Town’s tax breaks draw investors

Owen Sound is emerging as a hotspot for retirees and American investors, according to one industry vet, following record numbers in home sales in the month of May and strong activity during the month of June.

“Activity has been increasing and we’re seeing a lot of people come to the Owen Sound area from the larger urban centres like Mississauga, Oakville and Guelph,” said Karen Cox, a broker of record with Sea & Sky Realty and president with the Realtors Association of Grey Bruce-Owen Sound.

“Waterfront sales have also been really strong in the recreational real estate market near Lake Eugenia, some selling in the million-dollar range.”

Cox adds that the month of June has been no different for Owen Sound as activity and sales continues to climb. Her comments follow a record month for home sales in May as the town recorded 297 units sold, up 11.2 per cent from May 2014.  It was the third-best May on record, according to stats from the Realtors Association of Grey Bruce-Owen Sound.

One way the city is drawing consumers is through the local government, which is offering tax rebates to developers who build on former industrial sites, which has drawn interest from some investors who have capitalized on the program, drawing more than $1-million since the program was implemented in 2010.

What's more, in a recent report from Royal LePage, low interest rates and a strong American dollar has fuelled interest despite the spring being a tough time for the recreational market due to weather. With summer in full swing, low oil prices continue to support Ontario markets and demand is on the rise.

“In a roundabout way, the fall in oil prices is supporting the recreational property market this year,” Phil Soper, president of the chief executive of Royal LePage. “Cheaper gasoline makes the prospect of a weekend commute to the lake a more affordable proposition.

“Cheap oil means a lower Canadian dollar, which has more people looking at Muskoka, Tremblant and the B.C. interior and fewer casting covetous glances at Florida and Arizona. We are even seeing money making its way north, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, as the strong U.S. currency has increased American buying power.”

Pick up a copy of CREW’s July/August issue, which highlights Canada’s more affordable, and cash-flowing, recreational markets. Alternatively, subscribe today.

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