04/06/2013 01:03 EDT | Updated 04/08/2013 11:54 EDT

Whistler Real Estate: Condo Prices Drop By Half

Whistler Real Estate Company

Whistler is seeing massive price drops for certain types of condos, but realtors also point out the B.C. resort municipality is attracting a more long-term kind of buyer.

Prices for condos in hotels that are used by owners part-time have dropped by up to 60 per cent since before the economic meltdown, Whistler realtor Ray Longmuir told The Huffington Post B.C.

These types of condos, known as "Phase II" properties, are popular with people who use them on the weekends with their families. Owners can occupy them for 56 days a year, but they must be rented out to resort guests on other nights, allowing them to make money on the units when they're not in town.

Many of the condos now losing value were designed for real estate investors but bought as speculative investments, Longmuir said, and that's one factor that drove up prices.

A Phase II condo in the Coast Hotel, for example, has fallen from around $579,000 in 2004 to $229,000 today, CTV reported.

But the drop doesn't necessarily mean bad news for the housing market as a whole, it just means that Whistler is attracting a different kind of buyer, Whistler Real Estate Company owner Pat Kelly told HuffPost B.C.

"There's not as many people attracted to that kind of real estate as five or 10 years ago," he said. "Their desired purchase is less oriented towards appreciation and cash flow, and more towards personal enjoyment and lifestyle, and probably capital preservation."

As well, demand is increasing for townhomes and single-family homes, Longmuir pointed out. "The turbulence that was brought on by the sub-prime mortgage issue has been abated by the increase in demand, so now we're sitting with a much more balanced market," he said in an interview this week.

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