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Gibsons Development - Island Vista
05-12-2013, 01:44 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-12-2013, 01:53 PM by Skook.)
Gibsons Development - Island Vista
[Image: attachment.php?aid=146]

I've been keeping my eye on Island Vista, a small 8-unit townhouse development in Gibsons, for some time now wondering when the developer was going to face reality and drop the prices. Well, it finally happened last week. It wasn’t a big drop but given it took so long it must have been very painful.

I noticed the ground work getting underway back in 2009 and when I realized it was shaping up to be a townhouse development I remember thinking it was in a great location and would likely move fast. Nope. There it sits like a couple of beached whales with only two end units sold and that happened back in 2011.

I don’t know who the developer is behind this small project but given his prominence on the development’s website I can’t help but think it might be SC Realtor John McKenzie who is one of the top agents for Royal Lepage. He is handling the Watermark in Sechelt condo sales.

As I said, I think it is in a great location especially if you were a commuter heading into Vancouver. There are two ways you can head to the ferry terminal from Crucil Rd - the quick route via North Road or the scenic route down into Lower Gibsons and then Marine Drive. If you don’t want to drive, you can hop on the coast transit bus and be dropped off at the ferry, too. It is also walking distance to all the shops and restaurants in Lower Gibsons as well as Gibson’s Landing in the bay. So what is the problem here?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=147]

The image above shows the project elevation and as you can see the development is comprised of two blocks each with 4 units and it looks to be well made judging from the pictures both outside and inside. It is described as “New York Brownstone Inspired”; so, maybe it is too New Yorky or not Brownstone enough since it is actually constructed of good ‘ol BC cedar or maybe it is just too brown. Or, maybe it is just too expensive.

The units were all listed back in 2010 and then the unsold units were re-listed in 2012. I am not sure why the purchaser of Unit 5 paid so much more than asking unless there were some serious upgrades done. Maybe there was a small bidding war at the time for the end units and if that is the case he/she must regret that moment of insanity.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=148]

There were only 11 RE sales in Gibsons in April (5 detached, 3 attached, 1 mobile trailer, and 2 vacant lots). So, it might take more than that price drop to float these babies.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
05-22-2013, 11:34 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-22-2013, 12:35 PM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
May 22, 2013 Update:

I’ve been thinking about this development since posting above wondering why hasn't even one unit sold since those two sales in 2011. I think I might have the answer and that prompted me to take a look at Google Earth and Google’s streetview map. Now, I first need to mention that I erred in my post above; it was not this development that I noticed going in back in 2009 but a nearby development only a stone’s throw away - Islandview Lanes; I will briefly mention that development later in the post. However, it is Island Vista that I have been following the last few months,

So, let’s take a closer look at Island Vista's location which I have indicated on the Google Earth shot (2009) below including also that Google map from the previous post.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=165]

I am again showing below the elevation image for the development. The front of the townhouses (bottom row, left) face the oceanview and the back of the townhouses face that view shown in the construction site pic at the right (2011 Google streetview). Okay, where are the balconies for most of those townhouses? You got it - at the back! At the front, the architect chose to go with those ridiculous ‘Juliet’ balconies to prevent you from falling to the ground when you stand at your open sliding door. Brilliant. Those that bought the end units do get additional small side balconies enabling them to sit outside and view the ocean.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=166]

No doubt about it, these are definitely ‘New York Brownstone Inspired’ with that flat, storied façade. What a pity the architect chose to look to an American city for inspiration. If he/she had turned east to a major Canadian city for ‘Red Brick’ inspiration maybe more of these townhomes might have sold. The Canadian city I am thinking of is well noted for particular architectural elements: front façade balconies and porches.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=167]

Do you know what city this is? Here’s a hint: poutine and smoked meat.

If you’re thinking Montréal, bravo! I lived five years in that city which is why it came to my mind as I kept thinking about Island Vista and those silly ‘Juliet’ balconies. Damn, why do we keep turning to the States for ‘inspiration’ when this country of ours has so much to offer? Near a friend’s house in Edmonton, all the homes in a new subdivision were stuccoed and some were actually pink! Oh, let me guess - ‘California Pink Stucco Inspired’? Isn’t that so appropriate for a Canadian prairie winter! Those duplexes and townhomes pictured above are in the Outremont district which I believe is where Justin Trudeau and his young family have settled and is an area popular with the city’s French intellectual elite.

Well, maybe one west coast architect stayed in Canada for inspiration. Here is that nearby development, Islandview Lanes, and those townhomes on the left that head up the lane into the complex all have useable façade balconies - mind you, the design could have gone one step further and covered them so you wouldn’t bake in the sun or get soaked when it rains. Oh well, at least you can stand or sit in a chair on them and take in a bit of that oceanview.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=168]

For a final pic, I want to show that in Montréal you don’t have to be wealthy or an intellectual to get your balcony. Here’s a typical street near the city’s core. Vive Québec architecture!

[Image: attachment.php?aid=169]

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06-26-2013, 01:13 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-09-2013, 08:08 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
June 26-2013 Update:

Reality is setting in for this developer in Gibsons. He has lowered the list price on the six remaining units of this small, 8 townhouse development for the second time in two months. Under the current listing, the units have now been on the market for 236 days and counting without one sale.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=394]

This latest reduction has the units now priced $23,000 to $31,000 below assessment and the Asking Price Premium (APP) continues to fall. Is the developer making any money at this pricing?

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09-09-2013, 07:52 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-24-2015, 10:32 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
September 9, 2013 Update:

So, did any of the remaining 6 units in this 8-unit townhouse complex which have been on the market since 2010 sell over the summer? ...... (How do you indicate silence in print?)

No, not one of these ‘New York Brownstone Inspired’ units sold. I guess they’re still too ‘New Yorky’ for west coast tastes since price drops in May and June failed to attract buyers.

I think this small Gibsons development offers a perfect example of a seller (the developer in this case) desperately looking for the price point that will finally attract a buyer. For Island Vista, this is how its pricing evolved over the span of three years as seen from these development website screen captures.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=392]

Pre-construction sale pricing lasted a full year on the website and when construction was completed pricing increased substantially. Now, I speculated that a Sunshine Coast Realtor might be the developer behind this project because not once is a development company named on the Island Vista website. If this is in fact the case, you would think that he or she above anyone else would have been cognisant of what was taking place in the SC real estate market. As I illustrated in my ‘Interpreting Sunshine Coast Real Estate Sales - The 3 Amigos’, the benchmark price for single detached homes peaked in July, 2010 and as of August, 2013 it has fallen 22.5% (-22.5%). There is no reason not to believe the same pattern hasn’t befallen townhomes and condos benchmark prices. Now, the REBGV does not report the benchmark prices for ‘attached’ sales on the SC in its monthly stats package because the volume of sales is too low; nevertheless, I am sure that information has to be available to Realtors. I can only speculate that like everyone else, the developer preferred to look at the Average and Median Sale Price stats only.

So, what has the developer’s response been to this dismal summer of sales - the unit pricing was dropped again on August 30th. That’s three price drops in four months. Someone is getting worried…very worried.

Here’s the updated spreadsheet for Island Vista…

(Outdated spreadsheet removed. Click here for new spreadsheet.)

This latest price drop (in blue) represents an 11.6% and 10.0% drop from the peak pricing set in2012 ($395,000 & $399,000). As well, the units are now priced 30-40 thousand dollars below assessment. Will this latest price drop spur sales? Oh, I doubt it.

(Note: I might finally have figured out why Unit 5 sold so high over asking. During pre-construction sales, buyers had the option of installing an ‘in-suite private elevator.’ That could be worth an additional $47,850).

A really big update to the update:

Okay, so I'm human...LOL. I am not sure why, but I decided to google 'Island Vista' after I posted and discovered the project got a 'plug' in the Calgary Herald on August 18, 2013, 'Island Vista looks bright for sailors' - yep, when nothing seems to be working, head to Alberta and to Calgary in particular where the money is burning a hole in their pockets - I mean, look at the insanity of their current real estate market.

The article introduces us to a couple, Janice and Don Brewster, who bought into the project - they must be lonely. The couple hail from Edmonton - really? So, they bought their unit in 2011 and made it their permanent residence in last year. I wonder how they're feeling as the listing prices keep dropping? Oh, it just so happens that Don Brewster had a commercial real estate business in god's country. Hmmm, now why would the Calgary Herald take an interest in a very small 8-unit townhouse development on the Sunshine Coast?

From this 'article' we also learn the developer is not a Realtor but an architect, Eugene Evanetz, who happens to live on the Sunshine Coast. According to the CH,

Quote:Evanetz, who holds degrees in science and architecture, worked for many years on designing and building projects in Hawaii, eventually returning to do consulting work and project management in Canada. He lives in Roberts Creek, halfway between Gibsons and Sechelt.

Evanetz is also an instructor in Simon Fraser University's Continuing Education Department. Hmm, looks like his "over 37 years of real estate development experience in Canada and the United States" didn't help with this project. But, then, he is in very good company on the Sunshine Coast.

Now, it just so happens this Calgary Herald piece followed a "Special To The Sun" (as in Vancouver Sun) article penned by Christina Symons who writes for the Sunshine Coast's own weekly newspaper, the Coast Reporter. Her Sun piece, 'Location and price on the sunshine coast' appeared on July 20, 2013.

In the Sun piece, we get to meet the other couple who call Vista Island home, Cheryl and John Stewart - they must be lonely, too. It turns out they did in fact install an elevator so that means they own Unit 5. They've been living on the SC since 1991.

Obviously, that Vancouver Sun piece didn't make a bit difference to sales either; but, you gave it your best shot Christina.

A final thought...

The developments including this one in Gibsons that I have profiled in this forum were chosen simply because I found them to be interesting; and, because I couldn't understand why they weren't selling which is what made them interesting.

Therefore, my postings have been an attempt to understand what is taking place in the SC real estate market. When you see a development like Island Vista that is languishing along with the majority of developments on the SC despite all efforts whether it be lowering prices or garnishing media attention, then there is something far bigger at play here.

The only conclusion I can reach is that the real estate bubble is bursting and it's the Benchmark Price and Home Price Index that are the leading indicators that this is so. The good times are over pure and simple and the reasons why are now offered on a daily basis in the main stream media. This isn't just a Sunshine Coast issue, it is a provincial, national and international issue. Lying at its very heart, is the issue of debt; debt based almost solely on entitlement. How did we get here? Just open your wallet and stare at all those rectangles. We have all forgotten what is the true value of a dollar as we whip out the plastic to buy today what we will pay off tomorrow or next month or next year or maybe never - like half million or million dollar mortgages.

Perhaps the well is finally dry.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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09-10-2013, 06:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-12-2013, 07:04 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
Sorry, I didn't see this thread sooner. Despite your accolades about location, it really is a crap piece of property. The surrounding properties are mediocre at best, and totally vile at worst. Right behind is a car junkyard - hey, you can throw yer garbage off your west "balcony" and it will land nicely in the aforementioned lot. I also believe that the developer picked up the entire property for a song (70K) although he may have done a fair bit of environmental work to bring it up to scratch. You also have the noise of vehicles going up the Gibsons Way hill (as well as Crucil.) The neighbouring development just up the hill (Islandview Lanes) now has 5 listings. Why are they now trying to sell?
12-27-2013, 03:14 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-27-2013, 03:24 PM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
It has taken 2 years and 1 month, but there has been another sale at Island Vista!! Just before Christmas, Unit 8 was latched, matched, dispatched and the keys handed over.

The complex was completed back in late 2011 with two units selling in November of that year. Unit 8 reached its peak list price of $399,000 around June, 2012 and went through three price drops this year ending at a final list of $359,000. The townhouse sold for $355,000 for a total drop of -11.0% from peak. That doesn’t seem too bad; however, when you subtract the Realtor commission, the two years of municipal taxes, and the heating bill so the unit didn't get mouldy...well.

But, this sale could be the harbinger of good things to come in 2014; after all, this leaves but five more townhomes to sell.
06-20-2014, 09:51 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-06-2015, 10:08 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
June 20, 2014 Update:

There have been no further sales since the one I reported in December. So, five units of the 8 townhouses remain empty since they were constructed almost three years ago.

(Outdated spreadsheet removed. Click here for new spreadsheet.)

After the December sale, the list prices on the remaining units were increased (January 23rd); perhaps, it not the wisest decision?

(For earlier listing data, please scroll up).
08-23-2014, 06:36 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-06-2015, 10:08 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
August 23, 2014 Update:

There have been no further sales since my June update above; however, in July, prices changed - once again. So, I thought I would prepare a new spreadsheet for Island Vista.

This development has gone through two or three relistings and a number of price changes since its pre-construction sales back in 2010 hence the need now to split the spreadsheet into three sections. I would image that come September or October if those 5 units remain unsold they will all likely be relisted again since new listings on the SC are now using V108XXXX MLS numbers. If so, we might see the prices increased in preparation for next spring’s selling season which tends to be the pattern for developments and single detached/attached resale properties.

(Outdated spreadsheet removed. Click here for new spreadsheet.)

So on July 26th, prices were dropped by $10,000 on four units. The list price on Unit #4 remained the same since it is an end unit and the developer has consistently priced these higher perhaps because of the side balcony in addition to the one at the back of the townhouse.
04-24-2015, 10:21 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-06-2015, 10:10 AM by Skook.)
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
If you’re looking for a definitive sign that the Sunshine Coast real estate market has turned the corner, then this could be it: two Island Vista townhomes have sold in the last two weeks.

Five of the townhomes remained unsold at the beginning of 2014. In July, the prices were dropped $10,000 on all but one unit. Nothing. Not a sale. That 2014 price drop was carried over into 2015 and bingo: we have two winners in April!

This means Island Vista is over the hump and on the downward slope. Only 3 townhomes remain to be sold. There will be no more price drops (this is the lowest they’ve ever been). In fact, it’s possible the prices could be upped by $10,000 around June 1st on whatever units remain based on pricing patterns in the past.

Here’s the updated Island Vista spreadsheet (click on image to expand):

(Outdated spreadsheet removed. Click here for latest spreadsheet.)

(Note: I may do one more update at the end of summer, don't know for sure. Anyone wanting to keep this data, I would recommend saving it, now.)
05-07-2015, 08:17 PM,
RE: Gibsons Development - Island Vista
Wondering if you have any intel on whether the recent sales of these townhouses included GST or not? Thanks. Love the site.

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