What that Cabin Costs: Royal LePage Recreational Property Report

The annual Royal LePage Recreational Property Report is out, and here's a look at how much that dream getaway cottage costs in these areas around BC.
June 6, 2014

100 Mile House
Cranbrook, Kimberley
Gulf Islands
Rathtrevor Beach, Horne Lake
Sunshine Coast

Recreational property prices around BC

100 Mile House, South Cariboo

"There are still fantastic waterfront and non-waterfront opportunities for buyers and a decent selection of inventory available. It's a great time to buy," says Melvyn Grahn of Royal LePage 100 Mile House.

Compared to other popular recreational property locations, 100 Mile House is very affordable. A non-waterfront cottage with land access averages approximately $120,000 and waterfront properties with land access are priced, on average, at $250,000.

The typical buyer is a family with adults between 40 and 60 years old and teenage children. Affordability keeps the market open to the average income earner, versus just the affluent consumer.

Cranbrook and Kimberley, East Kootenay

Cranbrook has an abundance of lakes with stunning waterfront and in-land recreational properties.The inventory is lower in this category, so the activity in the recreational market is currently on the slower side.

On the other hand, due to the excellent snow conditions, decent prices and abundance of inventory, there has been a good amount of sales activity in the early market for ski hill condos in Kimberley.

Property prices in the area range widely, going anywhere from $90,000 for a quarter share of a ski hill condominium to $1.5 million for a fully developed, year-round lakefront home. Waterfront properties with water access in the area, average around $800,000, while waterfront properties with land access average $500,000. Non-waterfront, land-access cottages average at a more affordable $350,000.

The typical profile of a recreational property buyer in the East Kootenay area is a family, generally a married couple with young kids. "Because the prices are higher for some of the most attractive properties, families and friends sometimes invest together," says Philip Jones, broker/owner, Royal LePage East Kootenay.

Gulf Islands, Southwest BC

"We have a lot of properties for sale right now and prices are very attractive when compared to previous years," says Janet Moore of Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty, Ladysmith Branch. "This region has long been popular for buyers so it is unlikely that the softer prices will last long, as sales are already slightly up from last year."

The average home price on the islands varies depending on the type of property and its accessibility. On islands with daily ferry service, inland properties with cottages are averaging less than $300,000 while waterfront properties range from $400,000 to $1,000,000.

Small islands accessible by private boat or boat taxi service have inland properties starting at $100,000 with waterfront properties starting at $250,000.

The typical recreational property buyers in the Gulf Islands are people on either side of 50 years old who have older children. Moore notes that there has been a shift. "Before, purchasing recreational property was more for retirement or as a second residence, but now because prices are lower, buyers are looking to invest in waterfront properties which have been on the market for some time with the hopes of a good deal with the intention of enjoying for several years before reselling as the market gets stronger."

Kelowna, Okanagan

The market for recreational properties in Kelowna has begun to recover after a slight dip in the past few years. The activity for recreational condominiums has remained steady, with an abundance of inventory but consistent movement of properties. "Now is an especially phenomenal time to purchase lakefront properties in Kelowna," says Mark Walker, sales representative, Royal LePage Kelowna.

Recreational detached homes and cabins, however, are selling much quicker in the early market this year compared to last. Walker predicts that the prices of recreational detached homes will increase in the coming months due to the decreasing inventory levels.

Recreational properties in Kelowna vary in price depending on the proximity to Lake Okanagan. Non-waterfront properties average around $300,000 and waterfront homes (both land access and water access only) average $700,000.

Walker says the typical profile of a recreational property investor in the area is a married couple 35 to 55 years old with kids. The Okanagan is seeing more single-family investments versus multi-family or family and friends, which has changed compared to years past due to the affordability of the homes on the market right now.

Rathtrevor Beach and Horne Lake, Vancouver Island

"Now is a great time to buy a recreational property in either of the areas, as prices are currently down." says Lynn Martin, broker/ manager, Royal LePage Parksville - Qualicum Beach Realty.

Waterfront properties with water access only average at just $130,000 and lakefront properties with land access average $385,000. Alternatively, prospective buyers can invest in a timeshare for a non-waterfront condominium for $60,000.

While the activity level is about the same as last year, there are slightly fewer listings on the market, but buyers are still trickling in due to the attractiveness of the area. "Buyers in the area are generally baby boomers with grown children," says Martin. "They are mortgage free and have time to visit the area more often and want a holiday spot to share with their family. They are also generally people that have taken multiple vacations to the region for many years and now want someplace to call their own."

Sunshine Coast, Southwest BC

"In the last few years, sales have been pretty flat, but this year looks promising," says Gary Little of Royal LePage Sunshine Coast. "Unit sales were up in the early market, and we're confident this will continue, especially now that the weather has turned."

Home prices in the area vary quite a bit, depending on the property location and nearby amenities. Non-waterfront, land access homes have an average selling price of $300,000, and waterfront homes range from an average of $450,000 (water-only access) to $650,000 (land access).

In general, the profile of the average buyer is a married couple in their mid-40s with older children, and purchases are usually made by single families rather than groups of family or friends. Potential buyers can find everything from affordable water-accessible or inland cottages, to more luxurious oceanfront cottages.

Vernon, North Okanagan

Sandra Ross at Royal LePage Downtown Realty, says that demand for properties in the region has seen a year-over-year rise, while inventory has decreased.

Currently, the average price of a waterfront property with water access only is $400,000, while the average price of a standard inland cottage is $320,000. Waterfront cottages with land access are priced noticeably higher at an average of $900,000.

According to Ross, the most popular route for buyers in the region is fully renovated cottages requiring no major work, with fixer-uppers being cited as consumers' second choice. She notes that new builds are the third most popular, but are becoming a more common choice.

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