READ THE 2018 RECREATIONAL PROPERTY REPORT HERE
As Canada’s residential market recovers, recreational property experiences a surge
Canada’s increasingly aging population has retirees driving and inflating the recreational market in popular leisure locations
- Recreational properties are experiencing a surge in pricing with 78 per cent of regions surveyed showing growth
- A RE/MAX survey showed that retirees drive demand for recreational properties in 91 per cent of regions examined
- An older Canadian population with more purchasing power is driving prices up
A recent survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that recreational properties are experiencing a surge in pricing, with 78 per cent of regions surveyed showing a higher median price in 2018 compared to 2017. A RE/MAX survey conducted in the spring showed that 91 per cent of popular Canadian recreational markets are being driven by retirees, and with seniors outnumbering children in Canada for the first time as reported last year, retirees as a population are also driving up prices.
Compared to 2018, the median price of recreational properties, including waterfront, non-waterfront, water access and ski-in properties, has increased by 13 per cent across Canada. Median price information was calculated for the periods of July 2016 to June 2017, and July 2017 to June 2018.
“Compared to 2017, when only 55 per cent of regions surveyed had retirees driving the market, this year’s 91 per cent are having a much bigger impact,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “Combined with the fact that Canada’s senior population is the largest it has ever been, and many of these retirees are using recreational properties as retirement properties, pricing has increased across the majority of markets.”
Overall, British Columbia saw an increase of 19 per cent, with the median price in areas like Tofino increasing by as much as 112 per cent. Lack of inventory in the small region drove prices higher. Sun Peaks, one of Canada’s largest ski areas, saw an increase of 34 per cent, due to its available services and schooling attracting retirees as well as families.
The Prairies tell a different story however, with median price compared to 2017 decreasing by four per cent overall. For instance, median price for both non-waterfront and water-access properties in Turtle Lake, SK dropped by 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. The same is true for Qu’Appelle Valley, SK with the median price for non-waterfront properties dropping by as much as 25 per cent. Changes in mortgage rules and an economic slowdown are factors that contributed to the decrease. Sylvan Lake, AB showed no price change.
“The economic slowdown in the Prairies, combined with stricter mortgage qualifications, has affected demand in its recreational market,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “On the other hand, BC’s economy is the fastest growing in the country and its status as a destination market has contributed to the strong growth of its recreational market.”
Meanwhile, Ontario saw an overall price increase of 15 per cent, with the median price in areas like Haliburton’s waterfront properties increasing by as much as 98 per cent. The same rings true for its water access properties, with the median price increasing by 71 per cent. The median price of waterfront communities in the French River also showed strong growth of 36 per cent.
Atlantic Canada saw a very modest median price increase of 0.13 per cent. While areas like Shediac showed modest growth – three per cent for waterfront properties and five per cent for water access properties – Newfoundland’s East Coast saw a decline of as much as 18 per cent for waterfront properties. Part of this was due to unusually high-priced properties that sold in 2017.
“Atlantic Canada’s market is faced by slow economic growth, compared to Ontario,” says Alexander. “Those still recovering from the 2017 market downturn in places like Newfoundland and Labrador are delaying purchases of recreational properties at the moment.”
RE/MAX brokers foresee current trends continuing into 2019. In the next two to five years, brokers in BC speculate the market will see a shift from retirees to younger buyers driving demand for recreational properties, as the latter accumulate more purchasing power. However, in the prairies, the tighter mortgage qualifications and overall economic performance will make it more difficult for younger buyers to enter the market. In Ontario, brokers see both retirees and younger buyers driving demand in the next few years. Atlantic Canadian brokers are closely aligned with those in the Prairies who see retirees continuing to drive the market.
Key Findings from the 2018 RE/MAX Recreational Property Omnibus Survey
1. One-quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians would consider buying a recreational property in the future.
2. Canadians cite the following reasons to own or want to own a recreational property:
- It is where I can go and relax and spend time with friends and family = 58 per cent
- It is a getaway home = 46 per cent
- I can do activities I can’t do at my permanent residence (hiking, fishing, etc.) = 41 per cent
- It is an investment property = 33 per cent
- It is a retirement home = 19 per cent
- Other = 4 per cent
3. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians who own or are considering owning a recreation property are willing to travel up to two hours, with 31 per cent saying they would travel two hours. Slightly less (28 per cent) are willing to travel three or more hours.
4. Canadians identify the following features as important when considering their current recreational property or a future purchase of a recreational property:
- Affordable purchase price = 64 per cent
- Waterfront access = 55 per cent
- Reasonable maintenance costs = 53 per cent
- Proximity to town = 43 per cent
- Reasonable distance from primary residence = 37 per cent
- Relative seclusion = 33 per cent
- Land access = 30 per cent
- Proximity to sports/recreation = 25 per cent
- Accessible medical facilities = 24 per cent
- Nearby neighbouring properties = 15 per cent
- Island property = 12 per cent
- Other = 1 per cent
- None, don’t mind which features my recreational property has = <1 per cent
- Don’t know/prefer not to answer = 3 per cent
TOFINO AND UCLUELET, BC
Recreational property buyers are attracted to the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, situated 40 kilometres apart on Vancouver Island’s west coast, for the rugged natural scenery. The region is known for surfing, whale watching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, beaches and the ancient rainforest that connects the two communities.
The temperate climate on the coast allows for year-round access and the two communities provide magnificent vistas of the Pacific Ocean during storm-watching season in the winter.
Inventory for all property types remains low in the region, with 28 properties listed in Tofino and 63 in Ucluelet. Both regions have experience significant sales growth from 2017 to 2018 in both waterfront (increase of 112% in Tofino and 23% in Ucluelet) and non-waterfront properties (increase of 43% in Tofino and 33% in Ucluelet). Millennial buyers are moving their young families to the area as a lifestyle choice with the slightly older crowd looking more for second home and investment. Most everyone is coming for the beautiful natural environment, beaches, trails, surf and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
SALT SPRING ISLAND, BC
Salt Spring has always been an ideal destination for environmentally-conscious buyers. In recent years, low inventory has created a multiple bid situation. While days on market are low, with buyers becoming more proactive, receiving notifications from real estate agents about new listings immediately and racing to see the quality of the properties with the hope of avoiding multiple bid scenarios.
Waterfront, semi-waterfront, view houses on acreages and view houses are the most sought-after properties in the area. Waterfront properties command the highest prices with an increase in price from 2017 to 2018 of 29%.
Whether you prefer scaling the heights of the world-famous Stawamus Chief – one of the largest granite climbing faces in the world – or scuba diving in the Howe Sound, Squamish is ideal for recreational property buyers in search of adventure. From boating, hiking or surfing to attending one of the many festivals hosted in the region, Squamish never has a dull moment, making it a great location for young couples and families.
Conveniently located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish offers younger buyers more affordable options than its higher-priced neighbours. The region has also seen a slight increase in foreign buyer activity this year as the 15 per cent foreign buyer’s tax in Vancouver does not affect Squamish.
Increasingly, many buyers are purchasing in Squamish with the intention of living and working in the area due to the relative affordability and proximity to Vancouver. With a number of new developments under construction, there remain good opportunities for buyers to enter the recreational property market.
Located in the coast mountains two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is a well-established year-round recreational region. Though best known as a ski destination, Whistler is also a great place for summer biking, hiking and golfing. The pedestrian-only Whistler Village, located at the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, offers a number of shopping and dining destinations.
Buyers are drawn to the majestic mountain landscape, outdoor activities, amenities and recreational property options. Condos near Whistler Village are the most popular amongst buyers, especially those looking to walk from their living room straight to the mountain for skiing. Townhouses and chalets are also popular among recreational buyers in the region.
There has been an increase in buyers who have sold their homes in the Vancouver area and used the equity from the sale to move to the Whistler region on a permanent basis. The low Canadian dollar has recently prompted a slight increase in foreign buyers from the U.S. and at the same time, led more Canadians who may have considered purchasing properties in the U.S. to stay in Canada.
Vail Corporation recently purchased Whistler Blackcomb for $1.4 billion, and planned updates to the resort are anticipated to attract more visitors to the region moving forward. The region has experienced significant price growth with a 21% increase in prices from 2017 to 2018.
100 MILE HOUSE, BC
Retirees and young couples are driving demand in the region. One of the top emerging trends in the region is buyers cashing out on more expensive urban markets like Vancouver and purchasing recreational properties as their primary residence due to the affordability of waterfront properties. The region is still experiencing a seller’s market compared with 2017 due to lack of supply. This is illustrated in the region’s price increases on waterfront and non-waterfront homes of 9% and 12%.
SUN PEAKS, BC
Sun Peaks, BC, is an ‘all season’ resort community and has become a seller’s market over the years due to low inventory levels. Condo and townhouses that are ski-in, ski-out are most desirable with the “lock it and leave it” lifestyle and low maintenance.
Properties that are zoned for short-term nightly rentals are also appealing as many owners wish to rent at some point to offset costs associated with ownership. This year, the market saw an increase in multiple offer situations, which resulted in an uptick in prices. Ski-in properties have experienced significant sales growth with an increase in price from 2017 to 2018 of 34%. New real estate developments and lift expansion within the resort are expected to further increase interest.
The school which goes from K to 12 as well as the new Medical Centre has really anchored our community. Sun Peaks is appealing to young families and retirees and is one of the largest ski areas in Canada.
NORTH OKANAGAN, BC
Located in Southern British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is one of the warmest regions in Canada. With more than 100 lakes within driving distance, North Okanagan is a popular destination for watersports, including boating, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, or just spending the day in the sun.
There are estimated to be about 200 wineries from Salmon Arm to the U.S. Border, a distance of approximately 235 km. There has been extensive investment into these wineries, which attract visitors from around the world. In addition, there has been substantial investment into the regional ski areas. Predator Ridge Golf Resort in Vernon, B.C., is likely the premier golf community and destination in Western Canada.
Young couples and families are increasingly driving the market in North Okanagan with retirees following. A mixed demographic of individuals is moving from larger city centres to the area and some are buying recreational properties for investment purposes. The region boasts a seller’s market due to the shortage of supply. New taxation in the lower mainland is expected to affect the market this year. The region has experience significant price growth from 2017 to 2018 with a +10% price increase on waterfront properties, +2% on non-waterfront and +18% on ski-in.
THE SHUSWAP, BC
The Shuswap, just over an hour’s drive from Kamloops, is well known for its lake and watersports, vibrant music festivals, luxurious houseboats, golf courses and farmer’s markets. The Shuswap is popular amongst retirees looking for an active lifestyle. A popular attraction is the annual Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, held each August, which draws more than 30,000 people every year.
The continued low Canadian dollar has led many buyers who may have previously purchased recreational property in the U.S. to consider staying in Canada and purchase cabins and ski chalets in the Shuswap and North Okanagan. Some buyers are reconsidering purchases with the uncertainty of the speculation tax potentially affecting the region. Buyers are looking for access to the lake and other amenities that provide an active lifestyle. This comes in many forms within the region from gated RV developments that allow for “snowbird living” or secondary homes/cabins that are not on the water but close enough that they have easy access and more. While waterfront properties experienced a price drop from last year, non-waterfront properties commanded a moderate increase.
The Qu’appelle Valley attracts thousands of tourists and seasonal residents each year looking to spend time in one of Saskatchewan’s most picturesque regions. Only a 30 – 45-minute drive from Regina, Last Mountain Lake and Pasqua, Echo, Mission and Katepwa Lakes offer recreational property buyers fantastic access to a wide range of outdoor activities, from boating and fishing in the summer, to snowmobiling, ice fishing and skiing in the winter.
The recreational property market is driven by families and retirees in search of an active, outdoor lifestyle in close proximity to the province’s capital city. Both waterfront and non-waterfront properties saw a dip in median price compared to last year.
SYLVAN LAKE, AB
Situated halfway between Calgary and Edmonton, Sylvan Lake is very popular for recreational property owners as well as tourists. Less than a two-hour drive from Alberta’s two largest cities, city dwellers can escape to one of Canada’s top 10 beaches and enjoy the northern lights.
Sylvan Lake is the perfect location for those who are looking for a four season property near lots of amenities and activities. This luxury region offers fabulous restaurants, lake cruises, water activities, and golf as well as ice fishing and snowmobiling. Boating enthusiasts will enjoy the Sylvan Lake Sailing Club’s weekly races.
Demand for recreational properties in central Alberta has received a boost this year as Canadians who bought properties in the U.S. when the dollar was high are selling these homes and returning to Canada. There has been no change in median price this year compared to 2017.
LAKES WEST OF EDMONTON, AB
To the west of Alberta’s capital are several communities that provide city-dwellers with all-season recreational fun. Outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and swimming on the area’s many lakes in the summer, as well as snowmobiling and skiing in the winter, draw buyers to the region. Properties on Isle Lake, Lac Ste Anne and Wabamun are in demand among buyers looking for waterfront properties. Young couples, families and retirees drive demand for recreational properties in the region.
The ongoing downturn in the oil sector has had a dampening effect on the region’s recreational property market in recent years. There has, however, been strong demand for the new development project, with sales taking off in the last two years. The most expensive property sold in the region this year was a three-bedroom home with an indoor pool, steam room, exercise room and walkout basement, which sold for just over $1 million. The region has experienced an increase in waterfront properties price from 2017 to 2018 of +12% while non-waterfront has experienced an increase from 2017 to 2018 of +7%.
Located on the eastern shore of the Okanagan Lake, Kelowna has a mix of activities for both the adventurous recreational property owner and those who are simply looking for a little rest and relaxation. Visitors to the region can wander through the beautiful provincial parks and vineyards, go boating in the summer or hit the slopes for some skiing in the winter.
Part of British Columbia’s interior plateau, Kelowna is characterized by a string of lakes formed through thousands of years of glaciation. The three mountain ranges that surround the region (the Columbia Mountains to the east, the Cascade Mountains to the south and the Coastal Mountains to the west) provide a gorgeous backdrop for recreational property owners and visitors in Kelowna.
The low Canadian dollar has also prompted more American buyers in particular to purchase recreational properties in the Big White Ski Resort area. Ski-in/Ski-out properties have experienced a price increase between 2017 and 2018 of 26% due to the higher demand.
SOUTH OKANAGAN, BC
Framed by backdrop of mountains and forest, the South Okanagan region, including the City of Penticton, Summerland and Osoyoos, is prized for its beautiful lakes and world-class wineries and orchards. The region attracts recreational property owners and tourists interested in hiking, fishing and golfing in the summer and skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.
The South Okanagan offers a variety of options for recreational buyers, from properties suited to the more budget-conscious to ultra-luxurious options for buyers looking for a more opulent recreational escape. The recreational property market in the South Okanagan is primarily driven by Canadian buyers who are either retirees or families with children.
The past year has seen an increase in buyers opting to rent out their properties to people who visit the region to take advantage of the various amenities and activities. So far in 2017, the most expensive recreational property in the South Okanagan was a three-bedroom unit with over 95 ft. of beachfront, a boat dock and lift, and a patio with lake and mountain views, which sold for $3.5 million. Increase in pricing from last year is due to high demand in the Southern Interior as more families cash out of high-priced Vancouver, instead opting for property in South Okanagan.
TURTLE LAKE, SK
Located in central Saskatchewan, Turtle Lake is an ideal area for recreational property owners who are looking for a little rest and relaxation. Named after an old Cree legend about a large animal inhabiting the lake, the region offers recreational property buyers access to a wide range of activities including fishing, boating and golf in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.
The area is home to over 1,500 cabins and the lakeside features several distinct communities, including Turtle Lake Lodge, Indian Point and Golden Sands. The recreational property market in Turtle Lake is driven mainly by retirees and buyers with young children.
This year has seen an increase in buyers who are looking to finance their dreams of recreational property ownership through alternative financing methods. In particular, more buyers are willing to rent out their recreational properties on short week- or month- long arrangements or explore joint ownership of a property with a friend or family member. Prices for non-waterfront and water access homes have decreased from 2017 to 2018 (-16% and -10%), while Waterfront property prices have increased year-over-year to 3%.
GRAND BEND, ON
Retirees and young couples are driving the market. Due to the shortage of listings, it is a seller’s market where properties typically sell within a week. Regulatory changes like the stress test are making it more difficult for younger buyers to afford recreational properties in the area. Higher residential prices are contributing to higher recreational prices. Properties in the region have seen a significant price growth from last year with costs going up between 30% to 46%.
BRUCE PENINSULA, ON
Retirees are driving demand in the market overall which has remained unchanged for many years. Young couples and young families are secondary drivers of the market. It is a seller’s market due to little inventory. Due to high residential prices outside the region, many are choosing to purchase more attractively priced recreational properties in the area. Many younger buyers are also renting their properties to help pay for their mortgages.
Prices have been climbing in the area due to low inventory and increased demand from the urban centers. While non-waterfront properties have seen a decrease in pricing compared to last year, waterfront properties have seen a significant price increase.
NORTH BAY AND SUNRIDGE, ON
While retirees are driving the market overall, there is an increase in Millennial buyers from the GTA who are purchasing recreational properties for investment purposes or as secondary living locations due to the unaffordability to buy in the GTA. It is a seller’s market due to the low inventory.
The average sale price of recreational properties has actually risen more than the nominal increase in average sale price of residential properties. Top features that buyers are looking for is good fishing and relaxing lakes with good swimmable waterfronts. Privacy continues to drive emotional money with buyers waiting and choosing property that feels remote.
Accessibility plays a big role in the cottage buyers’ choices and pricing is affected by the seasonal roads as ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter are important features for the recreational buyer. There has been a significant increase in waterfront values, especially due to the area’s proximity to Toronto.
MANITOULIN ISLAND AND FRENCH RIVER, ON
Manitoulin Island and the French River are two of northern Ontario’s most popular areas for recreational properties – known as camps in this part of the country. Buyers are drawn to the area’s natural beauty and good availability of affordable waterfront properties.
The French River, which flows from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, appeals primarily to young families looking for a base from which to enjoy outdoor activities like boating, fishing and hiking. Manitoulin Island, the largest fresh water island in the world, continues to attract recreational property buyers from Southern Ontario, who can access the island by ferry from Tobermory.
The area is popular for all types of boating and sailing, and boaters enjoy being able to travel from Southern Ontario over to the upper peninsula of Michigan. Manitoulin is also popular with Americans, and interest from U.S. buyers is expected to pick up due to a favourable exchange rate. While Manitoulin Island has seen a small increase in prices from 2017 to 2018, properties in French River has commanded a 36% increase.
Retirees, young families and young couples are driving the market. A lot of buyers are buying recreational properties in the region while renting in Toronto. The market overall is approaching balanced across both entry-level and luxury properties. Buyers who intend on buying residential properties are turning to recreational properties due to the lack of inventory for residential properties.
The line between recreational and residential are becoming increasingly blurred. Inventory levels in this region continue to be low, contributing to the increase in prices. A very competitive market in expected to occur in the coming years. In the upper end of the market buyers want contemporary, quality finishes and craftsmanship. While waterfront properties have experienced a moderate price growth from 2017 to 2018, non-waterfront properties command a 35% increase.
WASAGA BEACH, ON
Retirees from the GTA continue to drive the market as has been the case for the many years. The region is approaching a balanced market as the average days on market have started to increase but are still well within a reasonable and comfortable amount of time to sell a home.
As a mixed area, residential prices and recreational prices tend to move in tandem. The Wasaga Beach Downtown Development Master Plan is expected to transform the area dramatically with the redevelopment of main street along with Beach Areas 1 and 2. Due to the commercial and tourism implications of the redevelopment, demand for recreational properties is expected to go up. Both waterfront and non-waterfront properties have seen moderate price growth from last year of up to 18%.
PARRY SOUND, ON
Parry Sound has something for everyone. Hugging the shores of Georgian Bay, those who love being outdoors can enjoy summer days out on the beach or hiking through Parry Sound’s stunning trails. Parry Sound is also home to multiple art festivals, such as the Festival of Sound and Art in the Park. For those interested in history, the West Parry Sound District museum will walk visitors through Parry Sound’s rich history.
Many buyers look to Parry Sound for its proximity to the GTA. With new mortgage lending rules affecting buying in major residential centres, it is expected that recreational listing inventories will continue to be under pressure as buyers look for affordable way to invest in real estate.
Both waterfront and water access properties have shown strong growth in price compared to last year, as high as 22%.
PORT DOVER AND TURKEY POINT, ON
Retirees are driving demand in the market. Due to the relatively stable supply and demand, the region is a balanced market. Residential prices are driving higher recreational property costs as many are using their recreational properties year-round. No developments or local issues are affecting the recreational property market. Waterfront and water access properties tend to be the most popular. Compared to last year, prices have actually dropped 10%.
Haliburton is a popular tourist destination full of beautiful lakes and cottages. Also known as the Haliburton Highlands, the lakes and rivers in the area dominate, but there is also a thriving arts and cultural scene, microbreweries, restaurants, golf courses and a ski hill which also helps to make Haliburton a great destination for a family holiday.
Haliburton offers a multitude of waterfront properties, from affordable three–season cottages to million–dollar luxury waterfront homes. Most buyers in this region come from the GTA, as the drive to Haliburton is less than 3 hours. Haliburton’s recreational property market is generally affected by what happens in the GTA. In a ripple effect, trends in the GTA often carry over to Haliburton 6–8 months later. Prices are steadily climbing as owning a cottage on a lake is the “Canadian Dream”. Overall, the region has experienced significant price growth, as high as 98%.
Collingwood-Muskoka offers both an adventurous and relaxing outdoor lifestyle. Buyers in the region get the best of both summer and winter, with activities like hiking, fishing, boating, skiing and sightseeing. Prices have steadily increased in Collingwood-Muskoka, and it’s expected to continue increasing in the next 10 years.
As prices rise in the GTA, more buyers are looking to this region, and tend to split their time between Collingwood-Muskoka and the GTA on a weekly basis. Overall, properties in both regions have shown strong growth of up to 21% due to an influx of buyers from Toronto whose work is still city-based but work remotely from the area.
Buyers choose Orillia for its small-town charm and quality of life. The sunshine city is surrounded by two lakes and known for its adventurous water activities. Buyers in this region can enjoy Orillia’s beaches, piers and national parks. Boating is a popular activity as Orillia offers easy access to the Trent Severn waterways. Choosing quality of life over location, buyers in Orillia tend to downsize, looking to condo along with waterfront for less maintenance. Property prices have increased by 17% from 2017 to 2018.
The Lake Simcoe region, which includes Barrie, Innisfil and Oro, is popular for its convenience of location. Buyers like how quick and easy it is to access their recreational properties from their year-round homes. Ski hills, hiking and biking trails and beaches are some of the top amenities Lake Simcoe has to offer, which keeps the property values high.
The trend of cottages becoming a year-round home is still a strong market, as the commute to Toronto is easier with improved highways and GO transit. Buyers even come from north of Muskoka because they want to be closer to the city, while still being able to enjoy recreational activities. Properties have experienced a moderate increase in price from 2017 to 2018.
Bancroft offers a variety of activities and amenities. From quaint shops to live concerts and outdoor activities like swimming and boating, Bancroft attracts buyers from around the world. Bancroft is home to Silent Lake Provincial Park, a popular camping destination known for its clean lakes perfect for swimming, fishing and kayaking.
Many visitors choose Bancroft as a regular vacation destination, with some now calling Bancroft home. Bancroft is a popular destination for buyers looking to purchase a large lot of land. Many buyers are coming from the GTA, as they prefer Bancroft for its close proximity from their year-round home. Prices are projected to increase up to 20% with the highway 407 expansion in the works, which will reduce travel time significantly. Both waterfront and non-waterfront properties have seen moderate growth of between 12% and 13% from 2017 to 2018.
PETERBOROUGHAND THE KAWARTHAS (EAST), ON
Located a 90 minute drive northeast of Toronto, Peterborough and the Kawarthas is a popular destination for recreational property buyers, particularly from the Greater Toronto Area. The area features many picturesque communities, including Lakefield, Bridgenorth and Buckhorn, among scenic lakes, rivers, wilderness and farmland.
Buyers are attracted to the Kawarthas for the region’s classic Ontario cottage country feel, and relative affordability compared to the Muskokas. Many recreational properties in this area are winterized, allowing cottagers to enjoy year-round activities, including swimming, boating and hiking in the summer, and skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. Cultural festivals, agricultural fairs, art studio tours and antique stores draw people to the region throughout the year.
With the lack of affordable homes in the GTA and more people working from home, more buyers from the city are coming to Peterborough. The extension of highway 407 is expected to increase prices in this region. While waterfront properties have seen a price increase of 12% from 2017 to 2018, water access properties have seen an increase of 24%. While affordable, water access properties do have a shortage of listings earlier in the year, resulting in multiple offers and a bigger price increase.
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, ON
Prince Edward County is known for its beaches, wineries and breweries, and trendy hotels. Prince Edward County has become a popular destination for AirBnB properties, with many buyers purchasing property for AirBnB in this region to generate a second income.
Prince Edward County has become a popular getaway destination with Torontonians, as many businesses based in Toronto have opened up attractions, such as The Drake Devonshire Inn and the June Motel. Because of all the trendy attractions Prince Edward County has to offer, it’s expected that millennials will continue to purchase recreational properties here in the next 5 – 10 years. Prices have decreased by 3% in 2018 compared to 2017 due to lack of inventory of higher priced properties.
Beaverton is the perfect destination to experience the best of both summer and winter. Buyers choose this region for its access to swimmable shorelines, winter festivals and golf clubs. Hugging the shores of Lake Simcoe, Beaverton offers a number of water sport activities, boat tours and other attractions along the harbourfront.
Most of the buyers coming to Beaverton are from the GTA. Proximity is not very important, as most define Beaverton as the perfect escape from the city, with great access to privacy. With its variety of year-round activities and attractions and affordable prices, it is anticipated that millennial buyers will continue to purchase their recreational property in Beaverton. The region has shown a moderate increase in price from 2017 to 2018.
RIDEAU LAKES REGION, ON
Located just outside Canada’s capital city, the Rideau Lakes region offers recreational property buyers a convenient, year-round escape from urban living. From fishing and boating in the summer to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, the Rideau Lakes Region provides a variety of options for nature lovers of all ages.
Buyers in the Rideau Lakes Region also have access to the Rideau Canal, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province of Ontario. Increase in private investment into accommodations, restaurants, and leisure activities, has greatly expanded the entertainment value in the area for people purchasing recreational properties in the area. Young buyers will become more active in the next few years as we more are taking equity from their home and placing it in a recreational property. Growth in this region is expected in the next 5 – 10 years because of this.
While waterfront properties have seen a dip in prices compared to last year, prices for water access and non-waterfront homes have increased significantly, by as high as 38%. The dip in waterfront prices has been due to the active market that ensured more sales of lower priced waterfront properties compared to higher prices sales.
Located in Eastern New Brunswick, Shediac is known as the lobster capital of the world due to the lobster fishing, processing plants and famous Lobster Festival hosted each year in the region. Recreational property buyers are drawn to Shediac for the diverse range of activities available, including golf, boating, climbing, the historic and cultural sites and beautiful Parlee Beach, ranked as one of the best beaches in Canada for its warm waters and golden sand.
Shediac attracts buyers from all over the country, and even some from other countries. Prices are expected to increase with low inventory and high demand for waterfront properties. Retirees are mainly driving demand in Shediac, as not a lot of young buyers choose to capitalize on high-value principal residences.
The region has shown a moderate increase in prices from 2017 to 2018.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Primarily a summer destination, Prince Edward Island is popular with visitors and recreational property buyers who love to swim, boat, bike and golf in the warmer months of the year. Famous as the home to Anne of Green Gables, the island is also known for its red sand beaches on its south shore, small town lifestyle, restaurants featuring local seafood, excellent golf courses and cultural festivals and events.
Many recreational buyers tend to be from outside of the province and are seeking a quiet place to live during the summer months. The local recreational property buyers are young families looking to create a lifestyle for their family, as well as retirees “coming back home” after a career elsewhere. Many will rent the cottage property out to offset the added cost of a 2nd property, or they are buying a home that has proximity to the beaches. Prices compared to last year have shown small growth.
NEWFOUNDLAND EAST COAST
The eastern part of Newfoundland and Labrador includes the capital city, St. John’s, City of Mount Pearl and smaller towns such as Conception Bay South, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, among others. The East Coast area stretches from John Cabot’s historical 1497 landing place on the Bonavista Peninsula to the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, a short ferry ride away. Scenic driving routes and hiking trails, as well as parks such as the Salmonier Nature Park and the Avalon Wilderness Reserve draw hikers, campers and nature lovers to the region.
The most desirable cottages are those with pond frontage or an ocean view, located within an hour’s drive from urban centres such as St. John’s. Buyers are often looking for year-round cottages so they can enjoy activities such as skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, and hunting, hiking and camping in the spring and summer.
Younger families are driving demand, as this demographic gains equity in their principal residences, obtaining a recreational property becomes more attainable to them. With this, the recreational property market in the Eastern part of Newfoundland is expected to grow in the next 5-10 years. Both waterfront and non-waterfront properties have seen a dip in median price in 2018 compared to 2017. This is due to some unusually high priced properties that sold between July 2016 and June 2017.
CAPE BRETON, NS
Cape Breton Island, located on the North-eastern tip of Nova Scotia, is a popular vacation destination for Canadians and international visitors. Recreational property buyers are drawn to the island’s beautiful and varied landscape, featuring sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, mountains and rolling farmland. Already well-known for its golf courses, Cape Breton is quickly becoming a world-famous destination for the sport. A new golf course in Inverness is developing a landing strip and hotels and increasing the demand for recreational properties in the area. Inverness is the first beach in Cape Breton to be wheel chair accessible.
It is very common in Cape Breton for residents to have a career elsewhere and come back to the island for retirement. Many buyers in recent years have been coming from Ontario. In this region, proximity to medical services is often important for buyers, as retirees are dominating the market overall. It is expected that Cape Breton won’t see many young buyers as the younger generations aren’t interested in the amount of maintenance that comes with a recreational property and instead will enjoy their parent’s recreational properties.