From Whistler Visitor to Real Estate Investor

BAW4.2As we continue to study the Whistler Economic Initiative (EPI) report, it clearly shows that Whistler is a very significant economy.

With over $1B in annual expenditures and $1.3B in GDP, Whistler is a meaningful part of British Columbia’s overall economy.

Whistler’s economy, not surprisingly, is driven by what the Whistler EPI report refers to as “Destinational Visitors.”

These visitors generate approximately 90% of the resort’s commercial sector spending. Conversely residents, whether permanent or seasonal make up 10% or less of the overall total.Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 10.36.36 AM

How are these “Destinational visitors” spending their money?

Well according to the EPI Report……while these visitors are 68% of the total revenue spend across different categories; they are 65% of the retail spend, 75% of the restaurant spend and 72% of the lodging spend.

It’s important to note that a very large portion of these visitors are from international locales.

If you consider the make-up of the different owners who contribute to this blog and who all invested in the Nita Lake Lodge, you have folks from Vancouver, Toronto, the United States, Mexico, UK, Singapore, and South Africa. All of us Whistler lovers who began as “Destinational Visitors” to the resort, fell in love with the place, as so many do, then decided to buy Whistler Phase 2 real estate.

This is where reality set in for us and so many other Whistler investors. Since most Phase 2 properties function like a hotel or condominium development, the City of Whistler attaches a covenant to each purchase which governs the usage and management of your property. The problem is that this real estate model requires the City to actually monitor and administer the actual implementation of their own rules to prevent abuse. When City officials don’t, as in our case, it can compromise your investment and sends a message to others that the Whistler Phase 2 real estate model is too risky.

If the City and the authors of the Whistler EPI report truly want to improve confidence in the Whistler economy and encourage reinvestment……they should think about taking more accountability for their real estate model. And if you are a “Destinational visitor” to Whistler, as we once were, and are considering buying Whistler Phase 2 real estate, you may want to proceed with caution. 

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