There’s been over $500 million of real estate development in Sun Peaks since 1992. Between February and March, 2012, another six million dollars was added with the landmark sale of two high profile properties on the mountain. That’s good news for Sun Peaks, but not all resorts in B.C.’s Interior are enjoying the same upswing.
“When you look around the other resorts in the province, mainly in the Interior at Silver Star or Big White, my understanding is they haven’t had a sale of that magnitude in the recent past,” says Peter Nixon who manages real estate development for Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC).
Lark Frolek-Dale, owner-broker at Re/Max Alpine Resort Realty recently closed the second largest real estate deal in Sun Peaks’ history with the sale of a $2.5 million dollar home. She believes confidence in the recreational real estate market is on the rebound.
“The recreational market’s the first one to be affected and the last to recover, so these significant sales mean that the consumer is confident again and hopefully it will stimulate additional sales,” she says.
Although the most recent sales have been both high profile and high priced properties, other listings are selling too.
“It seems right now the high end and lower priced stuff seems to be moving,” says Nixon who notes that homes priced from $500,000 to $1 million aren’t moving as quickly.
Past investors in Sun Peaks real estate have mainly come from south of the border. With the U.S. economy slowly recovering, SPRC sees an opportunity to gain greater U.S. exposure, and Frolek-Dale anticipates future sales to the growing market of new visitors discovering Sun Peaks this season.
“It’s been years since (we’ve seen) an influx of new visitors at the resort, but this past year it’s been all new visitors predominantly from B.C. and Alberta and I’m starting to see that Washington visitor again. That tells me that in six to 12 months a lot of those first time visitors will be buyers,” she says.
With mortgage rates hovering around three per cent and a variety of inventory available, buyers are striking while the iron’s hot. Nixon believes Sun Peaks’ municipal status also makes it an attractive choice.
“Everybody can say they’re a four season resort, but we’re actually a municipality and we have a mayor, a council, we have opportunities for growth that other resorts don’t have,” says Nixon. “I think the fact that we have a school is something a lot of people are looking at, especially the young families that want to relocate here. It’s always been a challenge to get them to live at the mountain (if) they’ve got to bus the kids to Heffley for school, so I think that’s a big plus as well.”
Even with a real estate market on the mend, there’s still plenty of room for future development in the resort. While SPRC has sold over 50 per cent of its available property for development, future development is on hold until they’ve cleared the current inventory.
“Our direction right now is to try to sell what we’ve already got,” says Nixon. “If you look at us, compared to other resorts, we’re in very good shape, we don’t have a lot of inventory and we want to make sure we’re well sold on that stuff before we look to do new projects.”