Canadians getting creative to buy recreation property

Summer time, and the living is easy… So the saying goes. And this may lead you to dream of owning a cottage or other recreation property.

Well, you’re not alone.

More and more Canadians, it seems, share the same hope, and are getting more creative to find ways to make it reality.

As real estate prices remain high in Canada’s urban centres, young families especially are looking for unique ways to purchase recreational property. In a recent survey conducted by Leger, more than a quarter (28 per cent) of Canadians with children under the age of 18 indicated they would consider selling their primary residence in the city in which they live in order to purchase a cottage, cabin or ski chalet.

“Many Canadians with young families are determined to own a cottage or cabin and are willing to explore avenues to turn this dream into a reality,” says Christopher Alexander, regional director, ReMax Integra Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “As real estate prices in areas of Canada remain high, more buyers are exploring unique financing options such as fractional ownership in a shared property, purchasing a recreational property with a friend and even selling their primary residence and putting the equity into a cottage or cabin.”

In a separate survey of ReMax brokers and agents, 73 per cent of regions indicated that young families with children were a key driver of demand in their market, including established recreational regions such as the Okanagan Valley in BC, Canmore, Alta., Collingwood, Ont. and the Laurentians in Quebec.

Just the Facts

  • More than a quarter of Canadians with children under the age of 18 would consider selling their primary residence in the city in which they live to help finance the purchase of a cottage or cabin
  • Young families are fueling demand: 73 per cent of regions surveyed reported that young families with children drive demand for recreational properties
  • Buyers are increasingly selling their homes in Canada’s two largest urban centres and using the equity from the sale to purchase a cottage, cabin or ski chalet
  • Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Canadian Millennials (18 to 34 years old) would consider buying a recreational property in the next 10 years
  • Peace and quiet rated as the most important feature to Canadians when considering spending time at a cottage or cabin, beating out spending time with friends and family
  • Retirees were also a key driver of demand across Canada, with more than half (55 per cent) of regions surveyed reporting an increase in retiree buyers this year compared to last year.

“Large numbers of retirees and Baby Boomers nearing retirement are putting the equity they received from the sale of their home in cities like Toronto and Vancouver into the purchase of a recreational property,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, ReMax of Western Canada. “Significant price appreciation in those regions has made recreational property ownership a relatively affordable option for many retirees. This has in turn resulted in the price appreciation that we’ve seen in popular recreational property markets such as Whistler in BC and Haliburton in Ontario.”

As much as Canadians love the thought of owning a rec property, they should take note that this category is usually the first to feel the impact of any downturn in the economy.

Of the areas monitored in the 2017 ReMax Recreational Property Report Omnibus Survey, those in economically challenged Alberta show among the weakest year-over-year price growth. Properties in Canmore grew less than one per cent, while those around the lakes of Edmonton declined 4.1 per cent.

This reality puts an emphasis on research and making the right purchase.

“Our advice over the years has always been very consistent when it comes to discretionary spending on real estate,” Ash told NextHome. “Always invest within your financial means.

“Real estate, in all categories, should be viewed as a long-term investment. Recreational property even more so. Never invest with a speculative mindset, but always with the view to a long-term hold that will enhance your family’s lifestyle. Always ensure all the additional costs of property ownership are accounted for in a budget and stay within your personal financial means.”


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