Why cheaper isn’t always better for property investors

By John Tenpenny

The acquisition costs for vacation properties don’t come any higher than in Canada’s ritziest cottage country, but refurbishment of an historic resort is making the case for investors looking to buy.

For those investors undecided about Muskoka, the announcement that one of the area’s most iconic resorts is set to be reinvigorated by a multimillion-dollar investment, may be just the thing that pushes them to take another look at the expensive region instead of  spending 30%-60% less for properties farther away from the GTA.

Skyline International announced Thursday that Deerhurst Resort will receive $10 million in upgrades over the next two years, with funds targeting all Skyline-owned guest rooms, bathrooms, and shared amenity spaces. The resort’s most popular features, including the Maple Pub and patio, the Compass Lobby Bar, Legacy Hall, and lakeside waterfront and Splash Zone, will all receive significant upgrades – the kind expected to reinvigorate Muskoka as the vacation destination for Torontonians.
 
Still, the idea of paying more for a vacation investment property in order to win greater price appreciation and capital gains has been challenged by the growing interest in cheaper regions an additional hour or more from Toronto. Appreciation there is much slower and rents come in at a fraction of what Muskoka cottages fetch.

A resort credited with giving Shania Twain her big break may sway investors.

“Deerhurst is an iconic brand that has been around for over 100 years and will be around for the next 100 years,” said Skyline International CEO Michael Sneyd. “We understand what this brand means to Muskoka and we want to raise people’s expectations of what a visit to Deerhurst can entail.”

The $10 million investment is a result of feedback from Muskoka client groups, added Sneyd. “We have been working on this for a while.”

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