Buyer’s market for recreation

According to Royal LePage’s Recreational Property Report, the majority of Canadians (89 per cent) surveyed believe that buying a vacation home is a good investment.

Meanwhile in Vernon, the majority of people buying into the recreational market are doing so more for personal pleasure than investment.

Located in the Okanagan Valley and surrounded by three lakes, hundreds of small fishing lakes, world reknowned golf courses and Silver Star Mountain Resort, there is no shortage of activity in Vernon. Surrounded by majestic beauty, the City of Vernon also provides all the amenities of a major city.

“When Vernon’s recreational property market was at its peak, it was due in large part to investment from wealthy Albertans,” said Riley Twyford, broker/owner, Royal LePage Downtown Realty in Vernon. “Currently, inventory and prices have leaned more towards a buyer’s market and there is opportunity for those looking to get good value.”

Inland properties in the Mara Lake, Silver Star Mountain Resort and Predator Ridge Resort areas range between $199,000 – $450,000, while waterfront properties are significantly higher with prices starting at $980,000.

“The majority of people buying into the recreational property market right now are doing so for personal use as opposed to an investment,” said Twyford. “The area has also seen a drastic demographic shift with more baby boomers and empty-nesters moving in.”

Although Vernon is still very much a buyer’s market, “prospective buyers need to do their homework and take into consideration the cost of ownership,” advises Twyford.

An overwhelming majority of Canadians who have either purchased or who intend to buy recreational property in the next 24 months believe that buying a vacation home is a good long-term investment, according to the nationwide survey of Canadian attitudes towards recreational property ownership commissioned by Royal LePage Real Estate Services and run on the Angus Reid Forum.

Overall, the survey found that 89 per cent of current owners and prospective buyers agree that recreational properties are a good long-term investment. Broken down by region, this included 92 per cent of respondents from Alberta, 91 per cent of Ontarians, 87 per cent of B.C. residents and 81 per cent of people surveyed in Quebec.

“Canadians’ confidence in recreational property values is mirroring what we have been seeing in Canada’s urban centres,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “This spring, the horror stories from some fundamentally flawed international housing markets that had dampened demand for cottage-type living during the recession era, are being shrugged off.  Canada’s traditionally buoyant recreational property market appears to have found its groove once more.”

Interestingly, a majority of respondents (57 per cent) said that the expectation of interest rates rising will not affect their desire to purchase a recreational property. Among this group, 55 per cent of respondents aged 35-54 (and 70 per cent of respondents aged 55+) said an expected rise in interest rates would not affect their desire to purchase a recreational property.

When it came to financial and lifestyle sacrifices to purchase a recreational property, more than a third polled (35 per cent) responded that they were most likely to reduce personal spending throughout the year. The two least favoured strategies were to drive as far as necessary and to make the recreational property a primary residence, both 13 per cent.

According to respondents from B.C., the most important features of a recreational property are four-season use and quiet (tied at 43 per cent) and proximity to amenities and rental potential (tied at 31 per cent).

Eighty-five per cent of respondents from B.C. either somewhat agree or strongly agree that a recreational property is a great way to bring family together (seven per cent below the national average of 92 per cent and lowest in the country).