Winter recreational property prices remain red hot during Canada's coldest months



    -Canadians are committed to their winter retreats despite rising prices-

    TORONTO, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - While sunshine states such as Florida and
Arizona have long enticed Canadians to purchase their winter retreats in
warmer-weathered American cities, the uncertainty clouding the U.S. housing
market has many Canadians favouring properties north of the border. In fact,
36 per cent of Canadians who own a winter recreational property or who are
considering purchasing one cite they are more inclined to buy a property in
Canada than in the U.S. because of the economic uncertainty plaguing our
southern neighbours, according to the 2008 Royal LePage Winter Recreational
Property Report released today.
    The 2008 Royal LePage Winter Recreational Property Report comprises a
nationwide research poll of Canadians' attitudes on the market (conducted by
Angus Reid) and an analysis of recreational property prices, trends and
activity in selected winter leisure markets across the country.

    Sky's the limit when it comes to buying mountainside

    For those looking to enjoy their own winter wonderland, Quebec, Ontario,
Alberta and British Columbia offer the greatest selection of recreational
areas, with real estate prices increasing from east to west. Strong demand
combined with limited mountain-based properties has prices ranging from
$180,000 to $850,000 in Quebec, $400,000 to $1 million in Collingwood, and
$450,000 to $2 million in British Columbia for a standard detached,
mountainside, three-bedroom chalet. A shortage of listings in areas of high
demand, such as Whistler and Fernie, has led to property prices appreciating
by as much as 10 and six per cent, respectively, in the past year.
    "High levels of demand combined with limited inventory have pressured
winter recreational property prices upward - a trend expected to continue well
into the future," said Lisa da Rocha, vice president, marketing
communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Local buyers and foreign
investors alike are taking advantage of Canada's iconic snowy winters, and
realizing winter recreational properties are a sound long-term investment."

    
               Winter Recreational Property Price Range Summary
                             and Comparison Chart

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Region          Winter Rec Property     Winter Rec Property     Standard
                        Price Range -           Price Range -       2-Storey
                      Standard Chalet         Standard Chalet         House
                       Mountain Base          30 Minutes from        Average
                                                 Mountain             Price
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quebec         $180,000 - $850,000      $200,000 - $350,000     $342,491
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Collingwood  $405,000 - $1,000,000      $325,000 - $350,000     $406,700
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canmore               N/A               $660,000 - $725,000     $415,906
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    British
     Columbia    $450,000 - $2,000,000   $180,000 - $10,000,000     $675,500
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow - or not

    While snowfall levels in North America have decreased over the past few
decades; when asked, "Are you less likely to purchase a winter recreational
property if a reduced level of snowfall continues?" 66 per cent of Canadians
who own a recreational property or are considering purchasing one are clearly
committed to the cold climate and answered that regardless of snow, a winter
recreational property would still be their winter retreat.

    Not so little cabin in the woods

    While everyone's idea of a winter retreat may differ, there are a variety
of property types available across Canada from rustic chalets to grand lodges
to maintenance-free condominiums to satisfy every need. Canadians list their
top three features as a traditional chalet structure with a rustic charm,
extra rooms for guests and grand fireplaces.
    Buyers in areas including Whistler, Vernon and Big White, are demanding
luxury properties with features including granite countertops, heated floors
and stainless steel appliances.

    
            ---------------------------------------------------
             TOP SEVEN WINTER RECREATIONAL PROPERTY FEATURES(*)
            ---------------------------------------------------
             Rank       Winter Recreational Property Features
            ---------------------------------------------------
              1        Traditional Structure with Rustic Charm
            ---------------------------------------------------
              2               Extra Bedrooms for Guests
            ---------------------------------------------------
              3                    Grand Fireplaces
            ---------------------------------------------------
              4               A Large, Open Great Room
            ---------------------------------------------------
              5                    Outdoor Hot Tub
            ---------------------------------------------------
              6              Office with Internet Access
            ---------------------------------------------------
              7                 Professional Kitchen
            ---------------------------------------------------
            (*)Among Canadians who own or are in market to buy

    Added da Rocha: "Now more than ever, Canadians are placing greater
emphasis on their living spaces. We are seeing huge demand for chalets to be
outfitted with the highest grade of granite and marble, exotic wood flooring
and other high-end features. Real estate is as much about style and comfort as
it is bricks and mortar."

    Additional report findings:

        -  More than four-in-ten (43%) respondents find the idea of owning a
           condo over a chalet attractive. Canadians aged 55 + (46%) find
           condos more appealing than standard chalets compared to those 35-
           54 years (38%), presumably for their maintenance-free lifestyle.
           However, in some markets such as Collingwood, there is an
           increased pressure on detached residences, versus the
           traditionally popular condominium.

        -  Eight per cent of Canadians own a winter recreational property or
           are considering purchasing one in the next three to five years,
           with residents of British Columbia representing the largest
           purchaser population (13%) and Atlantic residents making up the
           smallest (4%). Quebec and Ontario residents comprise nine per cent
           and seven per cent of winter recreational owners and future
           buyers, respectively.

        -  Winter recreational markets including Mont Tremblant, Canmore,
           Whistler and Fernie are increasingly attracting European buyers.
    

    Poll Methodology

    Angus Reid Strategies conducted the survey portion of the Royal LePage
Winter Recreational Property Report from January 24-25, 2008. The poll was
conducted on-line with a randomly-selected, representative sample of
1,455 Canadians survey respondents aged 18 year and older. The results have a
maximum margin of error +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20. The results among
Canadians who own, or are considering a purchase of, a winter recreational
property are based on a representative sub-sample of 130 respondents, with an
associated margin of error of +/-8.6%, 19 times out of 20. The results have
been statistically weighted according to Statistics Canada's most current age,
gender and region Census data.

    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 agents and
sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada operating under the Royal
LePage, Johnston and Daniel, and Realty World brand names. Brookfield Real
Estate Services Fund, a TSX listed income trust, trading under the symbol
"BRE.UN", manages Royal LePage.
    For more information visit www.royallepage.ca.





For further information:

For further information: or to schedule a spokesperson interview, please
contact: Tiffany Fisher, Mansfield Communications Inc., Phone: (416) 599-0024
x222, Or e-mail: tiffany@mcipr.com


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