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The Cottage dream persist

Despite rising cottage and gas prices, the number of Canadians committed to owning their own getaway retreat has increased since last summer, with 12 per cent of Canadians planning to or considering buying a recreational property in the next three years, according to the 2007 Royal LePage Recreational Property Report.

However, the rising prices at the pumps may trump the passions of some, as almost one quarter (23%) of Canadian cottage owners will reduce the number of trips they make to their cottages this summer, while 12 per cent of owners may consider selling their property if gas prices continue to rise.

The 2007 Royal LePage Recreational Property report comprises a nationwide research poll of Canadian cottage owner and buyer attitudes and actions (conducted by Maritz Research) and an extensive 51-market analysis of recreational property prices, trends and activity in selected leisure markets across Canada.

Those looking to buy recreational properties will find more affordable properties in the east, as balanced markets and anticipated new developments characterize the majority of Atlantic Canada, while stronger demand and cottage prices that commonly inch up toward $500,000 typify Ontario's market. Looking west to Alberta and British Columbia, cottage seekers will find some of the country's most expensive cottage real estate, accompanied by very tight inventory levels.

"Our research reveals that the demand for recreational property continues to far exceed supply across Canada, causing cottage prices to rise at a much quicker rate than the overall housing market. A standard waterfront, land access property increased by 13 per cent over the past year, with properties ranging from under $100,000 to over $1 million," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Families are managing the affordability challenge with creativity and personal flexibility. Prospective purchasers on a budget can still find a cottage or cabin, but they may have to accept a longer weekend commute, seek alternate ownership options or subsidize ownership through rental income."

Just how far will Canadians go to buy into cottage life?

The poll findings reveal that of those who are planning to or would consider purchasing a cottage, 49 per cent are willing to move into a smaller more affordable house in order to afford a cottage and 32 per cent are willing to take on a second job in return for lakeside living.

Other sacrifices to afford a cottage include making the cottage one's primary residence (49%), driving as far as necessary to get to the cottage (50%) and using the cottage to generate rental income during the year (53%).

For some, cottage ownership will come down to the luck of the draw. When Canadians who intend to buy were asked, "Does the prize of a cottage entice you to play hospital or foundation fundraising lotteries?" 16 per cent answered yes.

Why the urge to purge city life?

Even with the possibility of a more costly fill up at the gas station and more time in the car, Canadians who plan to or would consider purchasing a cottage cite that enjoying the outdoors (31%), escaping from the hustle of city life (30%) and spending quality time with their friends and family (29%) keep them heading to cottage country.

Wired at the beach

With the booming trend of satellite offices and instant messaging capabilities, being 'wired' at the cottage is of utmost importance to some cottage owners and purchasers. Poll findings show that 22 per cent of respondents consider having Internet access a deal breaker in terms of importance, as they work from the cottage. The poll revealed that 20 per cent of parents who are cottage owners said that the Internet is not important to them while at the cottage, but it is to their children. Interestingly, the poll found that 69 per cent of parents who own cottages cite that part of the reason they go to the cottage is to 'unplug' their kids and have them spend time outdoors.

For other Canadians, escaping to the cottage can be a form of rehab, if only temporary, allowing them to kick their 'Crackberry' habits. When cottage owners were asked, "Do you check your Blackberry device when on vacation at the cottage?" 33 per cent of respondents claimed they take a complete break from using the gadget. However, for seven per cent (7%), the addiction is too strong and they admit to checking their handheld device while indulging in some rest and relaxation.

ADDITIONAL POLL FINDINGS

It seems that the cottage experiences of childhood have a profound impact on many Canadians as the poll finds that 59 per cent of Canadians who own or may soon own a recreational property grew up spending time at a cottage. Half of Canadian cottage owners and intenders (50%) spent summers at family or friends' cottages, while 11 per cent enjoyed time at rental properties.

When it comes to matters of the heart, negotiations could become trickier for divorce lawyers. When asked, "In the instance of a divorce settlement would you choose to receive the primary residence or the cottage?" the properties were almost equally favoured, with 39 per cent of current cottage owners and those likely to or planning to purchase a cottage choosing the primary residence, and 33 per cent opting for the cottage.

Gas allowances aside, among Canadians planning to purchase or among those who would consider purchasing a cottage, 15 per cent have budgeted to spend between $200,000 and $500,000, while one per cent plan to spend between $500,000 and $1 million, and two per cent of respondents have budgeted $1 million or more for their lavish slice of heaven. The majority of Canadians who intend to purchase a recreational property have budgeted less than $200,000.

See full report »

June 8, 2007 in Location, location, location | Permalink

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