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Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
08-27-2014, 12:44 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-27-2014, 12:49 PM by Skook.)
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
Excellent post, Jimmy! Thanks for coming through while you’re out there on BI and letting us know how the property hunt is unfolding.

I read that Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (JFK’s father) got out of the stock market before the crash of 1929 when he either “got stock tips from a shoe-shine boy” or he “overheard shoe-shine boys and other novices speculating on stocks”. Either scenario led him to believe that the stock market was “experiencing a speculative bubble.”

I would have to say that your double anecdote is saying the same thing about real estate. If you’ve been approached twice within a short time while on a BI walkabout by different individuals with real estate to sell, then my guess is that those individuals were speculating and now they’re feeling the heat. And, if there are two, you can bet there are more only as your friendly real estate agent points out their timing was a little off and they’re riding the market down. It will be the ones who could least afford it, too, who jumped in late likely using a HELOC or their RRSPs to buy. I saw it on the Sunshine Coast before the bottom fell out in 2007. At that time, SC locals were buying small lots in Earl’s Cove (only land prices they could afford) and they can’t get rid of those lots now without a loss (9 small lots currently listed) and the assessment just keeps dropping year after year (about $25,000-$30,000+ in just the last four years alone up there).

This just goes to show you, Jimmy, that looking at the stats (the Benchmark price in this case) doesn't paint the whole picture. Overall, I am getting a bad feeling and it’s reinforced with your news about the empty commercial spaces and that developer (post above) who is cashing out. Maybe that developer is thinking along the same lines as the “investing gurus” in this Friday (August 23rd) Globe and Mail piece…“Risk rising: Why investing gurus are worried that this bull market can't last”

Look forward to your next post, Jimmy, and cheers to you, too!
09-03-2014, 02:15 PM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?

Thank you for this forum. Very useful. I`m interested in having a better view on property prices on Bowen Island (west side). Is there information available on historical land prices?

09-04-2014, 07:50 AM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
Hi Steven. Welcome to VanPeak!

The only “historical” info I’ve managed to find for BI looked at real estate sales in general and I uploaded that data to post #7 in this thread which you may have already seen (two .pdf files at end of post).

Now, you specifically ask about land values and I did a Google search and came across some interesting sites. Dee Elliott, a Realtor and resident of BI, posted a 2012 BI Market report and offers this about land sales:

Quote:9 lots sold in 2012
There are 31 lots presently listed.
The average lot took 917 days or 2.6 years to sell.
Three waterfront properties sold at 49% of their original 2007 values
The others sold at 77% of the original list price.
The average waterfront lot sold at $ 21.58 / sf
The average view lot sold at $9.22 sf
No non view lots sold in 2012

Land values on the Sunshine Coast hit peak pricing in 2007 and then crashed and it looks like a similar scenario on BI; although, not to the same extent since so much land was cleared on the SC.

As for more current BI info, I came across an interesting webpage created by Adam Morton, a UBC professor and BI property owner. His page concerns a current BI development called “The Cape on Bowen”; however, if you scroll down Morton talks about property values. Morton’s webpage can be found here.

Morton offers other worthwhile links including one to a February, 2014 Bowen Island Undercurrent news piece, “Home sales increase, property values keep sinking” and it’s worth a read (mentions increase in foreclosures). That article quotes a BI municipal councillor Wolfgang Duntz who is also a developer. Duntz resigned from the council in March and created this webpage to explain why. In that explanation, he gives two reasons and in “Reason #2” writes:

Quote:…,the last six years in our construction and development business have been “challenging” (to say the least), not much different than for the general real estate market on the island. It has become obvious that this is not the result of a temporary recession, but a fundamental shift in demographics which affects everything from affordability of housing to local economy, local employment, and the island’s social fabric. All of that will require an equal fundamental rethinking and adjustment to the realities of the next 10 to 30 years. In that context, soon we plan to submit two rezoning applications to the Municipality which have been in the works for a long time and which, we hope, will provide a good idea as to whether the public shares our hopes and expectations for Bowen’s future.

So, the demographic shift I’ve been writing about in my SC posts is having a profound effect on BI, too. All very interesting, but doesn’t give you those historical land prices you seek. You might try different searches on the BI Undercurrent site and see what articles you get. And, the same with Google search. The sites I mention above popped up when I tried “Bowen Island land values.” Otherwise, you might have to get in touch with a local Realtor - maybe Dee Elliott would be a good resource.

Let us know what you find.
09-04-2014, 08:31 AM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
Hi StevenP

Just to add my two cents to Skook's typically well-researched and considered reply: me + family are looking to move to Bowen end 2015/early 2016. I have found Dee Elliott to be disarmingly frank and honest as well as a very personable individual - in other words, she'll tell you the unvarnished truth.

I can't say too much about what comes next as this was private information given to me by someone who invests professionally in real estate in Vancouver, but the research this person's firm has conducted in terms of property sales that are happening right now in the Greater Van area suggests that a significant moderation in both land values and sales prices is in progress, and that it would be smart to wait at least a year to see what happens next.

Taken in the round, I would agree with the comments made in the Undercurrent article - except to add that the average sale price to assessment value on Bowen (and yes, there are outliers) is approx 4-5% above assessed value. If you go to and look at some of the assessed values against asking prices, that gives you a pretty good feel for how far things still have to go in terms of price reductions ALTHOUGH for the first time in the two years I've been "lurking" in the Bowen market, some properties and land parcels are being offered for sale at or below assessed value...


09-04-2014, 09:01 AM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
I was hoping you would jump in Jimmy and offer insight based on your recent fact finding mission to Bowen. Big Grin

The info coming from that Vancouver firm on property values is enlightening - thank you for sharing it in the forum. Since starting my SC research, I have always had a gut feeling that was occurring on the fringes had to eventually make its way to the centre. The next year will be interesting to watch.

Great post.
11-07-2014, 04:40 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-07-2014, 04:42 PM by Skook.)
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
“I’m back,” so saith Skook.

Here is the MLS Home Price Index benchmark price update for single family detached homes on Bowen Island.

The 2014 benchmark high point to date occurred in July at $594,500 - a figure last seen in August, 2012; but, which was still 5% below the ultimate benchmark peak of $625,500 reached in May, 2012.

In August, the benchmark dropped $5,500 to $589,000 with a further $400 drop in September and there it sits for the time being. It looks like BI is holding its breath...waiting...waiting...but, waiting for what?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=994]

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
11-10-2014, 09:36 AM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
Slightly late response here Sir Skook, chiefly because I wanted to let my reflections marinade a wee bit before putting finger to keyboard. And my repeated thanks for what you do - really helps to give us a market snapshot.

So here are my takeaways, briefly - I hope there's value in this for those interested in Sunshine Coast and elsewhere. In my previous posts, I've divided the BI market into sub-$600K; $600-800K; $800-1250 and then above $1.25m.

I'll draw a couple of observations about each, then make one reflection which speaks to your comments on Gibsons, etc in other posts.

Sub $600 - five sales/withdrawals in this segment since you last posted. Price drops abound, between 5 and 10% typically; some properties which are left are now edging down to assessment levels but note that I expect this year's assessment to be lower than last
$600-800 : the fewest sales, still same # of properties on market as Sept. Few price reductions. Suggests to me sellers here believe their properties to be "worth it" more than in other segments.
$800-$1250 - four sales and one confirmed withdrawal (confirmed to me by a private source). Interestingly, the withdrawal was listing at assessment and getting offers well below assessment, so withdrew the property. Now not going to sell for the foreseeable. I wonder if this is a smart move...?
Over $1250 - almost no movement: one sale, no price changes, no new properties.

The take-away: I can't prove it until the BC Evaluation stats with sales figures are published, but my strong feeling is that a sense of "get while the getting's good" is pervading bottom end and $800-$1250 markets. I know one of the properties in the latter segment took 18 months to sell and two price reductions; I also know of properties now sub-600 that started out at 699/700 and yet are still not selling.

Bottom line: As I want to buy Skook a drink one of these days, I'll make a wager that Nov and Dec will see rapid declines to around the $560K average price mark, and that Spring 2015 will define this market for the next few years. If it's strong, and I don't think it will be, we won't see significant drops for another year or more. But my overall impression is that some sellers are reluctantly getting the memo (not in mid market) and capitulating on price. Stagnant average price is explained by bias towards higher-value (800-1250) properties shifting at long last and lower value having lower $-number reductions. Probably a smart move for sellers to do a deal now if I'm right about what's going to happen next.

12-02-2014, 12:41 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-02-2014, 12:43 PM by Skook.)
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
November 2014

JimmyWW wrote above:

Quote:... I'll make a wager that Nov and Dec will see rapid declines to around the $560K average price mark, and that Spring 2015 will define this market for the next few years.

With that in mind, Jimmy, this post is for you.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1009]

After coasting for three months, the market has spoken and it’s going down. I can hardly wait for December’s stats to see if November’s oil shock turns it into a headlong rush. Hang on tight, just in case it does.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
12-02-2014, 04:03 PM,
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
(12-02-2014, 12:41 PM)Skook Wrote: After coasting for three months, the market has spoken and it’s going down. I can hardly wait for December’s stats to see if November’s oil shock turns it into a headlong rush. Hang on tight, just in case it does.

Hey Sir Skook

Nice to have you back. Hope you are doing well. My sources tell me things have been busy and certainly there have been a lot of sales/relists on the island of late.. maybe sellers getting the message? We've had one go for over asking recently, and another go for 25% off a reduced price, but still 20% over assessment so... sounds like some sellers are getting the message, but still quite some way to go.

Let's see what happens in the month ahead.

Thank you as always -

01-25-2015, 08:37 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-25-2015, 08:42 AM by Skook.)
RE: Bowen Island/Gulf Islands - help please?
December 2014 Sales Stats

I can’t believe it! I have actually stumbled onto December sales stats for Bowen Island and other Gulf Islands. This past month, MacDonald Realty prepared what it’s calling ‘Market Hot Sheets’ for detached home sales for all lower mainland market areas. Here’s how to find the inaugural December 2014 Market Hot Sheet for Bowen & Gulf Islands.

Go to MR’s ‘MacBlog’ page (this links to it). Scroll down, look for and click on ‘Vancouver, North Shore and Tri-Cities Real Estate Markets – December 2014’ post. When it opens, scroll down to near the bottom and under ‘Surrounding Areas’ click on ‘Bowen Island/GulfIslands’. Hopefully, MR will run with this every month in 2015.

I have prepared the image below from that first Market Hot Sheet pdf. We learn that in December Bowen Island had 48 properties listed and that there were 4 sales. Now, there is already a mistake in this ‘Market Hot Sheet’ because another source shows that those 4 sales comprised of 3 home sales and 1 land sale. So, this calls into question that inventory number – is it combining home and land listings or is it strictly detached homes? (Would you know, JimmyWW?). This is something to keep in mind when looking at future reports.

MR is also indicating that Bowen Island is a “Buyers Market” because of that ‘dark’ blue bar on the right. The gray hash marks must represent the 55-60% (left) and 35% (right) sales-to-list ratios. Between the hash marks would indicate a “balanced” market.

I find this a “dumbed-downed” document. It is typical example of what is being produced now (including websites) to facilitate smartphone and iPad users. This coupled with Google’s algorithm change a few years ago that brought social media sites to the forefront in searches has made it increasingly difficult to find “real” fact-based and supported info. As this gathers steam, I am fast losing interest in the internet as a research and learning tool. (That’s my rant-of-the-day.)

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1053]

I found a second source of Bowen Island data. MacDonald Realty’s Bowen Island agent Dee Elliot posted a year end summary of sales on her Facebook page the other day. If you don’t want to contact her for a .pdf copy (which I couldn’t be bothered doing), here’s how to make it more readable: Click on the image and it will open in its FB photo album. Do a right click and pick ‘View Image’ and it will open as a separate album image. Click on image to magnify it. You can increase the image further if you save it to your Picture folder and use the magnifier in whatever image viewer application you have installed (like Windows Photo Viewer).

I was able to pull the monthly BI sales data from a chart in that summary and she shows December having 3 home sales and 1 land sale for a total of four sales. Here’s what else Elliot has to offer in her ‘Market Report for 2014 Sales’:

Quote:There were a total of 60 house and 14 land sales in 2014. The number of sales has trended upwards since the market correction in 2008, although we have not yet returned to pre-2008 numbers.

Housing sales ranged from $250,000 to $2,275,000. The average selling price was $750,336. On average, these homes sold for 115% of their taxed-assessed value and were on the market for 375 days before selling.

Land sales ranged from $151,000 to $2,150,000. The average selling price was $579,979. On average, these lots sold for 103% of their taxed assessed value and were on the market for 983 days before selling.

Bowen Island has the same problem as the Sunshine Coast – highly distorted average sales prices because all sales get thrown into the same pot regardless of house size, acreage size, waterfront or not, and sales price, etc., etc.

Combining Elliot’s and REBGV data along with my own calculations, I have created the following table. Unfortunately, you will have to contact an agent to fill in all the white space on the right.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1054]

Here is my usual REBGV Bowen Island Benchmark Price table and chart. As you can see, December’s benchmark price rose by $7,400 and as a consequence the drop from peak rose as well to -5.8%.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1055]

I blew up Elliot’s historical sales chart (2004-2014). Yeah, yeah I need her pdf; nevertheless, it’s the overall movement of the lines that tells us what we want to know. The “y” axis starts at 0 and increases by increments of 10 to a maximum of 90 and the “x” axis starts at 2004 and ends at 2014. The blue line is home sales and orange line is land sales. Real easy.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1056]

So, that’s a wrap for 2014. JimmyWW predicted a while back that 2015 will be a pivotal year for sales and pricing and that prediction has been given momentum with the current oil shock and its ramifications for the Canadian economy. Of course, that is on the “macro” level. On the “micro” level, we have the collapse of the Wakefield Construction and it, too, could be felt in the months ahead if BI business owners and former Wakefield employees and subcontractors are unable to meet their mortgage obligations as a consequence. This will be an interesting year - don’t change the channel!

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

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