What'll happen in 2024 on BC's Sunshine Coast?

This post was written using a transcript from Tony's January 2024 podcast. It’s been edited for clarity.

2023 in review
TONY: Between January 2023 and December 2023, the price for a detached home on the Sunshine Coast, BC dropped by 1.5%. Townhouse prices dropped by 5%, and apartment style condos were down 7%. There's still demand for Sunshine Coast real estate, but headed into 2024, buyers and sellers have different price expectations for this market.

PAUL: Canadians saw three rate increases in 2023, but that's in addition to four rate increases in 2022. This means rate increases really start to pile up towards the end of 2023. Inflation did slow, but it's not back to pre-pandemic levels and it's still higher than the federal government would like it to be. When it comes to inflation, Canadians were better off this year than we were last year (or even at the start of 2023), but prices are not where anybody wants them to be. How did those interest rates and inflation impact the 2023 housing market on the Sunshine Coast?

TONY: Interest rate increases reduced people's borrowing capacity, and we found that there were a lot of people that stopped shopping in a certain price range as they could no longer qualify for a mortgage. Higher interest rates reduced the size of the buyer pool that could afford or qualify for the higher-end properties. We've noticed that what was once a very busy segment being between $1M and $1.5M has slowed down considerably, and now the busy spot is between $700K and $900K. Properties in that price range are getting most of the attention at the moment.

PAUL: The other big change in 2023 was to short-term rentals, specifically here in BC. The provincial government has essentially outlawed short-term rentals except for a very narrow set of exclusions. What did that news do to the market at the end of 2023?

TONY: I received a lot of calls from buyers that had purchased short-term rentals, and they were using them on the weekends and then renting them out when they weren't there. The Sunshine Coast is within four hours of Vancouver, that’s door-to-door including the ferry, so it's in a sweet spot for recreation properties and second homes. The provincial mandate to eliminate the majority of short-term rentals has resulted in those buyers not existing anymore because it's not something that they can do. Owners that are in a position where they're renting out a second home and using it themselves on weekends are relying upon the short-term rental revenue to service their mortgage. Those owners are basically going to be forced to sell because of this new legislation.

Predictions for 2024

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PAUL: Looking back on 2023, we see the major stories being inflation, interest rates, and Airbnbs. How will those things carry over into 2024? What do you predict happens with interest rates?

TONY: I think what the inflation rate nationally is 3.1%. And I think in BC it was like 2.9%, but I think the Bank of Canada wants it between two and three per cent nationally, closer to two than three. Even thought it’s supposed to operate at arm’s length from the federal government, I think there’s a lot of pressure on the Bank of Canada to drop interest rates, so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a quarter point drop in March. That may rally the real estate market at that point a little bit.

TONY: Long term, I think the current interest rates are basically the new normal, and they’re more normal than free money. I’m hopefully we're going to stay around this five, five and a half per cent mark without any increases. Maybe the rate drops a little bit in March, but I think that'll be the only reduction we see. Beyond, that we’ll wait to see what happens from there.

PAUL: With uncertainty around interest rates and the potential for a recession, should Sunshine Coasters list now or wait to sell later in the year?

TONY: It really depends on their situation. In general, if you need to sell, I'd say you're better off listing the property at an appropriate price point sooner rather than later. There are buyers out there, provided you're not trying to sell your home for 40% above assessed value or something like that. If you price it appropriately and you do need to sell, then list now.

TONY: If you’re speculating, now's not really the time to list. And if you own an Airbnb and you know come June you're not going to be able to generate that revenue anymore, then you need to get on it and get that property listed as soon as possible. You want to be ahead of the curve on Airbnbs.

TONY: Really it depends on someone's situation. If you don't have to sell, then now isn't the time to list. If you have to sell, then you should price it appropriately and list it now.

PAUL: If you're sitting on an Airbnb and you know you're going to have to sell by spring, what are the benefits of listing early versus the risks of waiting until summer?

TONY: If you list now, you've got less competition as there are fewer similar listings out there. You’ll also have a bigger pool of buyers to be potentially interested in your property. If you wait until the deadline when everybody else is listing, then the surplus inventory is going to have a softening effect on the prices. At that point, you're probably going to be looking at selling it for less than you would if you did now.

TONY: The downside of selling now is you've got six months worth of revenue that you could capture. And while I’m not condoning this in any way, I’ve heard a lot of people questioning how these new rules will be enforced. Will this legislation have teeth? It's a blanket thing across the province and there are tens of thousands of Airbnbs in BC.

TONY: How well organized will the province be at handling this? Will responsibility fall to each municipality to take care of it? Is Sechelt going to be able to keep track of it and enforce bylaws and that kind of stuff? If someone has an existing clientele of guests that have stayed there previously, will these owners remove their listing from Airbnb and run it privately? Will there be a way for local municipalities to know that that's going on? Or will enforcement be driven by complaints from neighbours?

TONY: A risk of selling early is you might take a loss, and then it turns out that this new legislation isn't well enforced or a last minute extension is granted or whatever. There are so many unknowns at this point, but if you’re underwater on your short-term rental (or you will be soon) and you know you're going to have to sell eventually, you're better off doing it sooner rather than later.

Sunshine Coast fireworks

Photo by manjurulhaque, licensed via Envato.

PAUL: There was a lot of doom and gloom with the Sunshine Coast real estate market in 2023. But there were some interesting real estate stories that happened to us personally. There’s one that comes to mind as being a real doozy.

TONY: If you want my best story, I'll give it to you. For some background, every year, we do a fun April Fools’ Day video. This past year, the video promised that for every sale I made, I would do a massive fireworks show. There were people that got the joke and there were people that were unhappy about the prospect of a few dozen fireworks shows over the year.

TONY: With that in mind, I'm sitting in my office in mid-April and I get a phone call from a nice chappy. He tells me he's got a semi-waterfront type home and he wants to sell it. And we get chatting about what he's doing and why he wants to sell and what his situation is. And about 10 minutes in the conversation, I ask, "Why are you selling?” And he says, "Well, I really like fireworks." And at that point I'm like, "Oh God," as I thought he's just some schmuck that's been wasting my time because occasionally I get the odd prank phone call.

PAUL: Your initial thought when this guy calls is that he's pulling your leg?

TONY: Yeah, exactly. I assumed that it was a waste of time. I'm a bit angry with him and I say, "Ah, good one. You got me,” and I go to hang up. Before I can, he asks me what I’m talking about. He’s playing dumb and tells me he has no idea what it is I’m talking about. With it being a small town, his house is on my way when I drive home so I tell him I’ll stop by.

TONY: When I get to his house, it turns out he's a really nice guy. He used to be an ambulance technician in Vancouver. He ended up retiring and part of his retirement, he got into fireworks as a hobby, and so he was legitimately fully into fireworks. I ended up showing him the April Fools’ video and he hadn’t seen it but thought it was great. I told him, "If I sell your house for over what you want, will you put on a firework show?" And he goes, "I'd love to." In the end, I sell his house for more than what he wants and he does a fireworks show in October. You were there and got some footage.

PAUL: The show was great! The odds of somebody that's legitimately into fireworks calling a Realtor that did a fireworks prank and both not knowing what's going on, the odds of that have to be astronomical.

PAUL: Then on top of that, the fireworks show itself was bonkers. Tony and I are both from bigger centres and we've seen our share of firework shows, but this was bananas. It rivalled anything I'd seen in a big city.

TONY: The only downside for me and anyone in attendance is that it absolutely ruined fireworks for them for the rest of our lives. This show was so intimate, so close, so well choreographed and on such a high-level, it was crazy. It was like 25 minutes nonstop. It for sure ruined fireworks for me. No fireworks show could top that.

Lightning Round

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PAUL: I'm going to throw lightning round questions at you. These are questions about the next year and you give us your predictions. Which film wins best Oscar this year?

TONY: Top Gun: Maverick. In my heart anyway.

PAUL: Who wins the Stanley Cup this year?

TONY: Canucks are looking good for that.

PAUL: Will Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce get engaged this year?

TONY: No, they'll split up pretty soon. Within the year.

PAUL: Okay. By December of 2024, the price of Bitcoin will be...

TONY: I'm not sure what it's at now.

PAUL: Like $55,000 Canadian.

TONY: Let's say $35,000.

PAUL: Does Twitter make it to the end of 2024 or does it implode?

TONY: I don't know, man. If he keep's telling this advertisers to F-off, then I'd say it doesn't make it to the end.

PAUL: Finish the sentence. This year's Paris Olympics will be...

TONY: In France.

PAUL: Molly's Reach will reopen in Gibsons in which month?

TONY: I would predict, should it reopen this year, it'll probably be in May. May 2-4 weekend will be the weekend.

PAUL: Sechelt will run out of water in which months?

TONY: Let's go with June.

PAUL: I'd have thought later. Maybe August.

TONY: We're still technically in a drought.

PAUL: Will there be any boat houses left in Pender Harbor by the end of the year?

TONY: I think there'll be some left, but a lot of them I think will be gone based on what's going on now.

PAUL: Combined number of times that Sunshine Coasters will curse the existence of BC ferries in 2024?

TONY: Got to be in the tens of millions, I'd say. No, let's say the low hundreds of thousands. So 300,000 times I'd say.

January Listings

833 Byng Road, Roberts Creek, BC

TONY: I have a lovely 2.7 acre hobby farm on Byng Road that was listed earlier in the year before the circumstances of the seller has changed. Now those circumstances have changed back again and it’s back on the market. This is the quintessential Roberts Creek acreage. It even has an orchard on it. The owner prior to these guys lived there for like 30 years and there are so many nice little cute customized areas throughout the property. There’s even a bunch of glamping sites set up at the back. The gentleman that currently owns it, he's a craftsman and has done a lot of renovations. It's kind of the ideal hobby farm. When people from the city think they want to move to the country, this is the acreage they dream about.

Lot 5 Burns Road, Gibsons, BC

TONY: In addition to that, I’ve got the Burns Road property in Lower Gibsons. It’s actually been taken off the market temporarily as we try to navigate how the higher density zoning's going to affect it. There’s a creek running through it and that means riparian setback requirements limited what could be built. But with zoning changes that allow higher density, it might make a lot more sense for a developer to pick it up because they could put more doors on it. It’ll be interesting to see how that one pans out, but that's a really good opportunity for the right buyer.

Lot 17 Skyline Drive, Gibsons, BC

TONY: And lastly, I still have the lot on Skyline Drive in Gibsons. I’ve been getting a lot of interest on that one. It’s a little bit of a challenging build site because of the grade of the property, but I'm sure that one will be a perfect fit for someone that's looking for waterfront and at a price that they can afford.

PAUL: If you’re even casually interested in oceanfront property in Gibsons, the Skyline lot one that you'll look back on two or three years and grumble that it slipped through your fingers. I think that one’s a really good buy.

TONY: Absolutely. It's like less than half a tax assessment at the moment, and really it's just because it needs someone to figure out an easy way to build on it. 


If you’re not already working with an agent, call me when you’re ready to buy or sell and I’ll guide you through the busy and competitive real estate market on BC’s BEAUTIFUL Sunshine Coast.

Tony Browton - TeamTrueBlue.ca
Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX City Realty (Gibsons)
Mobile: 604-418-2695
Email: Click here to email Tony

⚠️ DISCLAIMER: This blogpost is not intended to cause or induce breach of any existing agency agreement.