Vacation properties in central Alberta are red hot as the pandemic has buyers looking for getaways closer to home.
“(Sales) are indeed very hot,” said Sylvan Lake realtor Jim Jardine on Wednesday.
“It’s mostly the big Calgary money saying, ‘If I can’t go back to Palm Springs let’s get a place at the lake.’
“My last lakefront sold in less than a week,” said Jardine, who is with Trilliant Real Estate Group Ltd. and has been selling real estate in the Sylvan Lake area since the mid-1970s.
“Every since the pandemic started the recreational market has picked up here incredibly.”
Jardine said he had multiple potential buyers on five different properties he was selling recently.
Even regular residential properties in town are selling. According to Multiple Listing Service numbers, 108 residential properties were sold in Sylvan Lake to the end of March, compared with 50 over the same period last year.
“It’s crazy. We’re selling more than we’re listing,” he said. “This month, in my office we’re doing a deal a day. We haven’t seen that in a while.”
Red Deer RE/MAX realtor Kim Fox also believes the pandemic is shaping the way people are looking at properties.
“The biggest thing that is happening right now is that people are truly looking for a place of contentment that they know can be for sure,” said Fox.
RV lots are selling fast, driven largely by buyers who are not sure they will be able to find a place to park them should they choose to travel and want to have a permanent base.
Cabins, modular homes and starter homes are all being snapped up buyers. One of the advantages of the recreational market is that there are properties at every price point. Lots can go for $70,000, a good modular for $150,000 and a bungalow for $350,000.
Fox has been selling many properties around Pine Lake. Sylvan Lake has also been popular but supply of available properties is running low.
“I sell a lot of properties out and around that area too. But there’s nothing left out there. Things are selling before they even go on the market.”
Many people are buying because they are down-sizing and making adjustments in how they live.
“At Whispering Pines (Golf and Country Club Resort, on Pine Lake), I bet 60 per cent of the people live there year-round now. It’s like Arizona in Alberta.”
Fox said if there is a silver lining to the pandemic it maybe in the way it has inspired many people to take a look at their families and relationships and how they live and work.
“They’re looking at all of their stuff. They’re re-sizing, down-sizing, simplifying. They’re doing everything they can to put some order in their lives.
“We’re seeing some cool things happening.”