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Boomers cashing in on high-value homes to buy vacation properties

Retirees driving demand for recreational real estate
vacation recreational cabin on lakefront

When the weather is fine, who doesn’t dream of whiling away their days in an oceanfront cabin or lakeside cottage? It certainly seems that older Canadian have exactly that dream.

In the vast majority of Canada’s most popular recreational real estate markets, it is retirees and baby-boomers who are driving vacation property purchases, according to an annual recreational market survey by Re/Max, published May 15.

In the survey of brokers and agents across the country, respondents in more than 91 per cent of recreational markets said that older buyers were the driving force in buying vacation properties in that area – in stark contrast with one year ago, at 55 per cent of markets.

The survey found that in B.C., Ontario and Atlantic Canada, an increasing number of boomers are cashing in on their high-priced principal residences and buying recreational properties outside of urban centres to live in year-round in their retirement year. This trend is “increasingly blurring the line between recreational and residential properties,” said the report.

“Last year, we found that baby boomers and retirees were increasingly selling their homes in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver," said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, RE/MAX Western Canada. “It’s clear that many put the equity they received from those sales into the purchase of a recreational property with the intention to retire in comfort and away from the city.”

Aside from an “affordable purchase price,” which was Canadians’ biggest priority, “waterfront access” was rated as the most important must-have when choosing a vacation property, pushing “reasonable maintenance costs” into third place.

In B.C., it was a similar story to the national picture, with retirees making up most of the purchasers in the province’s recreational hotspots. But the survey also found an emerging trend of younger professional couples and families also making the most of significant uplifts in the value of their primary residences to buy vacation homes.

Re/Max added that the vacation property market in B.C. remains a strong seller’s market, with not enough available vacation homes to meet the demand.

REmax recreational property BC infographic
Source: Re/Max 2018 Recreational Property Report

For more details, read the full 2018 Re/Max Recreational Property Report.