a no - brainer in retrospect, for sure. we had halfheartedly looked into the market there (as well as nelson) a decade or so ago; alas…
Nelson is already completely played out but you would still do well buying here I think; for around $300-350k you can have a nice heritage home in town. I gaurantee within 5 years, maybe less, that same house will be worth over half a mil.
Lots of room for the prices to keep moving because we're only now really starting to see the influx of big money moving from bigger cities, before there was a bit of a cap on the market because it was mostly locals buying and selling houses but now that people are moving from more expensive locales, there's room to move. Realtors have said this is one of the first times they are seeing bidding wars going on and houses selling for above asking price.
The big change is just starting to happen here and it's gonna keep flying, mark my words. This year we're seeing the construction of the first multi story housing complex with $300-500k "affordable" housing. There will be a health food store on the main floor of the building and most of the funding for the project is coming from the same developer who has done the Whole Foods development plan with a similiar model in Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria and all the other trendy places to live. The city has already torn down any shady areas where hippies and layabouts would hang out and are rebuilding them to be well lit, modern cookie cutter versions of what you see in above mentioned trendy towns. Years ago this type of development was met with alot of resistance (people were actually protesting this kind of thing with signs, marches and rallies) but now it goes through like a hot knife through butter. Successful developers like that usually don't invest that much money into a place unless they know they can hype it up enough to really raise prices sky-high. I rode the chairlift with the retired city planner (retired last year). When I asked him about development he just laughed and said "wait 10 years, you won't even recognize this place".
If you're seriously thinking of moving this way and Nelson is already out of your budget, I would strongly consider a nice little shithole like Salmo because it's only 30 minutes from town in bad weather and 15 minutes to the ski hill. Location Location Location, the ripple effect will send the prices there quite high as well.