Squamish, Whistler Real Estate Markets Gear Up For 2010 Olympics

There is nothing like worldwide attention to drive interest in a region’s real estate market, and nothing drives World-wide attention like the Olympic Games. Since the announcement that Vancouver and Whistler would co-host the 2010 Olympics, The real estate market in the area between Vancouver and Whistler has been exciting to say the least.While the Whistler Real Estate Market is historically famous for its high priced homes and chronic staff housing shortages, much of that has dissipated over the last few years. Whistler Real Estate sales remain steady as its profile is further increased, and since, compared to options like Vail or Aspen, Whistler offers a competitive option in securing ski resort real estate.Further to the South, things are even more interesting. For decades, Squamish BC, a quiet industrial town at the end of the spectacular inlet of Howe Sound, lived in relative obscurity between it’s much more famous neighbours of Vancouver and Whistler. This quiet town of 15,000 was home to those who were tolerant of the commute to Whistler or Vancouver, forestry industry workers, and a few passionate outdoor recreationists.However, the fact that the next Winter Olympics will take place in venues both north and south of Squamish and a concurrent booming British Columbia economy, combined with a hot Vancouver housing market have boosted awareness of the Squamish Real Estate Market. Squamish is now attracting a great deal of interest as a place to live and invest in real estate. Housing developments are springing up or being planned all over this town, which has recently branded itself “The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”.For decades, the spectacular Squamish waterfront has been dominated by industry, most notably a saw mill, a deep sea port, and a chemical plant. But the Sawmill is gone, and 1300 housing units are planned as part of “Waterfront Landing”, a development by Pridham that will see townhouses, apartment towers, and an impressive a waterfront walkway talk the place of a former sawmill.Further south, The District has also attained ownership of another 60 acres of oceanfront property – a former chemical site, which it hopes to develop as a park and residential area, with perhaps some light industry to provide local jobs.For many, Squamish’s key attraction, the one thing that by far sets it apart from just about any place on earth, is the incredible variety of outdoor recreation opportunities available in this town. Just the sheer number of outdoor recreation activities available is hard to comprehend and it is a challenge to even attempt to catalogue them all. The rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, white water kayaking, ocean kayaking, kite surfing, wind surfing, and river rafting are all frequently described as “world class” in Squamish. Add to that three great golf courses, horseback riding, scuba diving, fishing, some road cycling and options for boat tours or air tours, and it is clear that many days of adventure can be fulfilled in Squamish, whether by resident or tourist. And of course, for those living in Squamish, a considerable bonus is the proximity to Whistler, putting world class downhill skiing a short drive away.Moving towards taking advantage of the growing tourism opportunities, The District of Squamish has just completed a Tourism Information Centre on the well-traveled Highway 99. The $6 million structure is known as the “The Adventure Centre”. The impressive, “saddle shaped” building contains a coffee shop and district offices as well as standard Tourist Information Offices.Real Estate in Squamish draws a great deal of interest from North Vancouver and with the commute from Squamish to Vancouver now shorter than from the Fraser Valley, there is a lot of interest from residents who are not sure they want to endure the daily slow drive from the Fraser Valley, the area to the east of Vancouver that has seen the greatest interest from the Vancouver based worker. And with its isolation, Squamish offers an escape from urban sprawl and an authentic small town feel.Squamish has seen a huge increase in prices, with eight $1,000,000 plus homes for sale at the current time, and it is predicted that in a couple years time, it will be quite common to see $1,000,000 homes. At the other end of the real estate market, Squamish remains the most affordable community between Maple Ridge and Whistler.Squamish market is also attracting young urban dwellers hoping to purchase reasonably priced homes in a favorite destination for recreation. Squamish is confident that it can sustain this growth and that it has every opportunity to become the service centre for places like Whistler and Pemberton, the other main towns in the Sea to Sky corridor. The addition of stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot will inevitably make Squamish the place where people from Pemberton and Whistler go to shop, rather than having to drive the extra miles to North Vancouver.

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