Canadians still aspire to own recreational property: Dream alive as summer arrives



    
    - Recreational properties still considered a safe long-term investment
     and provide the ultimate Canadian family 'staycation' poll shows -
    

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - Despite the economic downturn, many Canadians
are still dreaming of owning a recreational property, both as a long-term
investment and to enjoy with family and friends. Canadians are willing to make
sacrifices to own a cottage, and more want to use their cottage, cabin or
chalet year-round as a recreational property and, for some, as their primary
residence, according to the 2009 Royal LePage Recreational Property Report
released today.
    The 2009 Royal LePage Recreational Property Report comprises a nationwide
survey of Canadian attitudes towards recreational property(*) ownership, coupled
with a market analysis of recreational property prices, trends and activity in
selected leisure markets across the country.
    "The survey showed the dream of owning a get-away property on the water
to escape the pressures of city life and to relax with family and friends, is
still alive and well across the country," said Phil Soper, President and Chief
Executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Beyond the obvious lifestyle
benefits however, our research demonstrates Canadians see recreational
property as a smart and safe long term investment."
    The survey found that 64 per cent of Canadians view cottage ownership as
a sound investment. To pursue their dream of buying a recreational property,
55 per cent of Canadians would be willing to make compromises with regards to
their financial or lifestyle choices, such as purchasing a property with
family and friends, renting out their cottage, making a cottage their primary
residence, buying a fixer-upper, or moving into a smaller principal home in
the city.
    Added Soper, "An interesting trend is emerging that we believe is a
direct response to the increasing size and congestion of our cities,
accelerated by the recession. More and more Canadians have a desire to escape
the urban jungle and use their recreational properties year-round. To save
money, a majority told us that if they owned a cottage, they would be happy to
call it their new vacation destination. It appears that many view owning a
recreational property as the ultimate, no-hassle 'staycation' and one that
presents an opportunity to invest while they enjoy."
    "While Canadians build their own personal equity through cottage
ownership, they also contribute to the economy of the small leisure
communities they vacation in by shopping at the local stores and through
activities such as boating and golfing," continued Soper.
    Following a reduction in sales in the latter half of 2008 and over the
winter, the recreational market is now showing signs of renewed interest and
increased activity. Consumer concern about the recession and increasing
inventories have eased demand and helped alleviate the chronic supply shortage
that has characterized the recreational real estate market in recent years.
Improved affordability is keeping many markets busy. So far this year the
busiest areas have been those offering more modestly priced or entry-level
properties, such as the Kawarthas in Ontario.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   2009 Recreational Property Price Summary
                     Average Price Range by Province(xx)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Standard Waterfront, Land Access Cottage
                   1,000 sq feet, 3 bedrooms, 100 foot lot
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PROVINCE                                        AVERAGE PRICE RANGE 2009
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prince Edward Island                               $100,000 - $500,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nova Scotia                                         $60,000 - $470,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Newfoundland                                             $80,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New Brunswick                                       $90,000 - $110,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quebec                                             $400,000 - $500,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ontario                                            $430,000 - $750,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Manitoba                                           $250,000 - $360,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatchewan                                            $300,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alberta                                            $400,000 - $460,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    British Columbia                                   $530,000 - $880,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NATIONAL AVERAGE                                   $370,000 - $600,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Given their choice, 68 per cent of Canadians would purchase a
recreational property on a lake, far and away the most popular choice.
According to the 2009 survey, 89 per cent of Canadians think a cottage or
cabin is a great place for family to gather, and 86 per cent think it is a
great way to get out of the city for recreation and relaxation.
    Canadians believe that the three most important features of a
recreational property are peace and quiet (58 per cent), access to
utilities(xxx) (50 per cent) and four-season use (39 per cent). These factors
are consistently rated among the top three across all regions. Other highly
rated features include access to boating and fishing (23 per cent), proximity
to amenities (18 per cent), ecologically friendly or "green" sites (17 per
cent) and year-round activities (16 per cent). Rounding out the top 10
features Canadians desire were sunset vistas, docks, and deep water, at 16 per
cent, 15 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

    ADDITIONAL POLL FINDINGS BY REGION

    Atlantic Canada

    The Canadian dream of owning a cottage is alive and well in Atlantic
Canada, where 91 per cent of residents think the cottage is a great place for
family to gather, and 88 per cent consider a cottage or "cabin" a great way to
get out of the city. Eighty four per cent would choose to buy a cottage on a
lake, and cottage ownership would make 57 per cent of Atlantic Canadians less
likely to vacation elsewhere.
    Consistent with the national average, 63 per cent of Atlantic Canadians
believe a cottage, chalet or cabin is a good long term investment, 49 per cent
believe owning a recreational property provides a good financial return on
investment. Seventeen per cent would purchase a fixer upper, 13 per cent would
make a cottage their primary residence, and 10 per cent would rent out their
cottage or property during the year.
    Atlantic Canadians rank peace and quiet (56 per cent), access to
utilities (55 per cent) and four-season use (41 per cent) as the three most
important features for a cottage or property. Twenty-eight per cent ranked
proximity to amenities as a top priority, the highest score in the country.
Year-round activities, access to boating and fishing, and having a dock are
also important.

    Québec

    Québec buyers are mainly looking for quality of life, but return on
investment also weighs significantly in their decisions. The majority (86 per
cent) consider cottages to be a great way to get out of the city and 73 per
cent would choose to buy a cottage on a lake. Slightly more than half (51 per
cent) believe that owning a recreational property makes them unlikely to take
vacations elsewhere.
    More than half of Québecers are willing to make financial or lifestyle
compromises to own a recreational property, including purchasing with family
and friends (18 per cent), making a cottage their primary residence (15 per
cent), and renting out their cottage (12 per cent). Fifty-five per cent
believe a cottage is a good long-term investment.
    The three most important features ranked by recreational property buyers
in Québec are quiet areas (69 per cent), four-season use (48 per cent), and
utilities (36 per cent). Québec buyers also ranked as the most eco-friendly.
Thirty-one per cent are looking for green features, which is the highest among
all other provinces.

    Ontario

    Ontario residents continue to love the cottage for quiet summer retreats
by the lake with family and friends, but they are also trending toward more
all-season and year-round use. Nine out of ten Ontarians agree that a cottage
is a great place for family to gather, and 89 per cent cherish their cottage
as a great way to escape the pressures of city life. Two-thirds would choose
to buy a cottage on a lake, and owning a cottage would make 54 per cent of
Ontarians content to take their vacation at the cottage this year.
    More than two-thirds of Ontarians (68 per cent) think a cottage is a good
investment. More than half are willing to make financial or lifestyle changes
to own a recreational property, including making a cottage their primary
residence (17 per cent), renting out their cottage (15 per cent) and
purchasing with family and friends (13 per cent). Along with Albertans,
Ontarians are more willing than other Canadians to drive as far as necessary
to enjoy cottage life. Seven per cent of Ontarians say they are most likely to
purchase a mobile home, the highest among all provinces.

    The Prairies

    More so than in any other region, 96 per cent of Canadians living in
Manitoba and Saskatchewan feel that a cottage is a great place for family to
gather. Seventy-three per cent believe recreational property is a good
long-term investment.
    Fifty per cent said a cottage on a lake would be their first choice, but
a remarkable 22 per cent said that they would choose to buy a timeshare, which
is more than five times the national average. Fourteen per cent said they
would be willing to rent out a cottage or property during the year in order to
make cottage ownership possible.
    For Prairie dwellers, the three most important features of a cottage or
recreational property are access to utilities (65 per cent, the highest in the
country), quiet (48 per cent) and four-season use (45 per cent). Sunset vistas
(26 per cent), boating and fishing (24 per cent) and eco-friendly sites (19
per cent) also rank high.

    Alberta

    In Alberta, 69 per cent of residents agree that a cottage is a good
long-term investment. At 62 per cent, Albertans are among the most willing in
the country to make changes to their finances or lifestyle in order to own a
cottage. One in five Albertans would purchase a fixer upper, the highest score
in the country, and 15 per cent would purchase a property with friends or
family members.
    For Albertans, the three most important features of a cottage or
recreational property are access to utilities (60 per cent), peace and quiet
(51 per cent) and four-season use (33 per cent). Access to boating and fishing
(28 per cent) and proximity to amenities (22 per cent) also ranked high for
Albertans. Sixty per cent said a cottage on a lake would be their first
choice, but 11 per cent would choose a resort condominium and another 11 per
cent would choose a property in the woods, both significantly higher than the
national average.

    British Columbia

    In British Columbia, 59 per cent of residents agree that a cottage is a
good long-term investment, 43 per cent believe a recreational property
provides a good financial return on investment. Sixty-three per cent said they
would be most likely to purchase a cottage on a lake.
    Along with Albertans, British Columbians, at 62 per cent, are the most
willing Canadians to make financial or lifestyle changes in order to buy a
recreational property. One in five (22 per cent) would purchase with friends
or family members, the highest rating in the country, 13 per cent would rent
out during the year, and 11 per cent would move into a smaller, more
affordable residence.
    Like other Canadians, 87 per cent of BC residents think a cottage is a
great place for family to gather, and they ranked peace and quiet (56 per
cent), access to utilities (48 per cent) and four-season use (37 per cent) as
the three most important features for a cottage or property. One in five (20
per cent) ranked an eco-friendly site as a priority, second highest after
Québec. Year-round activities, proximity to amenities and access to boating
and fishing also rank high.

    Methodology

    The following top-line summary presents the results for the 2009
Recreational Property Study conducted for Royal LePage Residential Real Estate
Services. The survey portion of the Royal LePage Recreational Property Study
was conducted online by Pollara from May 14 to May 19, 2009 among a randomly
selected sample of 1,000 adult Canadians. An unweighted probability sample of
this size with a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of
+/- 3.1 %, 19 times out of 20. The data was statistically weighted to ensure
the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects the actual Canadian
population according to the most recent Census data.

    
    (*)   Standard cottage or recreational property - three bedrooms, 1,000
          square feet on a 100 foot lot.
    (xx)  Royal LePage, averages are based on the examination of select
          recreational areas in each province.
    (xxx) Utilities include electricity, sewage and plumbing.
    

    About Royal LePage

    Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to
residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 13,000 brokers and
sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is managed
by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that
includes Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, and La Capitale Real Estate
Network. An affiliated company, Brookfield Real Estate Services Fund, is a TSX
listed income trust, trading under the symbol "BRE.UN."
    For more information visit www.royallepage.ca





For further information:

For further information: or a copy of the Royal LePage Recreational
Property Report - Summer 2009, please contact: Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public
Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services,
(416) 510-5783; Melissa Cassar, Vice President, Fleishman-Hillard Canada,
(416) 645-3647


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