When Sal and I ventured out to the boonies back around the turn of the century, I thought we were going to be on the vanguard of an urban exodus from Vancouver. I am amongst the first cohort of baby-boomers and we left early (our early 50’s) but I was pretty sure that the cost of living, the increasing urban ‘restrictions’ and the desire to retire would prompt a rush for the Gulf Islands at the very least and probably to other places much more hell and gone like ours.
I was wrong. Until recently the demographics have remained stable. Young people leaving; old, old people leaving and the merely senior-old ‘snowbirding’ for longer times kept the local population pretty much the same. Birthing and dying is also a limiting factor at our age – more than half the population is OVER 65. The birth/death ratio is out of whack. But we were ‘holding’.
Didn’t matter how you ‘cut it’ the place was NOT growing. It was stable but not growing and, to be blunt, all the while that same stable was getting older. Mind you, all that is anecdotal and concluded primarily from inferential scanning. One just kinda ‘knew’ what was happening…kinda….
To be fair, it was not JUST gut feel and scanning. Advertised real estate prices gave an indication. It is NOT an accurate indication because so much property out here changes hands but NOT through realtors and the MLS. A lot of change is simply not published, not noticeable. If there is any indication from real estate ads and such it is that fewer people were coming because the tax assessments were dropping and the listing prices were steady if not occasionally dropping as well. For the last five years it has been a buyer’s market. Speaking, of course, of a market that is barely visible….
But now…..? I think there is something in the air…..
I am seeing more young people coming out here. A few more properties have changed hands. Prices have been rising. Listings are down…fewer choices….The towns and villages on the Island are growing. Builders are building.
AND more to the point of this blog, I personally, have been asked more often to ‘keep and ‘eye out’ for a piece of property. In fact, I think it is fair to say that I will be right in predicting that at least two properties will soon sell on our island and several more will sell on the one next door to us. And this is winter!
Is it a land rush? No. Is it a boom? No. All it is – so far – is an ‘uptick’. The migration of youth seems slowed. The interest from retirees seems increased and, lo and behold, that is enough to pique the interest of the middle aged because they can imagine relocating and finding work.
“Dave, do you watch real estate trends?”
Yes and no. I watch trends of all kinds. I am fascinated by group behaviours and the economics they create and, of course, real estate is usually one of the easiest markets to keep tabs on. So, yes.
But do I keep a running tally of the value of any one piece of dirt vs another in one town or village or OTG situation? No. The money part is scanned only in big chunks (hmmm….everything used to be listed in the 500K range and now everything seems in the 700K range….?). Of course, the last scan might have included bigger or better properties so there is NO real analysis…
…….just something in the air….