Different options for buyer demand
During tough economic times, real estate is one sector that feels the pinch — and none more so than recreation property.
But that doesn’t mean people have lost interest in getting away from it all.
Demand has been stronger than ever, but it’s taking a different approach, say some of the resort developments in the Columbia Valley in B.C.
Property rentals in 2009 “have been strong, maybe even stronger than 2008,” says Fjorn Billehaug, sales and marketing manager of High Country Properties.
The property management company is located in Invermere, B.C., one of Calgarians’ favourite playgrounds due to its proximity to the city and its wealth of golf courses, warm weather and Lake Windermere.
The average three-bedroom, single-family home with High Country Properties rents for about $245 per night in the high season and $145 a night in what the company terms “value season.”
“Although the economy has slowed, people still want and need a vacation experience, yet they value flexibility more than ever,” says Billehaug.
Other developers have changed their traditional buying options to create more flexibility for buyers.
Marble Canyon Developments, for example, is building one of the first fractional ownership opportunities in the Columbia Valley at Fairmont Hot Springs.
The Residences at Fairmont Ridge offer the option to purchase as little as one-eighth of a unit — or potential buyers can choose other fractional ownership opportunities that suit their needs.
Full ownership is available, too, with a rental program in place.
The development is part of the RCI exchange program, a large vacation property rental operation that offers buyers the chance to stay at other properties worldwide.
The first buyers have only just started to move into the development and there is already a waiting list of renters spanning into 2010.
“The rental program provides a stream of income for those who own a whole or fraction of a unit and it provides a stepping stone in making the move to purchase,” says Tim Tourond, president of Marble Canyon Developments.
“We are finding that the traffic hasn’t slowed down, but people are more likely to try living in a unit before taking the leap of owning it.”
The cash flow generated through a rental program helps offset carrying costs once a person has bought a unit, says Sean Bigler, financial planner with RBC Wealth Management in Calgary.
“When investing in a property, you want to understand the multiple aspects of your decision,” he says.
The view from a unit at the Residences at Fairmont Ridge.