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(Note: 2014 vacant land sales stats begin with post #4 below)


On October 20th in my ‘SC Listings & Sales 2011-2013’ thread, I posted a September Sales summary prepared by SC Realtor Kenan Mackenzie. He had this to say about last month’s land sales and 2013 year-to-date sales compared to 2012 and 2011:

Quote:There are 436 bare land listing this is down slightly from 2012 when we had 453 listings. Land sales ending September 30 total 45 sales, in 2012 there were 49 sales and in 2011 there were 66 sales. With the current pace of sales this represents an 87-month supply.

So, at the SC’s current sales pace it would take 7 years and 3 months to exhaust the supply of bare land currently on the market. I have been sitting on a graph that I planned to use in a future post; however, I think now I will use it now. As you can see, seven years ago, in 2006 vacant land sales on the SC collapsed.

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According to my data, peak land sales occurred in 2004 at 380 and by 2012 there were only 62 sales. Believe it or not, 2013 will not even reach that abysmal 2012 level.

I have created the following table showing 2013 sales by area. Within these areas, I have separated sales into those less than 1 acre (most “town” subdivision lots would fall here) and greater than or equal to 1 acre (most “rural” lots sold would fall here). This data comes from MLS sales only which may explain why my October year-to-date total is 45 while MacKenzie reached that figure at the end of September (he might have counted commercial land sales). The smallest lot sold in my table was 0.12 acres and largest parcel sold was 66 acres.

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Another 17 land sales would be needed over November and December to reach the 2012 figure and it isn’t going to happen. I think another 10 sales before the year end would be reaching for the stars.

I’m going to stop here for now, but I’ll be adding to this thread in the weeks ahead.
December 5, 2013 Update:

There were only 4 vacant land sales in November - the smallest parcel was 0.11acres and largest was 5.64acres. These sales raise the 2013 total to a breath-taking, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping 49.

Now, what was the 2012 total? Oh, right - 62. Well, SC Realtors, as they say in the Harbour, "Pitter, Patter, ya better get at 'er" or by the end of December the SC will be establishing a new twelve year low in land sales.

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It's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry over this pathetic state of affairs. Oh, well, someone along the way made some money from all those felled trees. I just doubt much of it stayed on the coast.
January 1, 2013 update:

In December, there were only 4 vacant land sales with 3 of these sales occurring in the District of Sechelt. Of these DOS sales, the largest involved 173 acres in East Porpoise Bay followed by two 4.9 acre parcels in West Sechelt. The remaining 1 sale involved a 5.0 acre parcel in Roberts Creek.

Sellers are taking a substantial discount from the original asking price to move these lands. In December, the median discount was -22.6% and that figure would have been higher if the 173 acre sale were removed from the equation.

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As I’ve mentioned before, land sales on the Sunshine Coast have collapsed and 2013 continued the downward trend dropping -16.9% from 2012. According to local Prudential Sussex Realtor Kenan MacKenzie, by the end of November there was a 90-month supply of vacant land listings on the SC - a staggering 7.5 years’ worth based on 2013’s sales pace.

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I honestly can’t see land sales dropping further in 2014. With list prices dropping coupled with our falling Canadian dollar, there has to be a reversal but it may only involve larger parcels. I think subdivision lots will continue to suffer which does not bode well for developments like Parkland in Gibsons. Subdivision developers on the SC are caught between a rock and a hard place with neither new home builds nor vacant lots holding much attraction. In 2014, I believe buyers will continue to pursue home re-sale bargains.
These are the vacant land sales for January/February 2014 for each market area and entered according to lot size. The purpose of recording size is to keep track of how many smaller subdivision lots are sold each month. The smaller table on the right compares the monthly total year-over-year from 2011-2014.

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In January, 4 lots from 0.14ac to 0.49ac and 4 lots from 2.5ac to 9.0ac sold. The cheapest lot went in Sechelt at $86,000 for 0.49ac. The most expensive was $526,500 in Roberts Creek for a dinky waterfont 0.15ac; however, it was listed back in May 2013 for $588,800 (HAM pricing!) so the sale price was a drop of -11.8%. The best bargain was 9.0ac on Hardy Island north of Pender Harbour for $240,000.

In February, the three lots under 1ac (0.33 - 0.51) moved at $98,000 to $197,000. The remaining lot - a land-locked 4.67ac in Roberts Creek - sold for $340,000 and actually included a ‘cedar shake shack’ described by the Realtor as a “Rustic Heritage Cottage.” The property had been listed in September, 2013 at $369,500 and went through a price drop early last month to $349,900. So, despite the $19,600 drop and freebie “Rustic Heritage Cottage”, the seller had to knock off a further $9,900 to move the property for a total drop of -8%. Here’s a look at that “Rustic Heritage Cottage” said by the Realtor “to be livable but the value was in the land.” Well, I happen to like that old place - it has character; just a little elbow grease and good as new-ish. Hey, what can I say - I lived north of the Harbour and it looks good to me…LOL.

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Finally, I thought I would show some lots rolling around in the SC vacant land sinkhole that opened up in 2005 and has continued to expand by leaps and bounds ever since. Allow me to introduce you to Georgia Crest Phase 2 located in Elphinstone just outside Gibsons’ town boundary. The lots of Phase 1 went on the market back in 2004 and sold like gangbusters. They were going for around $109,500 to $149,500 depending on size and included the then 7% GST.

Well, that went so well that the developer moved to put Phase 2 on the market in July, 2007. Oh, what perfect timing - right when the real estate market on the SC was collapsing and Phase 2 has been a dead duck ever since. In 2007, lots were listed for $179,500 - $229,500 + H.S.T. Then ever year after the price was dropped. Today, those lots you see outlined in red below are listed for $149,000 - $169,500 + H.S.T. - a drop of $60,000 on the high end (-26.1%). That drop applies to that large cluster of lots on the right which are 0.5ac. The majority of those lots have now been listed for 2416 days - that’s 6 years, 226 days and counting.

Oh, and driving to this subdivision looks like it would be the pits, too. I see no direct route into Georgia Crest from the Sunshine Coast Highway unless the Google map is incorrect and/or not showing all the streets. It looks like you would have to come down Pratt Rd to Chaster Rd and somehow work your way down to Ocean Beach Esplanade to get to Harry Rd. I wonder if there is a variety store anywhere along the route or do you have to head all the way back to the highway if you forget to buy milk. Ugly.

I decided to take a visit to the subdivision courtesy of Google streetview and the pic on the left is looking into Sundance Place - that view is August, 2011 so I imagine the alder, Scottish broom, and weeds are now much taller and denser. The pic further below is looking into Moondance Place across the street - not much happening there.

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Oh, by the way, the house on the left above is listed for sale…LOL. It’s a 4,030sf, 3bd/2½ba, home sitting on 0.49ac. It was listed January 13, 2014 at $684,000 and the price has now been dropped to $675,000 - now only +3% above the 2013 Assessment. It’s located on lot 44 on that price map above so anyone driving/waking up Harry Rd can look right into the back of the house. That's nice.

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March 2014 Sales:

There were only 4 vacant land sales coast-wide in March: 1 in Gibsons and 3 in Sechelt (1 occurred in the Sechelt Inlet Industrial Park - 0.49ac). The three town lots were all subdivision size at less than 0.2 acres.

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April 2014 Sales:

In April, there were only two vacant land sales over the whole Sunshine Coast - that’s it, folks - only two. There was a subdivision size lot sold in Gibsons (0.17ac) and one 0.64ac parcel sold in the Pender Harbour area.

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The last day I took an inventory count in April was on the 23rd and there were 419 vacant land listings - from subdivision size lots to parcels of a hundred or more acres.

As of today - May 30th, there are 442 vacant land listings. The number is down from last year with this total being reached around April 21, 2013. Despite this reduced number of listings, the pace of current sales must work out to about 11 years or more of inventory. However, I am seeing more lots being listed under $100,000; so, land sales and listings will be interesting to follow over the summer months.

The highest number of vacant land listings I recorded in 2013 was 494 reached on July 31st.
May 2014 SC Land Sales:

There were 4 vacant land sales on the SC in May. All sales saw drops from original asking prices and one was substantial. The year-to-date sales have just crawled past 2013 levels.

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The two sales in the Gibsons market area were both east of the town boundary. Lot 3 Williamson’s Landing (4.4ac) originally listed back in 2010 for $179,500 - it sold for $160,000.

The Sechelt area sale was actually a 0.9ac lot in Secret Cove (Buccaneer Marina). It was listed in February at $108,000 and sold for $94,750.

The Pender Harbour lot saw the steepest decline from list. Located in Daniel Point Estates (west of Garden Bay), the 0.8ac high bank waterfront lot was listed back in July 2013 at $399,000. It reached a final ask price of $299,000 before moving at $260,000.
June 2014 SC Land Sales:

June saw a nice little jump in land sales on the SC compared with the previous four months with 10 properties exchanging hands and half of those sales occurred in the Gibsons area (lower mainlanders preparing for future retirement?). 8 of the land parcels were under 0.6 acres, 1 was 2.27 acres ($199,000) and 1 was 4.6 acres ($199,900). Prices went from $59,000 (a Sandy Hook lot which explains the cheap price - last asking price $69,500) to $295,000 for a 0.55ac lot near the heart of Roberts Creek and only a quick walk to three great swimming beaches - last asking price $299,000.

There are definitely bargains to be had when it comes to vacant land on the SC; however, I am not sure this "jump" in sales is anything to get too excited about and will be a lasting pattern. I think the days of buying to build your own home or recreational cabin are long over. With so many resales of both types on the market, why go through the hassle?

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July 2014 SC Land Sales:

Vacant land sales dropped back substantially in July with only 3 sales compared to 10 in June. Year-to-date sales for 2014 are up versus 2013 (by 6 sales), but lower compared to both 2012 and 2011.

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As for those 3 sales, one was a half-acre lot in Gibsons and the remaining two - both larger than an acre - sold in Halfmoon Bay. That was it for July.


There were 481 vacant land listings as of the end of July. Here’s what got dumped onto the market around mid-month.

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That’s Pender Harbour Landing up there in Garden Bay. This project got underway back in 2006. Believe it or not, the owners behind this actually hired a company early this year to put together a marketing campaign. A few feel-good videos were created and posted to YouTube but nothing moved. So, all the unsold lots are finally on the market and here most will likely sit until hell freezes over or they built a fixed link to the lower mainland. Which do you think will come first?
October 2014 SC Land Sales:

There were 7 bare land sales in October which is two less than the month before, but 4 up on October 2013. On a year-to-date basis, land sales are up +21.7% versus 2013, but down -1.8% versus 2013 and -20% versus 2011.

Those October land sales occurred in only two market areas: Sechelt (4) and Pender Harbour (3).

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According to SC Realtor Kenan MacKenzie’s Real Estate Reflections in this week’s Coast Reporter Real Estate Weekly, at the current pace of sales there is a 78 month supply of listings (6.5 years). This is a substantial drop from last February when MacKenzie pegged the supply at 121 months (10 years).

So what is behind the quickening pace of SC land sales? There is one answer: price. Land is getting dirt cheap and sellers are willing to drop listing prices even further to get the sale. Here are a couple of examples from October:
  • Lot 7 Beaumont Rd, Pender Harbour (V953257). 0.4acres with 100’ of waterfront on Hotel Lake. Listed in 2012 for $99,000. Sold for $86,000 (-13.1%).
  • Lot 95 Higgs Cres, Sechelt (V952837). 0.72 acre oceanview lot in Orca Vista subdivision in southwest Sechelt. Relisted May 2012 at $172,900. Sold for $158,000 (-8.6%).
Orca Vista first saw the light of day back in 2004 and has developed slowly due to market conditions. This final phase sees 15 lots put on the market (2011/12) and according to the Re/Max Oceanview insert in November’s Sunshine Coast Real Estate Guide only 4 lots have sold. This can be updated now to 5 with the sale of lot 95.


Today, there was a price drop on a 0.23ac lot in the Sandy Hook subdivision in the east Porpoise Bay area of Sechelt. Back in a March post, I highlighted the significance of the first sub-$100,000 lot listing in Farrington Cove in Pender Harbour. Well, that notable drop has long been surpassed in other SC market areas over the course of this year.

Lot 4 Sandy Hook Road is listed on by the owners for $99,000 (List description indicates lot went up at $112,000 - $26K below assessment. In 2011, lot was assessed at around $149,000 and dropped $33,000 in 2012.). That listing gives the 2013 Assessment as $108,000 (it dropped a tad further in 2014). The lot also went up on MLS and on October 7 was relisted for $57,750 (V1088822). Despite that auspicious listing number with all its 8s and its low price it didn’t move; so, today the price was dropped to $49,900. We’re at -50% and counting. Given that there are other lots listed along that same road at $119,000 to $134,000, I think it is safe to assume that the owners of Lot 4 paid much more than $100,000. Unfortunately, I think Sandy Hook area and other outer areas hold little attraction for those now moving to the SC. However, these falling SC lot prices might be finally grabbing the attention of long term investors who just love holding land; and, in some areas of the SC it will be a very long term investment, indeed.
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