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Tom Whitfield's Interview on MoneyTalks Radio Show - August 25, 2018

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Hear Victor Adair Interviewing Tom Whitfield About Qualicum Beach Real Estate, on MoneyTalks Radio Show

  • Photograph of Tom Whitfield
  • Parksville Qualicum Beach REALTOR®
  • Published: Aug 31st, 2018 at 11:40 am

Listen to the full audio of Tom Whitfield's radio interview, on August 25, 2018, with Victor Adair (11m:01s).

Qualicum Beach and Area Real Estate Discussion

Victor: So welcome back everybody. Victor Adair here sitting in for Michael Campbell and I believe we have Tom Whitfield on the line. Tom, can you hear me?

Tom: I can.

Victor: Excellent. Tom, thank you first of all, for being on the show with us here on a Saturday morning. You and I talked on this show I think, you told me, it was exactly 2 years ago now and at that time we were exploring this idea that we both had that with the really high prices for homes in Metro Vancouver and the really low prices for homes on Vancouver Island, that there was going to be this migration. I call it an arbitrage, when people will be buying Vancouver Island and selling Vancouver. Now bring us up-to-date. I know this happened in the last couple of years. What's your perspective on it?

Tom: Well it certainly did Victor and in 2016 we were basically awash in that (the) Lower Mainland buyers who were selling very high over there and buying, by comparison, things very low over here. They were a very happy bunch of people.

Victor: Now when we talked the other day (Tom and I talk, by the way, folks. If you're listening we don't just do this totally cold. We talk to make sure we hit the high points.) What I was really interested in was your saying that it wasn't just about the money, that there were other reasons that were motivating these people to come to the island.

Tom: Absolutely, Victor. I hear about the Lower Mainland traffic a lot. It's getting kinda crazy over there and we, of course, don't have that kind of level of traffic over here and, also, the environment. What people tell me is they had their career there, they've raised their kids, now it's time to retire and they're looking for a much quieter and better lifestyle. So they're coming here.

Victor: Yeah. (Now in terms of) you know folks, I live on Qualicum/Parksville area myself. I moved here 6 years ago and for me the commute is I drive down to Nanaimo. It takes me about 20 minutes. I get on Harbour Air, who I notice is one of the sponsors of the show. It's a 20 minute flight into downtown Vancouver. I walk to my office in downtown Vancouver, do my business and fly home. It's a pretty easy commute compared to some of the commutes that our folks in metro Vancouver have to deal with. Now Tom, give me a profile. Who do you see coming to the island?

Tom: Well it's practically 100% retirees. I mean I get the odd younger family. You know perhaps they're working in construction, home renovation, that kind of thing. But it's almost always entirely retirees that are coming over here.

Victor: Yeah I heard the other day on the golf course they say on Vancouver Island grey is the new blonde (chuckle).

Tom: (chuckle) Ah, you got it.

Victor: And where are the people coming from Tom? It's not just Vancouver right?

Tom: No, exactly. Well for instance, 2016 we had about a 40% of the buyers were coming from the Lower Mainland. People were cashing out over there and were coming here and interestingly in 2017, after the foreign buyers' tax came into effect, that had dropped to about 20%. Now we're back to a more typical level of about 30% Lower Mainland buyers. Also, about 15 to 30% Alberta/Saskatchewan and the rest is, you know, other parts of BC, Canada and International.

Victor: OK and price-wise I got the idea that prices kinda jumped. How do things stand now and, you know, the bid offers or number of bids on a place, you know that sort of thing?

Tom: Yeah, exactly. You know, well, for the last 2 years we've almost always had multiple offers and, however, the market has now shifted. It's more balanced. The market has cooled off as compared to where it was. And this is actually better for the buyers of course. There's less stress for them. And yeah, it was kinda crazy there for awhile with the multiples. It gets frustrating for buyers when you get into that. Uh (pause)

Victor: Yeah, carry on Tom.

Tom: Well, actually now our sale price average here, for a single family home, is about $600,000. Interestingly, about 4 years ago it was $385,000. So, certainly it's come up. You can get a new home here for around $700,000. We also have trophy homes, of course. You know, on the waterfront, this kind of thing. For instance, right now here in Qualicum Beach I've got a gorgeous, custom, walk-on-waterfront , sandy beach, half acre, 2800 square foot with a detached workshop, backing on a wildlife reserve for $2.1 million. What would you pay for that on the Lower Mainland…if you could find it?

Victor: (chuckle) Tom I've got your website up on my computer screen right now and I should tell our folks that it's and I will repeat that again, that's and not only have you got (sort of) the places, like people would normally have, listed there that you are representing but you've got a great description of the different areas over here. We used to call it Oceanside but I think that name has gone out of popularity so what we're talking about is Qualicum, Parksville, Nanoose, Fairwinds, that sort of thing, Bowser, French Creek. And this area is just north of Nanaimo. Now Tom when we talk about people coming here from metro Vancouver I know you've mentioned to me before that you even had people coming up from Victoria. It not like Vancouver Island is monolithic. It's different up here.

Tom: Yeah that's right. And yeah the Victoria folks, same thing, Victoria is getting pretty busy too with traffic and of course they're getting high prices there too. So I am getting buyers out of the Victoria area that you know, once again, they want a much quieter, kind of a simpler lifestyle, that kind of thing. So they're coming this way and of course we're not very far. We're a 2 hour drive from Victoria so I mean if people are leaving family and friends behind we're only 2 hours away.

Victor: Tom we're going to need to take a commercial break so I think I'll just queue Amir to do that right now and when we come back let's talk little bit in more detail about what you get for your money in the Qualicum/Parksville area. You're listening to MoneyTalks all across the MoneyTalks radio network.


Victor: Hey, welcome back. Victor Adair sitting in for Michael Campbell. We've got Tom Whitfield on the line. We're talking the real estate arbitrage, people moving from metro Vancouver, in particular, to Vancouver Island. Tom's website is Tom, just driving around Parksville I can see at least one hundred homes under construction in the immediate area here. Tell me, when people come here, particularly the retired people as you described, from the metro Vancouver what are they buying? What do they get for what they're buying? What's the best seller out there?

Tom: Yeah you bet. Well people want the rancher. The rancher by far is the best seller. If it is a 2 storey the master bedroom should be on the main floor. It's that 1800 to 2800 square foot, that's kinda the sweet spot, double garage because invariably they bring lots of stuff with them. I have a hard time convincing people to downsize.

Victor: (chuckle) OK let's talk about money. What, if it's a new place or an existing home, what do these things cost?

Tom: Yeah you bet. Well our average right now, over the May/June/July period, we're running about $600,000 for a single family home. But, you can get brand new for $700,000, $700,000 maybe and a little bit. So that's pretty good value when you compare to over there on the Lower Mainland.

Victor: Yeah, of course. And you were saying that a few years ago I think, and in your notes here, about 4 years ago that home would be a little less than $500,000. So it's gone up a bit here just as prices have gone up virtually everywhere. When do people come here? I kind of have the sense that the winter is dead but then it really picks up as we go into the better weather.

Tom: Absolutely. Our peak market is February to May. May is always kind of break-neck speed but February to May and things slow down July/August and really I think what happens there is because so much of this is retirees is they're busy with their grandkids, family stuff, that kind of thing. And then gee, really it's kind of amazing, but right after Labour Day weekend we just take off again and the rush is on again. September/October and the push is to get in for Christmas because the family is coming to stay.

Victor: (chuckle) People do come. Tom, we've just got a minute or two left here I think. We were saying that there is more than one reason, not just price, to move here. When you talk to these folks and they decide that they want to be here, what are sort of the key points, the boxes that are getting ticked off? This is what I want.

Tom: Yeah exactly. Well we've got so much to offer here. You know in terms of the environment, the lifestyle. We've got 6 golf courses right here. Of course it's a gardener's paradise. We've got the 3 best sandy beaches on eastern Vancouver Island. There's trails and bike paths all over the place here. And of course we're close to the Gulf Islands, Discovery Islands for getaways. Two hours from Tofino, fifty minutes to Mount Washington for skiing, biking, hiking…you know it's just a great, great place to live. And I've certainly seen the traffic go up in the twenty-one years I guess I've been here in Qualicum Beach; but, man-oh-man my son is over in Surrey, Jesse, and when I go over there for a visit I just can't believe the traffic over there.

Victor: I understand Tom. I do the same thing. When I come back to the island from Vancouver, from being downtown Vancouver, and drive up the freeway with nobody on it, I go…aah - this is pretty nice…. And Mount Washington, you mentioned skiing, it takes me just under an hour to leave my garage to get up to Mount Washington to ski. Now believe me folks it's not Whistler, ok. I grew up on Whistler. I skied there for years but it's sorta like maybe Cyprus Mountain in Vancouver, very much like that. And one of the things is ....everything's cheaper over here! Tom we've got to wrap it up. Thank you very much for taking the time to visit with us this morning. Folks, if you want more information:, it's all there. Tom I'll talk to you again soon. Thank you.

Tom: Thank you very much for having me on the show, Victor.

Victor: You betcha.

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