Cottages are getting more expensive amid affordability squeeze in cities: survey

The median price of a recreational property in Canada increased by seven per cent year-over-year as strong economic conditions and pricey urban markets push buyers outside cities.

That’s according to a Re/Max survey of brokers and agents across the country looking at sales of recreational properties, which includes waterfront, non-waterfront, water access and ski-in homes.

The survey, released this week, found that 74 per cent of the regions surveyed saw a year-over-year increase in the price of recreational properties. British Columbia and Ontario led the way posting the most significant increases, with the median price of recreational properties jumping eight per cent in both provinces.

“Activity is being driven by strong employment and economic conditions, but it’s also being influenced by millennial buyers who find themselves squeezed out of the less affordable urban market,” Christopher Alexander, Re/Max’s vice president of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, said in a statement.

At the same time, economic conditions in the Prairies have been weighing on the region, leading to a three per cent decline in the recreational property market. North Battleford and Meadow Lake, Sask. saw prices drop 10 per cent, while Teulon and Interlake, Man. saw an 11 per cent decline.

“There is little doubt that economic factors in the Prairies have affected demand in the recreational market,” Re/Max’s western Canada regional vice president Elton Ash said in a statement.

“At the same time, B.C.’s economy is still going strong and has experienced an increased interest in its recreational market in recent times.”

Tofino and North Okanagan are the most expensive cottage markets in not only B.C., but the entire country, according to Re/Max. In Tofino, the median price of a waterfront property jumped 80 per cent to $2.52 million, while the North Okanagan market saw waterfront property prices increase by 19 per cent to $1.54 million.

In Ontario, the Muskoka region saw prices of waterfront properties fall 18 per cent from $1.43 million last year to $1.12 million, thanks in part to an increase in inventory in 2019. Cottagers from Muskoka also appear to be flocking to nearby Haliburton, where the price of a waterfront property jumped 29 per cent to $550,000.

The most expensive region in the Prairies is Canmore, Alta., which reported a median price for a cottage of $618,000, an increase of six per cent when compared to last year.

Atlantic Canada also saw recreational property prices increase by an average of seven per cent over the year, but are still well below those in B.C. and Ontario. A waterfront cottage in Prince Edward County will set you back $177,500 (an increase of 21 per cent from last year), while a similar property in Cape Breton would cost $214,410 (a decline of six per cent from last year.)

A separate Re/Max survey, released in June, found that a majority of millennials are on the hunt for a recreational property, an increase of 14 per cent from a year earlier.

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