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Real estate holding steady, so far

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Condominiums and homes are still selling despite the slow down in the economy and the American-led war against terrorism.

"The people we deal with tend to take a longer view of the world and they still believe that Whistler is a very positive place to be," said Pat Kelly, president of the Whistler Real Estate Company.

"It is affordable, it is safe, and it is clean."

There is no doubt sales are down, said Kelly, but that is more a function of the on-going recession.

"It is a little slower," he said. "But I think that is due to a lack of predictability in the short run."

"The lack of activity is more a direct result of a slow down in the economy than any other thing. I think the longer this ‘recession’ continues the more impact will be felt. The war just makes people even less sure about making a decision.

"We don’t have panic selling and we don’t have vendors phoning up and saying, ‘get me out, get me out.’"

And so far concerns that American owners of Whistler properties would start to sell rather than face travel hassles haven’t panned out.

But, said Kelly, it may not be noticeable until the ski season actually starts next month.

"I don’t think an issue like that will hit home until people experience it and that is not going to happen for at least another two months," he said.

This week a 10-member security committee, chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley, met to discuss what should be done at the borders.

Suggested proposals by officials included new bomb detecting equipment, increased staff at borders and more money for the RCMP.

Customs officials are warning everyone who wants to cross the border to have official identification available, such as passports or birth certificates.

And travellers should be prepared for delays as border staff are searching more bags, cars and luggage.

To check the delays at borders log on to www.ccra.gc.ca . The site is updated every four hours.

Meanwhile things were busy this past weekend at the discovery centre for the Four Seasons development at the Blackcomb day skier lot, said Kelly.

The condominium complex is due to go on sale this spring.

"Things are on track," said Paul Woodward, vice-president of Intrawest’s Resort Development Group at Whistler.

"We are finalizing our design and we will be going to market with that in early spring," he said.

Intrawest also hosted a VIP luncheon this past weekend to show off the Kadenwoods lots – formerly known as The Peaks.

Woodward said the response was very positive and they expected most of the 19 million-dollar lots being offered for sale at the end of this month to go quite quickly.

Intrawest did stop the mail out of information flyers following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Sept. 11, but all other marketing initiatives remain on track.

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