Young professionals likely to take advantage of stabilizing cottage market

    - Survey finds cottages are the preferred long-term investment, compared
    to stocks and bonds -

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - Echoing the trend observed in Canadian cities
this year, the country's recreational property market is returning to a more
normal state, with price increases moderating when compared to the frenetic
pace experienced in 2007. In almost all of the nation's summer hotspots,
prices have continued to rise in 2008, but at a considerably slower rate than
in the previous year. This moderating trend bodes well for cottage seekers -
particularly the young professionals who make up the single largest group of
those planning or considering a cottage purchase (19%), according to the 2008
Royal LePage Recreational Property Report released today.
    The 2008 Royal LePage Recreational Property Report comprises a nationwide
research poll of Canadian cottage owner and buyer attitudes and actions, and
an extensive 53-market analysis of recreational property prices, trends and
activity in selected leisure markets across the country.
    The survey showed that Canadians overwhelmingly see the benefit of owning
real estate - be it a primary residence or a cottage; the survey found that
nearly two-thirds (61%) of cottage owners and those who plan on buying a
recreational property feel that buying a cottage is a better long-term
investment than buying stocks, bonds or mutual funds. In fact, the survey
revealed that 15 per cent of recreational property owners own more than one
recreational property.
    "Mirroring the trend we are seeing in urban real estate markets,
recreational property prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than in
recent years," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage Real Estate
Services. "Improving supply has helped temper price increases this year, which
will have a disproportionately favourable impact on cottage seekers when
compared to their city counterparts. The Canadian recreational property market
has been notoriously short of supply for several years."
    Added Soper: "The fact that an increasing number of young people are
joining more mature adults in the quest for a recreational retreat comes as no
surprise; today's young adults are increasingly savvy when it comes to
investments. The average age of first-time homeowners continues to drop. It's
only natural for this trend to spill over into the cottage market."
    Despite moderating prices, huge disparities continue to book end the
country's most expensive and most affordable properties. Recreational
playgrounds that are frequented by Hollywood celebrities and Canada's elite,
such as Kelowna's Okanagan Valley, The Muskokas, and Nova Scotia's South
Shore, boast properties that command price tags upwards of $1.5 million. For
the more modest shopper, affordable abodes in areas including Parry Sound and
Sudbury can be acquired for approximately $300,000. Hidden gems for under
$100,000 can be found in Kingston and Haliburtan Highlands in Ontario, and
throughout much of Atlantic Canada - however, at this price point; it will be
rare for these properties to have water access.
    A little more than half (54%) of cottage-craving Canucks, who are likely
to buy or are planning to buy a recreational property, have budgeted to spend
between $50,000 and $300,000. Some very modest will-be buyers will have to do
a lot of searching to find their wilderness retreat, as 33 per cent of these
respondents said they were looking to spend less than $50,000.

    Putting the brakes on heading to cottage country?

    The lure of the great outdoors and promise of rest and relaxation
continue to trump rising gas prices, increased traffic congestion, and a
changing real estate climate, as the number of Canadian cottage owners has
remained steady over the past three years, at nine per cent.
    However, reason (and a need to mind the bank account) is likely to
outweigh passion this summer, as 19 per cent of cottage owners stated they
would consider selling their properties if gas prices continue to rise; an
increase of seven per cent since last summer. The poll also revealed that
33 per cent of recreational property owners said that the rising gas prices
would impact the number of trips they take to the cottage this summer. On the
flip side, local cottage rentals could see a spike in activity this summer, as
rising fuel prices keep some families from flying to their summer vacation

    Summer lovin' replaced with summer siestas

    It seems that the blazing weekend warrior has finally simmered down. Once
known for their boundless levels of energy come Friday at 5 PM, a startling
truth has now come to light: once at the cottage, their fire seems to flicker
out. When it comes to activities at the cottage, a dramatic 45 per cent of
cottage owners would rather catch up on sleep, than have a 'romantic liaison'
with their partner.
    Given most people's hectic social schedules in the city and busy work
demands, it's little surprise that catching up on sleep at the cottage is
placed at a premium; for some cottage-goers, R&R will be hard to come by, as
16 per cent of respondents won't be able to escape the rat race, claiming they
will continue to work from the cottage.

                           ADDITIONAL POLL FINDINGS

    -   When asked, "How do you plan to unplug yourself from the wired work
        world while enjoying your recreational property," the top two
        responses included: there won't be Internet access at the cottage
        (24%) and I won't take my Blackberry or cell to the cottage (17%).

    -   Among cottage owners, and those who plan to buy a cottage,
        11 per cent spent or will spend more on their vacation property, than
        on their primary residence; 35 per cent plan to spend between $50,000
        and $150,000.

    -   While there are an infinite number of elements that make a
        recreational property special, Canadians list the top three most
        important features to be a pristine waterfront, four-season
        capability, and low maintenance properties.

    Rank            Top 10 Most Important Recreational Property Features(*)
    No.1      Pristine waterfront
    No.2      Four-season capability
    No.3      Low maintenance
    No.4      Proximity to primary residence
    No.5      Surrounding amenities (restaurants, stores, etc)
    No.6      Number of bedrooms
    No.7      Large kitchen
    No.8      High-end amenities
    No.9      Great room
    No.10     Wine cellar
    (*) Reported by Canadians who currently own or are planning to purchase a
        recreational property

                   2008 Recreational Property Price Summary
                     Average Price Range by Province(*)
                   Standard Waterfront, Land Access Cottage
              PROVINCE                  AVERAGE PRICE RANGE 2008
              Prince Edward Island         $80,000 - $350,000
              Nova Scotia                  $49,000 - $315,000
              Newfoundland                 $81,000 - $112,000
              New Brunswick               $112,000 - $192,250
              Quebec                      $400,000 - $500,000
              Ontario                    $300,000 - $1,625,500
              Manitoba                    $325,000 - $580,000
              Saskatchewan                     $300,000
              Alberta                         $1,300,000
              British Columbia           $561,700 - $1,572,900
              NATIONAL AVERAGE           $326,567 - $1,066,389
       Source: Royal LePage, averages are based on the examination of
                 select recreational areas in each province.


    The following top-line summary presents the results for the 2008
Recreational Property Study conducted for Royal LePage Residential Real Estate
Services. The survey was conducted by Acrobat Research Inc. Fourteen
proprietary questions were included over two waves of Omnitel, the national
Canadian omnibus of Acrobat Research Inc. In total, 3,000 Canadians were
interviewed over two waves of Omnitel and fieldwork was completed on June 9,
2008. All interviews were conducted among a random representative sample of
adult Canadians. More specifically, the research focused on those who
currently own, are likely or are planning to purchase or would consider
purchasing a recreational property. Due to the highly specific audience the
actual number of respondents that qualified for this wave of the 2008
Recreational Property Study was 574. With a sample of this size, results can
be considered accurate to within +/- 4.09%, 19 times out of 20.

    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. Royal LePage is managed
by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that
includes Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, Realty World and La Capitale. An
affiliated company, Brookfield Real Estate Services Fund, is a TSX listed
income trust, trading under the symbol "BRE.UN."
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For further information:

For further information: For the regional market highlights or to
contact a spokesperson, please contact: Tiffany Fisher, Mansfield
Communications Inc., Phone: (416) 599-0024 ext. 222, Or e-mail:

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