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Value of recreation property expected to rise

A lower Canadian dollar and oilpatch workers in search of second homes are helping to support the value of waterfront homes at Sylvan Lake, says a Re/Max report.

In its 2014 Recreational Property Report, released on Wednesday, the national real estate group looked at 41 markets across Canada. In the case of Sylvan Lake, it said buyers in their 30s and 40s are looking for alternate residences in a quiet setting. Many work in the oil and gas sector, said the report.

A lower loonie is expected to increase demand for recreational property in Canada, as fewer people invest in American real estate. Heightened consumer confidence in Western Canada is also spurring sales, said Re/Max, with some markets experiencing the most activity since the recession.

“We see momentum in recreational property sales, especially near urban centres where local residents have experienced several years of economic growth,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of Re/Max of Western Canada. “This year we are seeing the effects of buyer confidence in some regions, thanks to built-up equity gains and strong job markets across the West.”

The Re/Max report said the starting price for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,800-square-foot home on Sylvan Lake is approximately $750,000. At the upper end, the price is about $2.55 million.

Listings and sales of recreational properties across Canada have rebounded following a slow start due to the cold winter and late spring, said Re/Max. It suggested that most buyers fall into one of two broad groups: families with young children and who have equity in their primary homes, and near or recent retirees who plan to use a rec property as their summer residence.

The report noted the popularity of recreational properties within a two-hour drive of major urban centres. It also said that many owners use those homes throughout the summer, and even during the remainder of the year, as opposed to only on summer weekends and vacations.

Royal LePage issued its own recreational property report three weeks ago. It identified Gleniffer Lake and Pine Lake as areas of interest for buyers, citing the lakes’ locations near Red Deer and between Calgary and Edmonton, and the availability of more affordable condominiums there, as motivating factors.

As with Re/Max, Royal LePage thinks the strengthening economy and lower Canadian dollar are helping drive the recreational property market.

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