Canada real estate: prices of recreational properties rise as pandemic-era buyers bug out to the country

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      Royal LePage reports soaring demand for recreational properties in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      With the ability to work at home, buyers are turning to rural areas to live, according to the real-estate company.

      And this has driven up prices.

      “On lake and on sea, upon soaring mountain tops and on expansive farmlands, many Canadians are embracing a bold, new work-from-home doctrine: 'I can live anywhere in this huge land',” Royal LePage president and CEP Phil Soper said in a media release.

      The company’s release Monday (November 30) stated that demand for recreational properties increased during the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

      This was influenced by people’s ability to “work remotely”.

      According to Royal LePage, the aggregate price of a single-family home in Canada's recreational market increased 11.5 percent to $453,046.

      Meanwhile, the aggregate price of a condominium in these recreational parkets rose 9.7 percent to $280,830.

      Moreover, the aggregate price of a waterfront property increased 13.5 per cent to $498,111.

      Royal LePage uses a weighted model to come up with an aggregate price.

      “The pandemic has effected enormous economic and health challenges upon the nation; it has also opened a world of possibility for thousands of Canadians,” Soper said.

      Soper noted that there has been a “new wave of pandemic-era buyers”.

      Royal LePage also noted that recreational property markets likewise “saw an uptick in retiree buyers”.

      While retirees are historically a significant buyer of recreational properties, the pandemic has “spurred demand as retirees advance their plans to improve their quality of life by moving to cottage country”.

      Royal LePage forecasts that the price of a recreational property in 2021 will increase 8 percent year-over-year.    

      Last July, the Straight interviewed Richard Osborne, cofounder and president of LandQuest Realty Corporation, a New Westminster, B.C.-based company that specializes in rural properties.

      According to Osborne, people are looking for properties outside urban areas because of uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.

      “I’ve heard people say that. I’ve also heard people say that…having the cash in the bank is not a good idea in times like this, or in times of, you know, looking towards future recessions, depressions, hyperinflation, whatever is coming,” Osborne told the Straight by phone.

      “I mean, people are worried,” Osborned continued. “It’s crazy, and there’s so much uncertainty. But they want a place to go.”