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Diamond In the Rough – Affordable Luxury in Nova Scotia

by Clayton Jarvis on 13 Dec 2017
Not all Canadian investors have dreams of cashing out and buying an overpriced condo in Phoenix. Some prefer the comforts of home: the familiar culture, the political stability and the relative ease with which a family get-together can be arranged when no international flights are involved. But the desire to turn hard-won real estate earnings into something special is a strong one, and investors can sometimes be hard-pressed to find a suitably impressive reward property that justifies its price tag.

Those investors, freed from cap rate concerns and cash flow considerations but still looking for a property that can be rented out when not in use – or eventually sold for a decent return – probably haven’t considered Nova Scotia’s ruggedly lovely north shore, home to one of Canada’s most unique luxury opportunities, Fox Harb’r.
Those aware of Fox Harb’r know it as Nova Scotia’s premier golf resort, where debates over what’s more exquisite – the course, the food, the spa or the white glove service – provide the only opportunities for tension. But Fox Harb’r’s selection of townhouses and single-family homes provides an enticing option for investors familiar with what $1 million currently gets you in Toronto or Vancouver.

“The homes themselves offer tremendous value,” says Eric Lum, manager of real estate sales at Fox Harb’r. “The quality of the workmanship, how big they are, how nicely finished they are  -- including all the furniture, fixtures, right down to the linens and cutlery and the price point – we can’t build them for what we’re selling them for.”

Townhouses at Fox Harb’r, which provide just under 4,200 square feet of luxurious space, sell for between $539,000 and $685,000. The single family homes on offer when CREW visited the resort in August ranged between $788,000 and $1.6 million. All purchases include a lifetime membership to the resort.

Enterprising investors can also purchase lots, ranging between $195,000 and $385,000, on which to build their dream homes. “Those are about a half-acre to three-quarters of an acre, next to the runway or right next to the golf course,” Lum says. “So there’s really everything in between.” To address the growing demand for single-level product, Fox Harb’r unveiled Marina Landing, a new collection of charming smaller homes overlooking the Northumberland Strait, in September.

Investors hoping to generate income from their properties will be in luck. Whereas an $800,000 cottage in Muskoka might bring in $3,000 a week during peak season, the homes at Fox Harb’r often rent for $1,000 a night, with some of the larger units renting for up to $2,500 nightly.

“A lot of the time, the townhouses are sold out and we have to put people into the single family homes,” Lum says. “It gets quite busy out here. There are some weekends where I can’t even hold an open house because I don’t have access to one of the town homes.”

Lum says the vision for Fox Harb’r over the next 15 years is to provide high-density condo-style living in the form of over 250 residences while continuing to enhance the resort’s already unrivaled level of service. It’s a strategy geared toward the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population, those aged 65 and up, and one certain to generate a significant amount of demand.

A rendering of the 4-bedroom units at Fox Harb’r’s Marina Landing project

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