap of an entire year's outcomes. It also introduces the calendar shift from Fall into Winter on December 20/21... (although meteorological Winter is December 1st).

Salt Spring Island

Short days, mix of rain and sunbursts, occasional snow, and a turn towards the cosy appeal of "home". December also offers cultural traditions and celebratory holiday events...whether with family or friends or on one's own, it's important to pay attention to and to enjoy these annual celebrations.

Real Estate Salt Spring - December 2023

Salt Spring Island

Looking at real estate outcomes, the entire Fall has been a continuation of low inventory, with steady buyer inquiries, but slower sales decisions. Buyers have continued to be interested, but also remain in a "pause mode" about action. December begins with the same trend.

Part of the "pause" is about worry: interest rate uncertainty, impacts of inflation, currency worries, lack of choice for buyers (low inventory does not encourage action), wars and rumours of wars, geopolitical fears. At the same time, a desire to escape urban for rural continues as a strong motivator for action.

It's true that sales are down, but that is partly because there are fewer listings to sell.
Salt Spring Island

What is the Best Time to List

There is no specific "good" time when one might decide to list...there are always buyers around. Sellers and realtors do not create market trends...buyers do that. They act and so create a pattern. The federal government push for strong immigration continues, and the lack of housing also remains as a cross-Canada factor. Lack of supply keeps prices stable and promises escalation


Salt Spring Island - Recreational Area

In B.C., the provincial government continues to add regions to the speculation/vacancy tax. This is in an effort to add to the rental housing stock. If the government added back in the "fixed tenancy" option on a lease, one might find a lot more owners willing to be landlords. The current provincial government cancelled this option. The Gulf Islands (under the Islands Trust form of governance) are considered recreational areas (along with Whistler) and so are not part of the speculation/vacancy tax regions.

Salt Spring Island

Currently, a year lease in a rental goes automatically to a month to month when the lease expires, and an owner can only evict a tenant if they plan to move back into the home or if they sell it and the new owner is moving in. A fixed tenancy means a tenant leaves on that date...or a new fixed tenancy lease can be structured. On the Gulf Islands, this is the only latitude for an owner to remain in control of a tenancy. When the government cancelled this option, rentals became scarce.

Recent Sales Data - Salt Spring Island

At this very beginning of December, there are approximately 88 residential listings available on Salt Spring...not separating out single family, townhomes, waterfront, view, farms. There are approximately 34 land listings for sale...not separating out lots, acreages, waterfront, view, farms. There have been approximately 173 sales to date, ranging from $55,000 for a single-wide trailer in a mobile home park to $4.288 for a 5 acre waterfront home. That may sound like a lot of listing options (122+/- in total, residential and land), but a more balanced market would be in the neighbourhood of 250+ total listings. Lack of supply is the key to price stability and possible price escalation. The market trend effects of this continuing high immigration and low housing inventory may be clearer by late February/early March.

Salt Spring Island

Will AI Change Real Estate?

The impact of AI on real estate is in its will be interesting to see outcomes as we go into the new year. New ways to deal with commission structures will also be discussed. December is a month that straddles the past year and looks forward to the "almost here" new year. Change remains the surround sound of our times.

Meantime, this time of year inspires and offers the allure of lights and decorations and special events...of sounds and songs of traditions...of family and friends gathering...of the beauty of a quieter and softer season. It’s a time to enjoy this season of gratitude and joy. December smiles hello.....

November, 2023.

Feathered with Golden Leaves

Salt Spring Island November signals mid-Fall...forested hills feathered with golden leaves from Maples and Alders...more rainy days, and bursts of sun between storm tracks. Daylight Saving Time ends, and this adds to darker late afternoons. Some call it the cosy season and that image of a slower pace welcomes this softer season to Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. The 2023 pattern of the real estate market remains in place: very low inventory, in all property types and price ranges, and general stability in sale prices. Lack of choice for buyers remains an issue.

The Gulf Islands & The Islands Trust

Governments at all levels (federal, provincial, municipal) are struggling with the lack of housing inventory. The Gulf Islands, unincorporated areas (except for Bowen), are under the Islands Trust form of governance (a provincial government body put in place in 1974, with a mandate of "to preserve and protect" the Gulf Islands for the benefit of all B.C. residents). Strict zoning/bylaws prohibit growth. Two elected trustees per Island do not have the power to change the Trust mandate...the provincial government would have to do that.

Salt Spring Island

Strong Immmigration

Lack of housing of all types is an issue in all communities and the Gulf Islands are not immune. Lack of supply keeps pricing higher. Most owners do not want to be sellers, as world events continue to cause major insecurities...a search for personal safety and for capital protection are two threads behind current buyer searches...that flight from urban to rural continues. Social unrest is evident. Strong immigration to Canada, coupled with lack of housing product, continues.

So...November. A holding pattern in local real estate, with low inventory and continuing buyer interest. For several years, the main buyer profile has been from Vancouver/Lower Mainland. Outcomes in Vancouver do trickle down to the Gulf Islands. A Fall Market has also been a characteristic of Gulf Islands sales, for many years.

Salt Spring Island November offers: ArtSpring theatre events, craft fair at WinterCraft, farmgate stands, receptions at galleries, folk club headliners, live music venues, easy access to hiking/walking trails, still lots to do and to enjoy.

The softer season...yes. Enjoy.


October, 2023

Authentic Fall

Salt Spring Island October delivers authentic Fall and the fullness of the Harvest season. Oct 1st is the annual Apple Fest. Don't miss this. The Saturday Market continues till month's end. The once every two years SSNAP (Salt Spring National Art Prize) is underway...another "don’t miss" event. The Parallel Art Show also underway, and special presentations at the Ganges galleries. Fall menus at our great restaurants. Perfect weather for hiking/walking trails. Spa retreats to help us ease into the softer season. The Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, a truly Harvest celebration. Lucky Salt Springers!

Market Trends This Fall?

Salt Spring Island The Fall Market real estate trend? Continuing low inventory (the seller side) and continuing desire to leave urban for rural (the buyer side) are still the themes driving the Gulf Islands marketplace. For several years, the main buyer profile on the islands has been from Vancouver/Lower Mainland.

Prices Stable

Salt Spring Island Low inventory is always a factor on the Gulf Islands due to the Islands Trust form of governance (in place since 1974). The preservation and protection mandate of the Trust created a cap on growth. The housing crisis of today is also an outcome of lack of supply right across the province and the country. The Gulf Islands are not immune. Until product meets demand, lack of choice for a buyer will keep prices stable and may also lead to further price escalation. The Gulf Islands are not first time buyer locations. That said, interest rate rises do affect city markets and what occurs in Vancouver does have a ripple down effect in the Gulf Islands.

Residential Listings

At this very beginning of October...

  • 97 residential properties for sale on Salt Spring
  • between 172,000 (for a single-wide older mobile) to 11,975,000
    (for an ocean view estate acreage)
  • 40 properties currently listed below one million

Land Listings

At this very beginning of October...

  • 39 Land listings (not separating out lots, acreages, farm parcels, waterfronts...simply undeveloped land offerings)
  • 7 commercial listings at this very beginning of October (some are business only options and others are land/buildings plus business).

Recent Sales

  • 147 sales to date, with a mix of land, single family, townhomes, waterfronts, commercial, strata-resort options.
  • Prices have ranged from 55,000 (for an older mobile in a mobile home park) to 4,288,000 (for a renovated waterfront home on a small acreage)...the bulk of sales have been below 1.4 million.
So...October. A time to enjoy the season of harvest largesse and to cosy up before winter says hello. The shorter days allow for serious crisp evening star this the year to really learn the constellations? Never hurts to look beyond our everyday locations. Meantime, catch the mid-Fall pleasures. Lots to see and do and to enjoy. October smiles its welcome.

September, 2023.

Earlier Sunsets on Salt Spring

A lovely month in the Gulf Islands and on Salt Spring Island...September retains Summer moments and slowly segues into true Fall. Shorter days, earlier sunsets, star-watching pleasures, and the delectable harvest time.

On Salt Spring? Catch the amazing Fall Fair (September 9/10)...the old island meets the current one and each day is totally different. Don’t miss this annual event. The Ganges Galleries are showcasing the output of their signature artists, ArtSpring events are offered, and ArtCraft will gently close for the season. Wine and cider tastings, Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Markets continue, and farmgate stands are showcasing their produce. Lucky SaltSpringers! Labour Day Holiday Weekend starts the month.

Salt Spring Island

Fall Market Salt Spring Real Estate

And what about that Fall Market in real estate? Several years ago, Summer and Fall became a busy time in the Gulf Islands. It can be busier than the Spring market, and some call this time of year "the second Spring".

Although the 2023 year began late (mid-April?), it was consistent. Inventory remained low. Entry-level price points and residential listings found most of the action in the Spring/early Summer timeline. Towards mid-August, some upper tier priced properties also found their buyers. It is usual to see higher end opportunities finding their buyers in September/October/November, year after year.

Salt Spring Island Low inventory is likely to continue. Unless they have to, most owners are not interested in being sellers. IF they were interested in selling, they can’t find listings in the areas they might consider moving to. No one wants to be houseless.

Lack of Construction + Invitation for Immigration

The Canadian government's invitation for immigration (500,000 + a year) bumps into the past forty years of lack of construction. Strong desire to buy, coupled with lack of housing options, result in price escalation. A lack of affordable housing (whether to purchase or rent) remains a Canada-wide issue.

Why Invest on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands governance model is under the provincial government body known as the Islands Trust (created in 1974). The purpose was to preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands for the benefit of all B.C. residents. In a sense, these islands are like park reserves. Growth is capped via strong zoning/bylaws restrictions. The Islands Trust restrictions also keep inventory low, regardless of market trends.

Salt Spring Island Concern over currency uncertainties may be another factor in low inventory...choosing hard assets is one way to preserve capital in uncertain times. Owning property on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands can be viewed as an important decision in one’s investment portfolio.

Seeking a successful real estate outcome on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands? It’s very important to me that things work to optimum for you, whether selling or buying. Questions? Call me. Your best outcomes truly are my motivation. Information is key.

Fall is the season of mellow fruitfulness...’s early September and the season offers beauty everywhere. September 1st is meteorological spite of the calendar saying it’s summer till the 20th. As the poet John Keats described, Fall is the season of mellow fruitfulness.

Salt Spring Island

Time to hike the trails at Ruckle Park, the Mt Erskine trail system, the Channel Ridge trails. Time to dine out at our amazing restaurants and taste the delights of the harvest season. Time to meander the galleries and discover the meaning of talent. Time to star watch and ponder a bigger picture. Time to choose fresh veggies and fruits at farm markets and test drive your culinary skills. Time to welcome the cosy season.

Fall’s softer season is there to enjoy. Accept the invitation.

August, 2023.

Salt Spring Island Attractions

Wow...Summer is at the half-way point. August has arrived.
Salt Spring Island Time to enjoy the fruits of the the Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Markets for home grown delights. Dine out al fresco on the patios and decks at our exceptional restaurants. Kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing through these beautiful Gulf Islands...whales, sea lions, seals sleekly move among us. Hiking trails, forest bathing choices, spa retreats, beaches for sunset viewings and swimming in lakes and ocean. How lucky we are to experience the real reality of this special part of the great Pacific Northwest Coast. Lucky Salt Springers!

Salt Spring Real Estate Market

And that always interesting real estate market in this secondary home/recreational region? The theme remains: low inventory and stable pricing.

Salt Spring Island This year is also seeing a return of buyers, in spite of the continuing worries about interest rate rises, supply chain issues, lack of good choices, inflationary pressures, currency concerns, wars and rumours of wars...the surround sound of our current moment seems to be worry-worry. In 2022, it paused activity. In 2023, although there was a late start to the year's cycle, action is again with us.

Salt Spring Island

The rhythm is not the over ask frenzy of 2021. There are subject offers now, there is time for a buyer to do due diligence, and sellers listen to buyer thoughts on offer prices.

The thing for a seller to remember: a buyer chooses to come to Salt Spring. No one "has to" buy on a Gulf Island. It's always a two-step dance: a buyer chooses the Gulf Island to live on and then chooses the property on that island. Very different from a primary residence/city marketplace.

Salt Spring Island

There is always a time element to a purchase...often takes three visits before an offer is made. There can be months between visits. Patience is a part of all property purchases on all Gulf Islands.

Salt Spring Island

Push for Immigration

The federal government push for immigration (500,000 a year from 2023 to 2025) is occurring at same time as a lack of housing...right across Canada...and on the Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island, too. Lack of rentals, work rentals, and affordable housing persist. This lack of inventory is projected to bring serious price escalation.

So, a desire for hard asset investment to preserve capital in inflationary times...and increased immigration with low housing inventory...these seem to promise a strong real estate market.

I always think it takes till mid-September to see the real tone of a real estate market on any Gulf Island. We are almost there... Several years ago our recreational/secondary home region became a late summer/fall sales market...stay tuned.

Salt Spring Island Something to pay attention to during these last lazy days of summer, as August unrolls...the impact of AI (those in the know say it is going to create profound change, more than was experienced with the arrival of the internet). Maybe leave the fat entertainment book in the hammock and look into this game-changer?

Meantime, it's still summer-summer in our real reality location and August brings earlier sunsets, star watching opportunities, lush gardens, a sense of needing to quickly capture this amazing time of year...September and Fall are on the horizon...don't delay. The bird is on the wing.

A little sail out the Harbour? Meet you at the dock. It's Summer. Catch it.


Tel: 1-250-537-7647

July, 2023.

Canada Day

Canada Day introduces delectable July...a Canada-wide celebration on the 1st. Happy Birthday! Salt Spring Island Lots happening on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands: artist studios are open, the famous Saturday Market and Tuesday Farmers Market on Salt Spring, Ganges galleries showcasing their amazing artists, ArtSpring events, ArtCraft at Mahon Hall, patios and decks at restaurants and coffee places (al fresco is the gift), wine and cider tastings, hiking trails, swimming in lakes and ocean, kayaking, sailing, live music's all here...just waiting for your enjoyment and summer ease.

The Salt Spring Real Estate Market

The real estate market? It's the same continuing tune: lack of inventory and stable pricing. Salt Spring Island There is a sense that prices will rise. It may take until late August to have clarity on this definite possibility. Lack of supply (combined with strong buyer desire) is the reason. Most owners do not want to be sellers. Further, Canada's immigration policy is set to welcome 500,000 immigrants a year and the lack of available housing will keep prices higher.

Islands Trust

The Islands Trust effectively capped growth on the Gulf Islands when the provincial government created it in 1974. This is apart from real estate trends over time. Basically, it's a "this much, and no more" item. Another reason for price stability and price increases, though. Questions? Call me.

Short & Sweet Days of The Summer

Summer is both a sweet and a short season. Already we see shorter days (by seven seconds a day). Time to "take five" as the great Dave Brubeck played. In our on/off, on/off binary world, it's important to breathe life into our editing function. Yes, we do have a pause button. Yes, we do have the ability to close the screen and simply "be". Summer is the perfect time to simply rediscover "ease". Salt Spring Island Try sitting beside the sea, calm, high tide, late afternoon light shimmering, reflections softening our thoughts. See? Real summer approaches. Be still and enjoy the peacefulness. Real reality is here. The gift of summer is with you. E-Mail:

Tel: 1-250-537-7647

June, 2023.

The Low Tides of Summer

It's June...the month when the calendar says "Summer", when schools are out for summer vacation, when the days are longest and beaches beckon (yes, those are low tides).

Summer has the word "ease" at the heart of it. Kayak to Chocolate Island, sail through these amazing Gulf Islands (some of the best protected boating waters in the world), enjoy beachcombing, swim in the lakes, hike the trails, picnic wherever your fancy takes you, enjoy al fresco dining with a view at the super restaurants around the island.

Salt Spring Island

A highlight of June? The annual Tour des Iles weekend (voyage between the five Southern Gulf music and new discoveries. A WOW). Check the Visitors Centre for dates and details.

The Salt Spring Real Estate Market

So, what about the real estate market at this very beginning of June? The story of low inventory coupled with consistent buyer desire for rural/recreational areas (yes, still the flight from urban to rural) continue to be in place.

Salt Spring Island

The immigration push (federally, the government is encouraging 500,000 immigrants a year, for 2023, 2024, 2025), at the same time as lack of housing (to buy or to rent) remains an issue everywhere, seem to predict rising prices. Lack of supply is always the reason for price increases. It remains, quite simply, a sellers market.

This is not yet the crazy market seen in 2021. So far, we are not noting many multiple offers all at once, with "over ask" outcomes.

Salt Spring Island

Sellers do get close to list, in many cases. In others, price reductions happen first and then often a further reduction at the point of a sale. These differences merely point to the pace of recovery after "the great pause" of 2022. It may take until late August/September to really see the tone of 2023, for real estate patterns.

There are many lingering concerns: interest rate further rises, inflationary pressures, lack of good choices for a buyer, supply chain issues, rising cost of materials (one reason why some buyers ignore undeveloped land listings), geopolitical worries, currency concerns. Worries do create slower outcomes...the persistent refrain: "are we safe yet?".

Salt Spring Island

Since 2016, most buyers have been from Vancouver in the Gulf Islands, and in other rural venues. These buyers plan to live where they purchase, and so take time in considering "where" to relocate. It always takes time to sell property on any Gulf Island, no matter the market trend.

Salt Spring Island

Close to Everything and Yet Wonderfully Apart...

So, we segue into June with fewer listings and renewed desire to own property on a Gulf Island...close to everything and yet wonderfully apart. Remember, too, our form of governance (the Islands Trust) and its preservation mandate. The Trust also keeps growth low. Between the Trust and the lack of interest from most owners in becoming sellers, and the pressure for housing, one might agree that price points will rise in real estate.

Look forward to helping you with your real estate needs (whether selling or buying) on Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands. Your best interests are my motivation.


Meantime, June is here...and whether a resident or a visitor, Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands smile a Summer hello. Enjoy!

Tel: 1-250-537-7647

May, 2023

The Great Pacific Northwest Coast

Salt Spring Island

The great Pacific Northwest Coast, including the delectable Southern Gulf Islands/Salt Spring Island, enjoy this month of natural largesse...blossoms tumble through orchards, and gardens flower forward. Lucky us to be here, whether this is home or just visiting.

What about the local real estate market at this very beginning of May, the month that has Spring easing into Summer? This past April continued to show low inventory and significant buyer interest, in options below 1.5 million. The higher priced properties began to get renewed inquiries, but fewer sale outcomes. May usually traditionally begins the sales of upper tier priced opportunities. Low inventory continues as we start into May.

Salt Spring Island

Both Canada and local community markets are aware of the continuing lack of the same time that the federal government is encouraging strong immigration (1.5 million by 2025). Lack of supply and increased demand promise price stability and also seem to encourage price increases.

Most buyers locally continue to be from Vancouver, and the desire to move from urban to rural remains a strong motivator. Smatterings of buyers from Alberta and Ontario are also present...retirees? Interest from out of country is there, but the federal two year ban on foreign ownership has created misunderstandings. There are many exemptions. One exemption: the ban does not apply to recreational regions and so Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands would be exempt. Important for out of country buyers to check into this.

Salt Spring Island

Not Only A Change In The Weather

The many societal shifts propelled by covid shut-downs continue to unroll. Working from home is a major change. The authentic ability of the internet to support this allows this significant work change. Will empty office spaces and commercial buildings now be revamped into needed residential housing? Creative designers are needed! On Salt Spring, for example, the vacant upper level office spaces in Ganges Village could be reconfigured into living opportunities.

Real estate has always been both global and local, as far as trends go. Population movements historically change the status quo in all countries. Throughout the world, population movement is underway...the seeking of better lives. All countries thus shift socially in response to massive migrations.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands remain unincorporated areas, with a governance format that comes under the Islands Trust and the CRD (Capital Regional District). The post-covid changes were perhaps unforeseen, but the huge impact of artificial intelligence is another significant game-changer...Will the 1974 Trust documents survive unaltered? Hmmm.... Early May may be about more than local real estate outcomes.

The Summer Winds

So, we start into the natural allure of May with continuing low inventory choices for buyers and with a desired lifestyle attracting them...a property on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands shimmers invitingly. Prices remain relatively stable. Will they rise? Too soon to say...couple huge inward migration with lack of housing options and it would appear upward pricing will continue. It may take until September to chart this. Summer sales need to take place first.

Beautiful May

Salt Spring Island

So...beautiful May. Mother's Day and the Victoria Day Holiday Weekend are mainstays of this lovely month. Beaches to walk on, sailing and kayak adventures to enjoy, hiking trails that beckon, outdoor patios to allure at our amazing restaurants, wine and cidery tastings, Saturday Market in the Park, Tuesday Farmers Market, farmgate stands, art openings at the Ganges Galleries, ArtSpring events, studio tours, meditation and spa renewals, the mind, the body, and the soul on the dazzling Gulf Islands.

Look forward to meeting you and to helping you with your real estate needs on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. Thank you.

Tel: 1-250-537-7647

April, 2023

Unique Real Estate in Unique Areas

The very beginning of April is with us. T.S. Eliot poetically stated that "April is the cruelest month". Perhaps he meant that the month begins with the face of March still in place (aberrant weather events) and ends with the wondrous and fully flowered May promise.

Salt Spring Island

What about the real estate market on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands at this very beginning of April?

All coastal markets are noting that low inventory is continuing.

In the main, locally, many owners are choosing to hold what they see as a good investment...a property on a Gulf Island. The Islands Trust form of governance (put in place in 1974, by the provincial government, to "preserve and protect the environmental beauties of the Gulf Islands, for all B.C. residents") effectively capped growth through strict zoning/bylaws controls. Regardless of market trend, there is always a low inventory on a Gulf Island. An investment security net?

Occasionally, an aging owner might consider moving...but low inventory is an issue everywhere and they can't find an option in that area they would consider moving to. They don't want to be houseless and so do not list.

Salt Spring Island

Global Events

The federal government is seeking strong immigration between 2023 and 2025...up to 1.5 million new arrivals. This policy is happening at the same time as continuing low inventory for either purchase or rent, across the country. For decades, lack of housing has not been addressed. A recipe for price stability and price escalation?

There are many events, often of a global nature, and so beyond individual control, that could be described as "worrying". Wars & rumours of wars, supply chain issues, insecurity of interest rate rises, currency concerns, stock market fluctuations, a fear that banks will fail, shifting job markets...what to count on? Chaos is a factor.

Post-pandemic, the entire work environment has changed. The ability to work from home, as the internet finally authentically made this possible, has put rural and urban living on the same footing. This may be a driver to action as buyers sell their urban lifestyles and choose rural. A kinder, gentler experience?

In a time of extraordinary change, it's ever more important to focus on our periphery vision and not to follow the narrow channels prepared for us. Understanding the societal effect of a robust artificial intelligence might be worth a look. Back up a bit, see what flickers on the edges of our visual sphere and pay attention to's where creativity lives...and any one of us can create the new. Are you looking?

Salt Spring Island

The Preservation Cap?

So, at the very beginning of April, there are not a lot of real estate choices for a buyer in any property type or price point.

Plus: A call from the federal government for significant inward migration.

A desire from a buyer to live in smaller areas that offer a pleasing lifestyle. The fulfillment of the long-standing government "preservation" cap on growth on Gulf Islands. The allure of real estate as a good hard asset investment to preserve capital. The messages seem to suggest that unique real estate in unique areas will continue to be a stalwart investment choice.

April. A good time to immerse into Nature. The annual promise of renewal...Spring's gift. Important to "see". Maybe even to look back at another era of extreme change and societal upheaval: the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century. Time to reconnect with the Romantic movement in literature and music? Their emphasis on the inspirational natural world might work in our era, too?

Things To Do on Salt Spring this Spring

Salt Spring Island

On Salt Spring? Catch the annual Spring Art Show, drop into the annual Home and Garden Show, enjoy the Spring menus at our great dining spots, renew with a healing arts moment at one of the spa opportunities, see an event at ArtSpring, picnic at a beach, explore the hiking/walking trails, kayak to Chocolate Beach...Spring says get up, spruce up, get the doors and windows...breathe.

Tel: 1-250-537-7647

March, 2023

March 1st is meteorological Spring...the calendar says it's March 20th. This 2022/2023 winter La Nina weather pattern on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands brought several snow and wind storms, (not our usual "cool Mediterranean" winter pattern). Now the very beginning of March says hello and smiles its daffodil promise. I'm in.

Salt Spring Island

What about that mixed message real estate pattern? In Fall 2022, there was a significant pause in activity/outcomes, although low inventory remained the theme. Buyers appeared to be digesting fearful issues such as increases in interest rates and impacts of inflationary pressures. A pause is not a correction.

Meteorological Spring

In early 2023, activity began again. The same uncertainties remained: impacts of interest rate rises and inflationary pressures, worry about geopolitical issues (distant wars, supply chain inadequacies, concerns about lingering pandemic outbreaks and possible new ones, currency worries, among others) seemed, however, that people just wanted to get on with their lives, and so action ramped up.

Salt Spring Island

The main driver to action continues to be that flight from urban to rural. The main buyer profile in the rural areas continues to be from Vancouver/Lower Mainland.

The lack of housing is a huge problem across Canada, and also impacts the entire province. Federally, the government is seeking to attract 500,000 immigrants a year, starting this year. Lack of housing to buy or to rent will continue to keep prices stable in all regions...and possibly lead to renewed price increases, especially in desired areas.

On Salt Spring, at this very beginning of March, there are very few single family homes listed for sale, and those residential offerings under one million tend to be strata properties (mainly townhomes) or small recreational cottages or serious fixer-uppers. Even properties over a million may need renovations...there are very few step-in ready opportunities available at this moment.

Interest in farm-style options continues...a desire to be self-sufficient (yes, that’s our friend the “back to the land” movement again). Boaters do ask about waterfronts with a dock...and these are quite rare now. Rare does imply stronger pricing.

Salt Spring Island

Pause or Correction?

There may be some listings opening up from aging retirees, who might like to return to city options, to be close to specific health requirements or to family, but they can’t move unless they can find something where they would like to move to...lack of inventory is an issue everywhere. These aging boomers do not want to be houseless, and so that lack of housing product everywhere does stop listing outcomes on the Gulf Islands.

We live in an era of profound change and part of that is to do with impacts of artificial intelligence on our everyday lives. Another: the moving off of the boomer voice and the impact of the millennial shift. It’s important to think about that when listing a home built in the 1990s, say. A lot of that era is on the Gulf Islands. Who is the buyer? What is a millennial seeking? How might one create that in a boomer-built house?

Housing Glut?

In spite of so many shifts and concerns, it’s important to remember the important things: family, friends, volunteering, keeping an eye on the future (no need to fear’s just the evolution of what we always our lives), and to work for best outcomes for our communities.

Salt Spring Island

Looking to move to Salt Spring or a Gulf Island? Thinking of selling your piece of paradise? Call me. Successfully connecting buyers with sellers since 1989, I look forward to bringing my expertise, knowledge, and experience to your benefit. (

March is the beginning of our Gulf Islands season. The earth flowers forward. Be there. Notice. Be inspired. Welcome. Tel: 1-250-537-7647

February, 2023

February...and the slow slide into Spring begins.

It's a short month, with a romantic allure on Valentine's Day (Feb 14th), and a weekend holiday on B.C. Family Day (Feb 20th) Weekend.

Salt Spring Island

Yes, a mix of winter and early spring, with that freshening sense of new beginnings (always the welcome message of real Spring).

Early Real Estate Patterns Emerging

What about the real estate patterns that are also beginning to emerge? It often takes until mid-March to get the tone of a market in a secondary home marketplace, such as the Gulf Islands. The buyer profile on the Gulf Islands is not local...buyers arrive from elsewhere...and for the last several years (perhaps fully since 2015?), the main buyer has been from Vancouver/Lower Mainland.

Salt Spring Island

After the first pandemic closures in early 2020, real estate activity began...the flight from urban to rural was the main driver to action. The ability of the internet to authentically allow the option to work from home, no matter that location, also was in place by 2020...allowing that rural shift to successfully take place.

In 2021, the inventory thinned out dramatically in all rural areas and in some cases there were bidding wars (more buyers than sellers). The low inventory continued throughout 2022, but buyers were pausing...inquiries came in, viewings would take place, but activity from buyers had slowed. Uncertainty was the culprit.

In the latter part of 2022, worries about the impact of distant wars, supply chain issues, concerns about lingering pandemic and health outcomes, fears about rising interest rates, currency concerns, reports of a global recession...all of these uncertainties had buyers simply treading water...are we safe? That seemed to be the major question. A pause is not necessarily a correction.

Lack of supply is what keeps prices stable and potentially tracking higher. The federal government is seeking immigration of 500,000 each year for the next two years. At the same time, they are putting a two year ban on foreign ownership. (There are many exemptions and one of them is that the ban will not apply to recreational areas (such as the Gulf Islands). Check the federal government website for further details).

Salt Spring Island

Less Supply, More Demand...

CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing) forecast last year that unless 22 million housing units were built by 2030, there would be no alleviation of the lack of supply in Canada. So: few housing units and increased immigration...sounds like a recipe for price increases, in foreseeable future. Hmmm.....

It is interesting, when looking back to previous serious recessionary times, that real estate usually softens a year before other indicators point to such outcomes. If so, that would put 2022 as the softened year in real estate. From early March to early December, 2022, the hesitation in buyer activity did see some dramatic price reductions, to try to jumpstart sales action. In most cases, these reductions did not result in either more viewings or in sales. When a buyer is treading water, it means a period of inaction. Real estate also often recovers sooner than other lagging sectors.

Unusual Active January

In early 2023 (January, often a quiet month), it became active again (working around bursts of winter weather, of course). Sales of some properties that had been listed over a year, and with reductions that had been ignored, suddenly took place. As we enter the very beginning of February, inventory remains extraordinarily low.

Salt Spring Island

Owners do not want to be sellers, it appears, unless they have to. To own a property in a unique area, where the Islands Trust form of governance effectively capped growth (in 1974), may be seen as a stalwart investment...a hedge against inflation and currency pressures. Buyer choice remains limited. By April, media reporting may be highlighting this renewed buyer activity and the lack of listings. More information? Contact me (

A Time of New Possibilities

We are all prisoners of our time...this current time period is full of unknowns and uncertainties and this does create hesitations. It may also be a time of new possibilities. Ever more important to sharpen up our editing skills. We are all swimming in a sea of raw data...making sense of it is a task indeed.

February is a good month to read, listen to webinars and podcasts, attend investment seminars, to glean bits of wisdom to guide us, to take the information in and then to see what makes sense individually. Also important to keep up to date on AI discoveries...things like ChatGPT could be serious game changers for our era. We are now all, in a way, our own experts. Important to trust our own inner editor.

Salt Spring Island

Meantime, it's inspiring February. Early flowering shrubs, snow drops and crocus bulbs are up, early daffodils in protected areas are smiling hello. Remember to get out and about in the natural world. In our digital universe it is ever more important to really "see" our companion natural environment. Walking meditation is a lovely entry to such appreciation. invitation to softer days, lighter days, and all that an early Spring promises. Enjoy!

Tel: 1-250-537-7647

January, 2023 starts with resolutions. There’s something about that blank palette at this very beginning of the month, in this introduction to a new year. We want to shape ourselves up. A new year invites change. Change offers inspiration and also brings uncertainty. A mixed bag. The beginning of January is also full of forecasts for the new year...investment suggestions are at the forefront. The key question: how to be safe? .

Salt Spring Island And what about specific real estate forecasts?

For Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, it always seems that the last two months of the preceding year are similar to the first two months of the new year.

Looking at late Fall, 2022, then, we noted that the listing inventory continued to be very low. Properties below a million tended to be strata options or small homes/cottages (most needing renovation or rebuild work). There were quite a few residential listings between one and two million. Sales were mainly below the million mark. A very few sales took place between 2 and 3 million. That “middle” person price category of one plus million seemed to have softened by late 2022. Was this a result of rising interest rates?

Arriving at the beginning of the new year, we note continuing low inventory. Prices have seen downward pressure since late Fall, and this may continue in early 2023. Price reductions do not always trigger viewings or offers. If a buyer is reluctant to act, they will tread water, seeking some market clarity. Most buyers continue to be from Vancouver and the desire to drop urban and seek rural remains a propeller of action.

Salt Spring Island It’s a good idea to attend investment seminars, whether in person or by webinars/podcasts. No one really has a definitive blueprint in this time of shift, but it’s good to let information pass through us...something that speaks to us will jump out. Be listening.

I found it interesting that some major National real estate brands were surprised that very little inventory came onstream in late 2022. They had thought the interest rate rises would have led to a spill-out of listings. However, if they can, it appears that most owners are choosing not to be sellers.

Salt Spring Island The Canadian government is seeking 1.5 million immigrants by 2025 (that’s 500,000 new arrivals each year, starting in 2023). At the same time, the federal government is banning foreign purchases for two years...starting January 1. Mixed messaging?

As long as supply is low, it seems to promise price stability in real estate markets. CMHC (Canadian Mortgage & Housing) noted in 2022 that 22 million dwellings would need to be in place in Canada by 2030, or the lack of housing problem would not be addressed. Add in that real estate keeps pace with inflation, and may protect from currency issues, and it seems that stability in real estate, especially in unique and beautiful places, may continue.

The very beginning of January is too early to make any significant projections about local real estate markets. Impacts of government taxation measures, interest rate rises, lack of supply, concerns about impending recession, continuing inflationary pressures, questions about cannot ignore these global concerns. Locally, it always takes until March Break in the Gulf Islands to see the possible tone of this new calendar year. Continuing low inventory will be key. Stay tuned.

Meantime: it's the beginning of January. Time to enjoy the softer season on the Gulf Islands. There are always things to see and do...and every day is that little bit lighter and longer. Meteorological Spring begins on March 1st...a hop, skip, and a jump from January 1st.

So, time to hike and walk the trail systems, to do some early spring cleaning, to sort files and spiff up the office, to keep up on projections, to meander the art galleries (to inspire one's soul), to do lunch at our great restaurants and ponder the views (important to support local), to take 5 as the great Brubeck played...and to simply be. A fallow field moment is always restorative. A time out.

It's January. Enjoy!

Contact Li Read at Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring), 4 - 105 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V5; Direct Tel: 1-250-537-7647