In a move that appears to be blurring the line between recreational and residential properties, more retirees and soon-to-be-retirees are buying cottages for retirement living. That’s according to the RE/MAX Recreational Property Report released last month.
The survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that in 91 per cent of Canadian recreational property markets examined, retirees were the key demographic driving activity. That’s in stark contrast to last year’s findings, when retirees were a dominant driving force in only 55 per cent of markets examined.
In the Ottawa area, the continued strong housing market is encouraging baby boomers and downsizers to sell their homes to take advantage of this year’s increase in property values. The latest report from the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB), for instance, shows that despite low inventory levels, sales in May came in less than one per cent lower than the record-setting number of homes sold in May 2017.
“Much of the total increase in property values have been experienced since the beginning of this year,” OREB president Ralph Shaw said in a release June 5. “(It) will give baby boomers incentive to sell their homes, which will help put inventory back onto the market.”
In the RE/MAX Recreational Property Report, the regional executive vice-president of RE/MAX Western Canada, Elton Ash, noted that last year the survey found that baby boomers and retirees were increasingly selling their homes in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. “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.”
Many of these individuals are engaging in more active forms of retirement, choosing to maintain physical fitness and emotional fulfillment by pursuing passion projects and leading lifestyles that involve farming, hiking and maintaining vineyards. This is particularly the case in regions such as South Okanagan, Wasaga Beach and Rideau Lakes.
The report found that for Ontario, the recreational property market is being buoyed by retirees who are leaving larger metropolitan cities in favour of cottage country. Emerging trends include retirees or semi-retirees buying cottages as retirement homes; couples priced out of expensive urban markets opting for the waterfront lifestyle; and buyers holding cottages as investment properties. Due to lack of demand, the region is experiencing a seller’s market. Properties in greatest demand are those offering beaches and boat facilities.
And it would seem that the Toronto trend is shifting east. Here’s to cottage living!