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Whistler’s real estate market shows no sign of cooling off



The only real estate in Whistler that did not see an increase on this year’s assessment roll were condominiums in the town centre.

Otherwise, resort properties generally saw increases of 10 to 21 per cent, with some single-family homes in the higher-end subdivisions of Sunridge, Blueberry Hill, Snowridge, Green Lakes and Horstman Estates jumping 48 to 70 per cent.

The high-end spike comes on top of 18 to 30 per cent increases last year.

"Virtually everything in Whistler has increased but the town centre condominiums were pretty much holding their own," said Calvin Smyth, area assessor for B.C. Assessment. "There was pretty much no increase there."

Smyth said the stable value of hotel condo units could be attributed to increases in supply without a corresponding increase in demand.

The village condos are more reflective of the trend throughout B.C. this year, where the annual review of the province’s real estate markets shows that residential property values remain flat on average.

The only notable exceptions on the 2001 assessment roll were in Whistler and the District of West Vancouver. All property types in West Vancouver saw an increase in assessed value, with significant jumps in real estate near the waterfront and in British Properties.

Smyth said the trend in Whistler is once again evidence of a market being driven by international forces isolated from the rest of the province.

"Even the weaker subdivisions, and by weaker I mean the lower value subdivisions of Emerald Estates and Alpine, just went along on the coat tails of everything else," noted Smyth.

"Whistler has just boomed."

Last year Emerald saw an overall 5.8 per cent dip in assessed value, which Smyth attributed to publicity surrounding the cost of municipal sewer hook-up in that subdivision. That, however, seems to no longer be a factor in the real estate market. For example, a single-family home in Emerald valued at $350,000 in the summer of 1999 would have been worth $410,000 in the summer of 2000.

The value of real estate as of July 1, 2000 is what appears on the 2001 assessment roll and properties are taxed based on that figure. The B.C. Assessment office uses the common valuation date of July 1 each year to ensure that assessments do not reflect short-term fluctuations on a month-to-moth basis.

It is the market that determines the value of a property and the assessment authority reports that value to the property owner and taxing authorities.

"Whistler is seeing an enhancement in value and Emerald has been part of that," said Smyth. All single-family is being impacted by the demand for real estate in Whistler."