Too much heat in Winter Olympic property?
by Adam Irish
Vancouver Canada has been chosen to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. What impact has the International
Olympic Committees decision made on the real estate markets of Vancouver and Whistler / Blackcomb? A
surge in developments, a surge in real estate professionals working in Vancouver and a surge in prices
have lead some to question if the hype surrounding the Games has over inflated the property market of
Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city boasting a distinctive west coast culture and a real estate market
that has seen growth attributed to a number of factors including the growing wealth of its residents,
its standing as a one of the most beautiful cities to live and work in the world and its increasing
importance in the Canadian economy as a whole. The growth in prices seen in recent years in districts
of the city such as New Westminster and Richmond indicates that the city itself is going through a
surge in prices regardless of the successful bid for the Winter Games in 2010. The case is less clear
in the resort of Whistler.
Whistler will be the resort of focus during the Olympic Games; it has only 10,000 residents but boasts
visitors numbering 2,000,000 annually and only 5400 available rooms for rental. The Whistler Mountain
will hold the alpine discipline ski events. Yet with the limited amount of accommodation and
increasing demand from tourists the resorts faces a dilemma. The problem with building new and
improved accommodation within the resort is that prices can be over inflated as demand is over
emphasised and the 2010 Olympics used as a way to increase values.
Development of new accommodation is ongoing and Intrawest (who own the mountain resort) are coming up
with innovating ways to help people own property and use the resort. Club Intrawest is one such way.
The private resort club which allows members to use the facilities at numerous Intrawest resorts
around the world is a great way to use Whistler and have flexibility in your holiday options over the
Within the property market of Whistler itself prices continue to rise. The Whistler Real Estate Co.
Ltd. is one of Whistler’s top real estate companies; they have seen the market explode since the
Olympic hysteria came to town
It would appear that the Olympic effect has already been felt and the potential for further growth on
the back of the Olympics coming to town has already past the investor by. It has been reported that
figures for 2004 will also show rapid increases in prices for Lots and Chalets whilst Condo price
growth has steadied. These figures indicate that the market might be becoming over inflated in the
light of the Games effect and that even with increased demand for tourists the market might be at the
top of its range.
Due to these price increases shared ownership agreements have become a fashionable and a more
affordable way of owning a piece of the action. Starting from Can$100,000 for a Quarter share in an
apartment up to Can$500,000 for a Quarter share in a new build chalet shared ownership is one of the
best ways to buy into the market; that is, if you feel that there is still escalation in prices to be
experienced! The growth in the popularity of this type of investment may be an indication of how the
market is already having to readjust to the over hype of the 2010 games.
Lets not forget 2010 is a long way off, Turin which hosts the 2006 Games next winter has seen only a
small growth in real estate above and beyond those of the wider market. The games themselves only last
for a few weeks and with the market already over heating in places it is perhaps time to let the
spring thaw occur without buying at the top of the market. Comparable markets in other Rookie mountain
resorts perhaps offer better value for money. My personal opinion is to try resorts not touched by the
Olympic hype such as Big White, British Columbia’s second biggest resort or Red Mountain which has
remained relatively undiscovered.
Whistler Real Estate www.whistlerrealestate.ca
Vancouver Winter Olympics www.winter2010.com
Intrawest www.intrawest.com, www.clubintrawest.com
Big White www.bigwhite.com
Red Mountain www.redresort.com/about