Whistler: Low inventory, rising prices, the low Canadian dollar that is attracting American and foreign buyers, and upgrades to ski and summer amenities make Whistler the No. 1 pick for residential investors this year. Multiple offers are now being seen on some properties, but prices will continue to increase due to low supply. Whistler detached house prices increased by 13 per cent this year from 2015, to $2.04 million and strata condo apartments increased by 11 per cent to $437,518. There is no foreign-buyer tax for residential buyers at the top ski resort in Canada. Vail Resorts, Colorado, recently bought Whistler Blackcomb for $1.4 billion, setting the stage for more international investment.
Sun Peaks: Sun Peaks is the second-largest ski resort in B.C. but the spectacular deals on strata units over the past two years are now mostly gone. Regular condominiums now start in the $300,000 range, still a good buy in this top-rated ski resort with a challenging 18-hole golf course, a lively village and a location four hours from Vancouver.
Silver Star: Silver Star Mountain Resort is in the Okanagan Valley next to Vernon and only one hour by bus from Kelowna International Airport. Themed after an early 1900’s mining town, the bars, restaurants and shops make up a charming village main street. Here, the lift ticket includes nordic and snowshoe trails and a spectacular tube park. Silver Star was recently named the Best Ski Resort and Best Family Resort by Okanagan Lifemagazine. Strata-titled condos are available in the $185,000 range.
Big White: Near Kelowna, Big White Ski Resort is the third-largest ski hill in B.C. with 2,765 acres of skiable terrain. It has a lively village and strong visitor numbers from Vancouver, less than five hours away. Prices, while rising, are still lower than they have been in years. Older studios are available for less than $69,000 and there is a selection of larger condos for under $200,000. Of course, you can also find luxury ski-in chalets in the $800,000 range and higher.
Panorama Mountain Resort: Situated in the East Kootenay Rockies about four hours from Calgary, Panorama is B.C.’s go-to ski and lake destination for Albertans. The housing market slumped eight years ago and prices remain below the peak: older one-bedroom ski-in strata condos can be bought for less than $110,000. But Panorama has upgraded to a full four-season resort, reclaiming Lake Windermere and adding lift-in mountain bike runs, along with excellent golf. We suspect a recovery in Alberta’s economy next year and a parallel lift in Panorama’s real estate values.
Kimberley: Located in the Purcell Mountains of the Kootenays, the bargain-value Bavarian-theme town has 6,700 residents and one traffic light but a magnificent ski mountain in Northstar. It is known for fluffy powder, short lift lines and sunny days. Only 20 minutes from Cranbrook International Airport, Kimberley real estate prices are still 25 per cent below the peak of eight years ago. Older ski condos can found for $75,000.
- With files, input from Ozzie Jurock