Where to buy real estate in Canada 2021: Squamish and Whistler



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Sub division Postal FSA Neighbourhood name Overall rank Avg price 2020 1-year growth 3-year growth 5-year growth Value score (out of 5 stars) Neighbourhood economics score (out of 5 stars) Neighbourhood accessibility score (out of 5 stars) % Households with Children
whistler V0N alta vista 1 $2,509,000 225.0% 80.6% 280.1% 5.0 5.0 0.0 29%
squamish V8B squamish downtown 2 $598,358 0.5% 22.1% 77.5% 4.7 5.0 5.0 40%
whistler V0N whistler village 3 $880,467 12.7% 38.0% 106.2% 4.6 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N whistler creek 4 $687,927 3.6% 9.7% 106.0% 4.5 5.0 0.0 29%
squamish V8B garibaldi estates 5 $671,967 2.4% 13.9% 68.3% 4.5 5.0 5.0 40%
squamish V8B valleycliffe 6 $889,500 6.0% 21.9% 98.1% 4.4 5.0 5.0 40%
squamish V8B dentville 7 $735,717 1.5% 10.9% 55.2% 4.4 5.0 5.0 40%
squamish V0N brackendale 8 $963,292 4.8% 12.6% 69.0% 4.1 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N nordic 9 $1,078,256 -3.2% 27.8% 74.9% 4.1 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N benchlands 10 $1,192,822 6.3% 32.8% 80.0% 4.1 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N black tusk – pinecrest 11 $1,272,143 -5.1% 37.5% 101.5% 4.0 5.0 0.0 29%
squamish V8B garibaldi highlands 12 $1,143,800 4.5% 9.9% 70.2% 3.9 5.0 5.0 40%
squamish V8B brennan center 13 $1,172,600 4.0% 9.7% 65.6% 3.8 5.0 5.0 40%
whistler V0N alpine meadows 14 $2,130,576 17.9% 60.4% 111.1% 3.3 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N whistler cay heights 15 $1,695,063 -2.4% -10.1% 42.5% 2.9 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N bayshores 16 $3,416,122 102.1% 91.7% 188.1% 2.9 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N whistler cay estates 17 $1,708,265 -8.1% -35.7% 96.8% 2.7 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N blueberry hill 18 $2,175,399 17.7% 4.1% 68.2% 2.6 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N spring creek 19 $1,848,750 -10.3% -9.8% 31.1% 2.6 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N emerald estates 20 $3,015,290 67.4% 43.9% 152.0% 2.5 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N rainbow 21 $2,627,500 -2.1% 30.0% 88.8% 2.2 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N white gold 22 $3,335,083 -8.9% 54.9% 71.3% 1.5 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N green lake estates 23 $3,026,933 -0.5% 11.6% 41.2% 1.4 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N bayshores 24 $5,418,226 88.7% 79.1% 249.2% 0.8 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N blueberry hill 25 $4,239,629 16.8% 2.1% 66.9% 0.6 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N westside 26 $4,073,333 69.7% -38.8% -15.8% 0.6 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N brio 27 $4,161,000 -8.5% 38.0% 132.1% 0.4 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N westside 28 $4,073,333 69.7% -38.8% -15.8% 0.0 5.0 0.0 29%
whistler V0N brio 29 $4,953,125 8.9% 20.0% 126.3% 0.0 5.0 0.0 29%

Value
Measures how affordable the neighbourhood is compared to the surrounding area and the region overall
Momentum
Measures how quickly prices are appreciating in this neighbourhood, with an emphasis on long term
appreciation

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Realtor Grade

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How realtors we surveyed rate this neighbourhood

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For more, please see our complete
methodology

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Drive north of Vancouver for just a few hours and you’ll find the spectacular mountain communities of Squamish and Whistler. Best known for world-class skiing, mountains and sparkling glacier-fed lakes, Squamish and Whistler are also synonymous with outdoor sports (Whistler was the site of the 2010 Olympic games). While Whistler is dominated by resorts, hotels and a lively pedestrian village, Squamish offers the same breathtaking nature and outdoor adventure, in a community more suited to locals.

Why we’re watching Squamish and Whistler

Squamish and Whistler are located 59 kilometres (or about a 45-minute drove) from one another, and 64 kilometres and 121 kilometres to Vancouver, respectively. If you want to skip the drive, you can access Whistler by seaplane from late spring to early autumn. Residents of the area will require a vehicle as general accessibility is low, and local bus service runs less frequently than in larger city centres.

In contrast to what Whistler can provide in terms of the winter and summer tourist scene, Squamish offers a slower pace and a family-friendly lifestyle, with schools and amenities. Squamish provides families with a large range of education options including a strong public school system with six elementary schools, a French school, a French immersion program, a junior high school and a high school. Squamish is also home to two universities – Quest University Canada and Capilano University, Squamish Campus.  Squamish is also known for its wide variety of outdoor sports options including rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing and hiking alike. The town also boasts an emerging art and culture scene, too.

Pre-COVID real estate market

Prior to the pandemic, Whistler enjoyed over 13.6% gain in property value across all types from 2017 to 2019. Detached properties in the area had an average price of $1,519,300, which was actually a decline from the previous high of over $1.7 million in February 2018. In Squamish, properties saw a more modest gain from 2017 to 2019 of 8.45% across all property types.  Detached properties hit a high of over a $1 million average in the spring of 2018 and dropped back down under the 6 figure mark for the majority of 2019.   

Impact of COVID-19

When the pandemic began, international travel and tourism were almost put entirely on hold. This had a dramatic impact on the tourism operations at Whistler and financial consequences for local businesses. Housing in Whistler consists largely of shared accommodations and rental units, causing surges of COVID-19. Despite these challenges, average home prices in Whistler grew modestly by just over 3% from 2019 to 2020. Average home prices in Squamish rose by only 2.3% over the same period across all property types.  

Future outlook

As vaccines are distributed in the area, optimism has returned in terms of real estate activity and prices. In the first quarter of 2021, during the peak winter season, the average price in Whistler grew to $996,333 across all property types—a 7.4% increase over the 2020 average. When comparing the average price in December 2020 versus March 2021, there was a dollar gain of over $73,000. Average prices in Whistler topped the $1-million mark early in the year so we will see if the surge continues post-pandemic.  

In Squamish, similar momentum is seen throughout the first quarter of 2021. The average home price across all housing types increased by 5.7%.  While the increases are not as pronounced as in other parts of Canada or B.C., this highly desirable area will likely cost you close to or over a million dollars for those mountain views. 

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Neighbourhoods

Alta Vista

Situated on the eastern shore of Alta Lake with a stunning mountain view backdrop is the neighbourhood of Alta Vista, Zoocasa’s top-ranked neighbourhood for the Whistler-Squamish region. This is a quieter residential neighbourhood located between Whistler’s main village to the north and the community of Creekside to the south, with each less than a five-minute drive away. This area offers quick access to the mountains and amenities of the ski resort without the crush of seasonal tourists. Alta Vista is also located just off the Sea to Sky highway, providing easy access to Squamish and Vancouver to the south.

While the main draw of the region is the majestic Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, Alta Vista residents are also living the beach life, with close access to Lakeside Park and Blueberry Beach Park and docks. The immediate area is thickly forested with a number of trails. While residents will most certainly require a vehicle, Alta Vista is serviced by the local Whistler transit bus network, with quick access to the village; this is where all urban amenities, such as the grocery stores and schools, are located. There are also some dining and shopping options in nearby Creekside, as well as a mountain gondola—an alternative way to get to the peaks without contending with crowds.

Alta Vista is mainly a luxury neighbourhood and many of the properties feature lake frontage. Much of the housing stock is made up of higher-end detached homes and chalets, though there are several townhouse complexes that have been built in recent years that offer a slightly lower price point – roughly in the $900,000 to $1.5-million range. Nearby chalets are priced at a minimum of $2 million, and can range much higher. As well, there are a number of seasonal vacation home rentals located within the neighbourhood. 

The average price for an Alta Vista property was $2,509,000 in 2020, with strong year-over-year growth indicating booming demand; home prices have seen phenomenal growth over the short term, even outside of a pandemic context, up 225% year over year,  80.6% over three years, and 280% from five years.

Squamish Downtown

A charming stop along the Sea to Sky Highway, the municipality of Squamish has long been a draw for adrenaline seekers – and now for homebuyers, too, who have flocked there in recent years seeking a lower price point than in neighbouring Vancouver and Whistler.

Located just north of the Howe Sound, Squamish has a quirky, small-town feel. A total of 19,893 people call the municipality home, and its downtown is at the heart of it all. Running along Cleveland Street, which originates off the highway to the north and stretches to the ocean shores to the south, downtown is home to a number of eateries, shops, breweries, and art galleries. 

This community is the service core for the town, with the Squamish Public Library and Municipal Hall located here. Locals and tourists alike enjoy a number of annual music and cultural festivals including the Squamish Bear Festival, Squamish Wind Festival, and Squamish Days Loggers Festival. The Squamish Farmer’s Market is also a draw.


While the downtown core is walkable, residents are likely to need a vehicle to travel around the region, though there is a bus network serviced by Squamish Transit System, and the YVR Skylynx shuttle provides regular service to Vancouver and YVR airport.

There are a number of local school options for families settling in Squamish including five English elementary schools, three private schools, and two secondary schools. There are two local universities: Quest University, a not-for-profit arts school, and the Squamish campus of Capilano University.

Locals and tourists alike enjoy a robust outdoor lifestyle in Squamish; with the formidable Stawamus Chief rock formation hovering over the town, it is especially popular with rock climbers, who enjoy over 1,500 local climbing routes. The area has a number of hiking trails, including the tough-as-nails Squamish 50, and locals and tourists alike can enjoy river rafting, kiteboarding, and windsurfing off of the Squamish Spit. 

Homebuyers will find a variety of homes for sale in Squamish, ranging from luxury chalets to single-family detached homes, as well as a number of new townhouse developments.


Much of Squamish real estate is considerably affordable compared to nearby municipalities in the Metro Vancouver Region, and price growth has been more stable over the long term, with good value add for homeowners; the average home price in 2020 was $598,358, an increase of 0.5% year over year, 22.1% over three years, and up 77.5% over five years.

Whistler Village

This largely pedestrian community is steps from the Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb gondolas and an entire walkable village brimming with bars, restaurants and shops for the après-ski crowd. And locals should always expect a crowd, as Whistler’s population swells three-fold during peak season.

Whistler Village is easily accessible from the Sea to Sky Highway. It is bounded to the north by Lorimer Road, Whistler Mountain to the south, and Whistler Blackcomb to the east. All of the municipal services and amenities for the municipality are clustered here including the local grocery stores, schools, post office, fire department, and municipal hall. It’s also a convenient locale for those working in the hospitality industry, with the majority of ski chalets and hotels within walking distance.

Given it’s mainly a tourist hub rather than a residential neighbourhood, housing in Whistler Village is almost entirely high-density; many of the available properties for sale are vacation homes and timeshares, making the area attractive to investors. There are very few detached homes – mostly limited to luxurious chalets on the edge of town – with the majority of housing stock made up of condos and townhomes. Those looking to make Whistler Village their permanent home can expect to pay in the mid-to upper-$800’s for a unit. The average price in 2020 was $880,467, reflecting 12.7% annual growth, up 38% over three years, and up by double from 2015 by 106.2%.

 

The post Where to buy real estate in Canada 2021: Squamish and Whistler appeared first on MoneySense.



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