News

Resort sees more local and international tourists

 | March 16, 2011

An increase in the number of first time and repeat visitors to Sun Peaks is giving the real estate and property rental sectors a business boost.

Reiner Brecht, owner of Bear Country, a property rental management company in Sun Peaks, said he’s seen increases in both domestic and international numbers this year.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the international numbers. It’s close to 12 per cent. The majority of them come from Australia,” said Brecht.

He said the marketing of Sun Peaks in Australia as well as the presence of Australian investors in Sun Peaks may have brought about this boost in visitors from Down Under.

He’s also seen more clients pouring in from within Canada.

“For domestic increase, it’s probably around 15 per cent,” Brecht said. This included an increase in the Albertan market, which Brecht didn’t expect. “We have a strong market.”

The Sun Peaks real estate sector also looks promising.

“We’re definitely busier with buyer activity, and that started about Christmas time,” said Sotheby’s Realty’s managing broker Liz Forster. She said buyers come from as close as Kamloops and Ontario and as far as Australia and Great Britain. “It definitely feels like an increase in confidence in Sun Peaks.”

There’s been a significant number of first time visitors to the resort, said Lark Frolek-Dale, owner and broker of Re/Max Alpine Resort Realty. “It’s been years, probably five or six years, since we’ve seen an influx of new resort guests coming to the mountain which is very encouraging. That’s a very positive sign for real estate because typically if we see an influx of visitors, those people will eventually become buyers.”

“At least 75 per cent of the people that came to the office just over that time had never been here before, which is huge,” said Frolek-Dale. “Most of them were from British Columbia, the Fraser Valley – Vancouver corridor. We did see new visitors from Alberta.”

Visitors from Washington State are slowly trickling in.

“We’ve seen an increase especially in February,” said Brecht. “It’s nice to see that the U.S. market is coming back.”

“It’s quite surprising just with the downturn in the economy and recession hitting the U.S. so strong,” Frolek-Dale said. “That’s all encouraging signs of recovery.”

Major changes that occurred recently, such as the creation of the municipality and school, seem to be part of the driving force behind the interest among buyers.

“A lot of people came in and knew about the school. We even had some inquiries about people who’ve decided to move here for at least a year to enter the school,” said Forster. “On top of that, Canada is coming out as a stable place globally to invest.”

From an international viewpoint, the exposure that Canada received from the Olympics is believed to be a contributing factor that brought international tourists to Sun Peaks.

Another thing that makes Sun Peaks attractive for real estate investors is the people. Forster talked to a family who were looking to buy a property in Sun Peaks.

“They said the most important thing about Sun Peaks is the people. They get all excited about who they’re gonna ride up with on the chairlift. They said even in other English-speaking resorts, you don’t get the friendliness of
people up here.”

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