Al­ber­tans to rekin­dle B.C. prop­erty mar­ket

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - MARTY HOPE

Al­ber­tans are ex­pected to pro­vide much of the fuel that will fire up the smoul­der­ing re­cre­ation prop­erty mar­ket in B.C., in­clud­ing the Co­mox re­gion, says a pair of sur­veys on the fu­ture of the re­cre­ation prop­erty sec­tor.

“Empty nesters, many of them from Al­berta, are be­hind the push for recre­ational prod­uct this year — and they are a wel­come sight af­ter a twoyear ab­sence,” says Re/Max in its an­nual Re­cre­ation Prop­erty Re­port.

The strength­en­ing oil sec­tor has also brought Al­ber­tans back into the mix, the re­port adds, driv­ing de­mand for both lo­cal and coastal B.C. prop­er­ties — and 2011 could be the turn­ing point for this sec­tor of the prov­ince’s hous­ing sec­tor.

In the other sur­vey, in which ra­reEarth Pro­ject Mar­ket­ing polled 1,000 peo­ple ear­lier this year, 61 per cent of po­ten­tial va­ca­tion home buy­ers would con­sider Van­cou­ver Is­land as a des­ti­na­tion — higher than both the Okana­gan and the United States.

“The re­search also shows the Al­berta mar­ket is strong and they de­sire Van­cou­ver Is­land real es­tate with full own­er­ship,” says ra­reEarth pres­i­dent James Askew. The com­pany is over­see­ing sales for the Co­mox Bay Ma­rina and Res­i­dences by Howard Land Group.

Its sur­vey also showed that 53 per cent of Al­berta re­spon­dents who own their pri­mary res­i­dence are con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing recre­ational prop­erty on Van­cou­ver Is­land.

As well, 80 per cent of Al­ber­tans who own recre­ational prop­erty are con­sid­er­ing the pur­chase of ad­di­tional recre­ational prop­erty — and 56 per cent want full own­er­ship.

The Re/Max re­port says that in B.C. the re­cre­ation prop­erty prices are at or near bot­tom.

“As­tute pur­chasers — many of whom were scoop­ing up prod­uct south of the bor­der — are start­ing to cherry-pick in mar­kets where ocean­front prices are down from peak, pre­re­ces­sion lev­els,” it says.

Softer val­ues have driven up sales in West­ern Canada, with trans­ac­tions up or on par in 58 per cent of mar­kets, well ahead of the na­tional av­er­age.

“Op­por­tu­ni­ties that haven’t been seen in years are now pre­sent­ing them­selves, es­pe­cially on the West Coast,” says El­ton Ash, re­gional ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Re/Max of West­ern Canada. “Prices are down as much as 20 per cent from peak lev­els re­ported in 2006-2007, bring­ing own­er­ship within reach to many po­ten­tial pur­chasers.”

An in­ter­est­ing as­pect of the Re/ Max re­port talks about Amer­i­cans who have re­cre­ation prop­erty in Canada.

Many of them are cash­ing out. And for many, the tim­ing couldn’t be bet­ter.

The ma­jor­ity pur­chased when the Cana­dian dol­lar fell to 65 cents against the U.S. dol­lar — and they are now tak­ing ad­van­tage of the abovepar loonie and price ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

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