Opportunities for investors in recreational markets revealed

These are some of the best bets for investors looking to cash in on recreational markets.

The majority of Canada’s recreational property markets enjoyed year-over-year price and sales volume increases, according to Royal LePage’s Canadian Recreational Housing Report. And there are still hot spots that are home to good investment opportunities.

“You look at Ontario as an example. It’s a very different perspective as an investor than as a primary purchaser for personal use, but Ontario, Muskoka, is sort of the one everyone knows. But it’s also the most expensive and probably the least poised to show significant returns,” Kevin Somers, COO, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Limited, told CREW. "There are a lot of other markets: The Kawarthas, the Georgian Triangle, Collingwood, Honey Harbour -- they’re all more reasonably priced and within that magic 2-4 hour drive time from Toronto proper that I would expect would be better targets for faster appreciation.”

Somers said markets outside the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver Area are especially enticing to current homeowners who have benefited from those hot markets and can utilize equity transfer for recreational properties.

BC also has some fairly affordable options for recreational properties, according to Somers.

“As an example you look at the Sunshine Coast where the recreational properties are still relatively affordable and only a 40-45 minute ferry ride from the North Shore,” he said. “Beautiful territory, increasingly upgraded infrastructure and service provisions on the coast. I think that, as an example, is an ideal target where the current price point, while appreciating, are still quite reasonable.”

The report, which compiles information from Canada’s recreational property specialists, found 63% of participants said prices jumped year-over-year in May.

Over that same time period, 58% said sales volumes increased year-over-year; 54% noted drops in inventory levels, which has put price pressure on areas in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

The aggregate price for recreational properties in Canada was $439,000 but prices varied widely from province to province.

Alberta had the highest aggregate price ($816,700), followed by British Columbia ($595,100), Ontario ($413,000), Quebec ($318,700), Saskatchewan ($297,200), Nova Scotia ($260,700), Manitoba ($238,600), PEI ($225,500), Newfoundland ($191,700), and New Brunswick ($179,500).

Alberta’s prices were perhaps the most surprising, according to Somers.

“The response that solicited the most raised eyebrows was Alberta having the highest aggregate value for recreational properties,” he said. “That’s a function of the economy, thankfully, recovering there.

“The reality of the Alberta recreational market is there is just, relatively speaking, not a lot of product because there aren’t a lot of lakes and rivers with frontage property within that desired 2-4 hour commute to major centres. As a result, that’s driving prices up.”

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