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Whistler property assessments rise again, Pemberton, Squamish assessments soar

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Though Whistler’s price increases are down on the whole by more than half from the previous year, the market is still active and aggressive, said Highfield.

"When you’re still seeing 12 and 15 per cent increases that’s still pretty significant," he said.

"I think it would be incorrect for us to talk about a slow market. You have to have a very active market to drive prices up 10, 11, 15 per cent."

Though the numbers are an accurate reflection of what happened in Whistler from July 2002 to July 2003, they do not reflect what’s happening currently according to Pat Kelly, president of Whistler Real Estate.

"It doesn’t reflect what’s happened since February 2003 to date," said Kelly.

"If anything (the assessments) probably accurately described the peak in the market, particularly in the first quarter of 2003 when there was a couple of very expensive projects sold and it really yanked values up.

"Since that time the market has stabilized and if anything consolidated."

Kelly went on to explain that in Whistler, real estate agents are seeing a two-tiered market develop to some extent.

There’s the market with properties over $2 million that is not very active and hasn’t been since the spring of 2002, he said. And then there’s the market under that figure, that has remained fairly active.

On the whole however there have been fewer sales in the market over the past year.

"Basically in Whistler, real estate volume (or the total number of sales) is down about 35 per cent for the 2003 year from 2002," said Mike Wintemute, general manager of Windemere Sea to Sky Real Estate.

"But prices are not down and this is where people get confused.

"Sellers are getting the prices they’re asking. What they’re not getting is that if the last (property) sold for $600,000, they’re not getting $625,000 for the next sale.

"So we’re kind of seeing a levelling off of prices."

Wintemute added that this levelling off of prices, particularly in the over $2 million range, is starting to turn around now because buyers have seen the prices remain relatively flat for the past two years.

"You can say the market has slowed but there’s nothing wrong with the market," he said.

"The market is steady as she goes."

The markets to the north and south however are mimicking the Whistler real estate pattern of the past few years, with large spikes in assessed value compared to previous years.