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Bidding wars and soaring prices coming to Canada's cottage country: Royal LePage

Jessy Bains
·2 min read
An elegant Muskoka cottage from the waterfront
Muskoka, Ontario is a popular destination for waterfront cottages (Getty)

Anyone dreaming of buying property in cottage country for a vacation or a more permanent and scenic work from home setup could instead be in for a nightmare.

A new report from Royal LePage says recreational property buyers can expect another year of steep price increases, lack of inventory, and even bidding wars like what suburban Greater Toronto Area (GTA) buyers have had to deal with.

The realty firm expects the aggregate price of a house in Canada’s recreational regions to increase 15 per cent in 2021 to $502,73.

“From coast to coast, the line between primary residence and recreational property is blurring,” said Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper, in the report.

“The trend began last summer when the option of travelling abroad was taken away, and continued to gain popularity as it became clear that with access to high-speed internet, many people can do their jobs from just about anywhere.”

The aggregate price for a home in cottage country was up 16 per cent year over year in 2020 to $437,156. Water-front properties were up 9.8 per cent to 813,385 and condos rose 10.5 per cent to $310,257.

Young buyers forced to fight over few listings

Royal LePage forecasts the largest price gains will be in Ontario and Atlantic Canada at 17 per cent, followed by Quebec at 15 per cent and British Columbia at 13 per cent.

“The low inventory, high demand scenario that is defining Canada’s current real estate landscape can be frustrating for buyers and their agents,” said Soper.

“Without enough supply to meet demand, prices continue to increase at above normal rates. And with so few listings to choose from, owners are concerned they will have nowhere to go if they sell before buying, so they hesitate to list. This cycle makes it difficult for anyone to move ahead.”

Royal LePage says there’s been an influx of out-of-province buyers scooping up residential property.

It also says young buyers are increasingly keen on escaping big city life. A recent survey found 47 per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 35 would choose small town or country living if given the chance. Among this age group, 52 per cent said the availability of remote work has increased their likelihood to move further from their current or future place of work.

Soper says access to high-speed internet and the ability to work remotely are among the top criteria for buyers looking for recreational properties.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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