Dif­fer­ent op­tions for buyer de­mand

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - KATHY MCCORMICK

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.

Cal­gary Her­ald Archive

The view from a unit at the Res­i­dences at Fair­mont Ridge.

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