“Luxury” and “Nanaimo” haven’t been historically synonymous.
But as market forces change in British Columbia, new opportunities are popping up throughout the Vancouver Island luxury market.
Smaller cities like Nanaimo and Kelowna are being mentioned alongside Vancouver and Victoria–and for good reason.
In this guide, we will explain why Nanaimo is being sought after as a luxury real estate destination, and how luxury real estate buyers, investors, and sellers can find what they are after in the market.
Nanaimo: A New Luxury Market
Natural beauty is one of the main reasons that Nanaimo stands out as a luxury market.
Waterfront access, hilltop vistas, and gorgeous west-coast forests make the Nanaimo area attractive, especially with world-class leisure attractions like golfing, boating, and wineries.
With such a mild year-round climate, it is easier to find time to enjoy these activities.
Although the Okanagan and Interior regions of British Columbia are still attractive for retirement, vacation properties, and full-time living, challenges brought about by hotter summers and volatile weather have made Vancouver Island seem much more attractive in recent years.
This is cited as one of the key reasons for the red-hot Nanaimo real estate market, and the same is true for luxury properties.
International Appeal, Recreational Focus
Buyers from the United States, and overseas are continuing to show interest in Nanaimo luxury real estate and business interests.
Many are looking for the upper range of properties available, like a $13.2 million, 11,900 sq. ft home (the priciest home on the island) that sold in early June 2022.
The pandemic and related travel restrictions cut into the international luxury home buyer market, but this is showing strong signs of rebounding–especially for recreational properties.
The slowdown in travel convinced many domestic buyers to invest in local recreational real estate. But now that borders have fully opened again, international buyers are reentering the market and pushing those prices even higher.
In 2022, the average price for a cottage in British Columbia was $1.029 million.
Nanaimo, often considered a recreational hotspot, is seeing a big boost in its luxury markets because of this.
Nanaimo’s Top Luxury Locales
Some Nanaimo neighbourhoods have more to offer the luxury markets than others.
North Nanaimo is a sprawling area that borders Lantzville, Hammond Bay, and the Uplands.
The very best properties here are found overlooking the Strait of Georgia from lots on the rugged Rocky Point. With panoramic views that stretch all the way to the Sunshine Coast, this is a popular location for custom-built newer constructions in a quiet setting.
Departure Bay also offers a range of luxury properties with easy ocean access. For frequent travellers, ferry and seaplane terminals are only a few minutes away by car.
For those with a preference for ranch-style luxury, Jinglepot is the way to go. This rural setting is a quick drive from the amenities of the city while showing off the best parts of country living in the shadow of Mt.Benson.
Curious about other neighbourhoods in Nanaimo? Check out our Nanaimo neighbourhood guide.
Aside from the attractive setting that many of Nanaimo’s luxury properties are located in, they also feature high-end amenities.
Look for homes with luxury features like professional kitchens, wine lockers, and spacious walk-in closets.
Large-scale pools are another hallmark of luxury, especially if they have an infinity edge that pairs well with Nanaimo’s many ocean views.
Since Nanaimo and British Columbia are known for their active, outdoors-friendly lifestyle, look for spacious home gyms with enough room for a few Peloton bikes and other high-tech exercise equipment.
Homes nestled next to the great outdoors will also include ample storage for mountain bikes, surfboards, kayaks, and ski gear.
For the buyer who prefers to keep busy with hobbies, there are plenty of luxury clubs around, like the Nanaimo Golf Club and Nanaimo Yacht Club.
Advice for Selling Luxury in Nanaimo
If you are the owner of a luxury property in Nanaimo looking to downsize or hang your hat elsewhere, there are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to list.
- Ensure that you maximize curb appeal. Buyers expect high-end landscaping to go along with luxury architecture and interior design. Look into options for a short-term landscaping facelift to make your property look incredible from the outside.
- Show off the “wow features”. When you are ready to stage the house, do whatever you can to depersonalise the space and show off the unique features of the home –especially the ones that you may not use.
- Market your home for the digital age. Invest in high-quality digital photography that is formatted well for social media. Drone videography and walk-through videos are a great way to capture short attention spans, and they help to show off the scale of an impressive home.
Summary of the Nanaimo Luxury Market
Although Nanaimo has a much smaller inventory of luxury properties compared to Victoria and Vancouver, homes in this market often have similar amenities, square footage, and breathtaking West Coast settings that have become so much more desirable in recent years.
So what is the real benefit of the Vancouver Island luxury market? It may still be undervalued.
Like most other markets on the Island, the “Mid Island” region (including smaller communities like Lantzville, Parksville, and as far north as Campbell River and Courtenay) have seen year-over-year average price growth of as much as 32%.
The trends contributing to this rush to the Island appear to be continuing, and the international markets are taking notice.
If there was ever a time to buy luxury real estate in Nanaimo, the next few years may be it.
So go with a professional that knows the market best. Talk with Jeff King about luxury real estate in Nanaimo today.