Dec 1, 2004 | Marmot, Winter 2004

The View From Here Rick Gibson

Why UK You Ask? The real estate market at Mount Washington is fluid, constantly evolving and, this year, moving swiftly.

In the last two years I’ve had easily 300 inquiries from the United Kingdom. It’s an incredible source for buyers; out of all those inquiries we’ve seen eight properties purchased, including some units in the new Bear Lodge currently under construction by Appia Developments. This shows us that the Comox Valley is no longer a secret. People are coming to the Comox Valley for the lifestyle we offer. What other ski area in the world can you think of that has the same snowfall as Mount Washington and is 45 minutes from 20 golf courses, two international airports, two major hospitals, fishing, scuba diving, mountain biking – and is affordable?

Purchasers are no longer looking at the mountain as their ski place, they’re looking at it as their recreational property that they can enjoy all four seasons of the year. People interested in purchasing property on Mount Washington are from all over the world. I’m getting an average of 5,000 unique visits to my Web site every month, which is pretty significant. And they’re from all over the world: it’s amazing what countries come up in my stats. Zimbabwe has come up more than once; Samoa; Iceland; some of the Soviet States; Mongolia. I can only assume many of the people from these areas who visit my Web site are Canadians working overseas. One of the buyers who has purchased a unit at Bear Lodge is from Tampa. Florida. He bought solely because of WestJet Airline’s entry into the Tampa market. Now he can get from Tampa to the Valley inside of a day. Missing on Mount Washington is the Alberta market. However, we see them buying in the Comox Valley and taking day trips to the Resort, because they’re leaving the snow not coming to the snow.

There are going to be more options for buyers in the coming months. Bear Lodge is half sold and it’s not even finished yet! A small townhouse project is going to be developed next summer along Nordic Way, across from Strathcona Park. Called ”Wildwood at Strathcona”, these townhouses will be a little more upscale than any previous development on the mountain. There is also talk of a hotel complex, similar to Deer and Bear Lodges, which will likely have smaller suites. The most important aspect of this complex, though, will be a retail component. Anything that adds retail to the Resort will be significant. One thing is for sure: the market is strong at Mount Washington and the world has noticed that it is still affordable.

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