Sustained Demand for Access to Recreational Properties Remains

As real estate prices rise, many Canadians are looking for alternative ways to finance their dreams of cottage or cabin ownership. In a recent survey of RE/MAX agents and brokers, more than half reported seeing an increase in buyers who planned to rent out their property full- or part-time. In a separate survey of Canadians, conducted by Leger, nearly 60 per cent agreed that due to the emergence of popular, user-driven vacation rental websites, it is easier for an owner to rent out an investment property today versus five years ago.

The Leger survey also found that millennials were most likely to have spent time at a cottage or cabin in the past year, demonstrating that young Canadians are sustaining demand for access to recreational properties. This provides an opportunity for buyers to finance their second homes, most notably in high demand areas such as Grand Bend, Ontario, Tofino, B.C., and Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

In most of the regions that reported an increase in buyers planning to rent out their properties, demand is driven primarily by families and retirees, rather than investors. Retirees were reported as being key drivers of demand in 83 per cent of regions surveyed, and 53 per cent of regions reported an increase in retiree buyers this year compared to last year.

As the large demographic of Baby Boomers retires, sellers who benefitted from significant price appreciation in cities like Vancouver and Toronto are putting that equity into recreational markets, which is causing prices to increase in those regions. Some buyers who may still be five or 10 years away from retirement are taking the opportunity to enter those markets now, renting out their property until they are ready to retire.

This effect has been especially pronounced in British Columbia, where significant price increases in the Lower Mainland are encouraging buyers to invest in regions such as the Okanagan and the Gulf Islands.

The low Canadian dollar is having a positive effect on Canada’s recreational property markets. Canadians, mainly Baby Boomers, who bought properties in the U.S. when U.S. real estate prices were comparably low are selling them at a profit and investing in Canadian recreational markets. The low dollar is also encouraging Canadians to vacation within the country rather than going abroad, putting their money into vacation rentals closer to home.

Some regions, particularly established recreational destinations with international reputations such as Whistler, the Muskokas and Mont Tremblant, are seeing foreign buyers, primarily from the U.S., return to those markets. Cape Breton Island, which recently made international news when a website “Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins” gained the attention of high-profile news media, has seen increased interest from prospective U.S. buyers this year due to the publicity boost, combined with favourable exchange rates.

tofino ucluelet

WHETHER YOU PREFER CLIMBING THE STEEP CLIFFS OF the Stawamus Chief or fishing in the Howe Sound, Squamish is ideal for recreational property buyers in search of adventure. From boating and hiking to attending one of the many festivals hosted in the region, there is a lot to do in Squamish, making it an ideal location for young couples and families. Conveniently located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish offers younger buyers more affordable options than its higher-priced neighbours…Read More


LOCATED IN THE COAST MOUNTAINS TWO HOURS NORTH OF VANCOUVER, Whistler is a well-established year-round recreational region. Though best known as a ski destination, Whistler is also a great place for summer biking, hiking and golfing. The pedestrian-only Whistler Village, located at the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, offers a number of shopping and dining destinations. Buyers are drawn to the majestic mountain landscape, outdoor activities, amenities and recreational property options…Read More

okanagan shuswap

LOCATED IN SOUTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA, THE OKANAGAN VALLEY is one of the warmest regions in Canada. With over a hundred lakes within driving distance, the North Okanagan is a popular destination for watersports, including boating, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, or just spending the day in the sun. The South Okanagan region, including the City of Penticton and Summerland, is prized for its beautiful lakes, world-class wineries and orchards, framed by a backdrop of mountains and forests…Read More


LOCATED NEAR THE SOUTHEAST BOUNDARY OF BANFF NATIONAL PARK, just over 80 kilometres west of Calgary, Canmore offers a rocky mountain playground to recreational property buyers. Climbing, hiking, skiing and golf are just a few of the many outdoor activities that draw recreational property buyers to this vibrant mountain community year-round. Retirees seeking an active lifestyle are an important driver of demand in Canmore’s recreational property market…Read More

lakes of west edmonton

TO THE WEST OF ALBERTA’S CAPITAL ARE SEVERAL COMMUNITIES that provide city-dwellers with all-season recreational fun. Outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and swimming on the area’s many lakes in the summer, as well as snowmobiling and skiing in the winter, draw buyers to the region. Properties on Isle Lake, Lac Ste Anne and Wabamun are in demand among buyers looking for waterfront properties. Young couples, families and retirees drive demand for recreational property in the region…Read More

sylvan lake

SITUATED HALFWAY BETWEEN CALGARY AND EDMONTON, Sylvan Lake is very popular for recreational property owners as well as tourists. Less than a two hour drive from Alberta’s two largest cities, city dwellers can escape to one of Canada’s top 10 beaches and enjoy the northern lights. Sylvan Lake is the perfect location for those who are looking for a four season property near lots of amenities and activities. This luxury region offers fabulous restaurants, lake cruises, water activities, and golf as well as ice fishing and snowmobiling…Read More

quappelle valley

THE QU’APPELLE VALLEY ATTRACTS THOUSANDS OF tourists and seasonal residents each year looking to spend time in one of Saskatchewan’s most picturesque regions. The natural beauty of the area is further enhanced by the abundance of cultural events and landmarks inspired by the Qu’ Appelle Valley’s deep First Nations and Metis roots. Only a 45 minute drive from Regina, the Valley’s Calling Lakes offer recreational property buyers fantastic access to a wide range of outdoor activities, from boating and fishing in the summer, to snowmobiling and skiing in the winter…Read More

lake winnipeg

LESS THAN AN HOUR FROM WINNIPEG IS LAKE WINNIPEG – Canada’s sixth largest freshwater lake. With pristine boreal forests and rivers that are being promoted as a potential United Nations World Heritage Park, locals enjoy beautiful remote sandy beaches, stunning limestone cliffs and even bat caves for the more adventurous. In the winter, snowmobiling is extremely popular with numerous well-groomed trails in the region. This includes 23 kilometres of trails that cross the lake, which comes to life in the winter with the snowmobiling community…Read More

manitoulin island

MANITOULIN ISLAND AND THE FRENCH RIVER ARE TWO OF Northern Ontario’s most popular areas for recreational properties – known as camps in this part of the country. Buyers are drawn to the area’s natural beauty and good availability of affordable waterfront properties. The French River, which flows from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, appeals primarily to young families looking for a base from which to enjoy outdoor activities like boating, fishing and hiking. Recreational property on the French River has seen a ripple effect from rising prices further south…Read More

lake huron

THE RECREATIONAL AREAS AROUND LAKE HURON ARE POPULAR cottage country destinations for Southern Ontarians. Grand Bend, located on the southeast shores of Lake Huron, is best known for its 30 miles of continuous beaches. The town, a one-hour drive from London and three hours from Toronto, draws people from around the region to swim, suntan and then stay for the area’s nightlife. The Bruce Peninsula, located between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, is a picturesque region that attracts buyers looking for beautiful beaches and historic national parks…Read More

georgian bay

OVER 30,000 ISLANDS AND 2,000 KILOMETRES OF SHORELINE MAKE Georgian Bay one of the most breathtaking regions in Ontario. The blend of natural beauty and year-round activity options attract retirees and families seeking an outdoor lifestyle. Collingwood, located on the southern tip of Georgian Bay, allows residents to hit Blue Mountain’s slopes in the winter and get out on the water during the summer. The Collingwood Trails offer 60 kilometres of tree-lined, recreational trails for hikers, cyclists, joggers, snowshoers and snowmobilers…Read More

lake simcoe

LOCATED LESS THAN TWO HOURS NORTH OF TORONTO, LAKE SIMCOE is a popular year-round recreational region for Southern Ontarians. Residents in the region enjoy swimming, boating and fishing in the summer, and skiing and snowmobiling during the winter. Bordering Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching on the spectacular Trent-Severn waterway, Orillia attracts recreational property buyers looking to make use of the accessible natural beauty. Cultural attractions such as the annual Mariposa Folk Festival and Casino Rama also draw buyers and visitors to the region…Read More

muskoka haliburton

CANADA’S OLDEST AND BEST-KNOWN COTTAGE COUNTRY REGION continues to be popular with vacationers who enjoy watersports, high-end dining, or just sitting on the dock, soaking up the sun. A two-hour drive north of Toronto, Muskoka extends from Georgian Bay in the west, to Lake Couchiching in the south, to Algonquin Park in the east. The most populated area is the Muskoka Lakes Township, where Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph are located. Cottages on these lakes tend to be upper-end properties, and the closer a property is to Port Carling, known as the hub of the Muskoka Lakes, the more expensive it will likely be…Read More


LOCATED A 90-MINUTE DRIVE NORTHEAST OF TORONTO, Peterborough and the Kawarthas is a popular destination for recreational property buyers, particularly from the Greater Toronto Area. The area features many picturesque communities, including Lakefield, Bridgenorth and Buckhorn, among scenic lakes, rivers, wilderness and farmland. Buyers are attracted to the Kawarthas for the region’s classic Ontario cottage country feel, and relative affordability compared to the Muskokas. Many recreational properties in this area are winterized, allowing cottagers to enjoy year-round activities, including swimming, boating and hiking in the summer, and skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter…Read More


LOCATED A SHORT DRIVE NORTH OF MONTREAL, THE LAURENTIANS ARE a popular weekend getaway destination. Buyers are attracted to the area for its four-season appeal: lakes for swimming and water sports in the summer, and mountains, including the well-known St-Sauveur Village and Mont Tremblant, for skiing in the winter. The P’tit train du Nord, a 200 kilometre trail that runs through the region, is popular for cycling in the summer and crosscountry skiing in the winter…Read More

eastern townships

QUEBEC’S EASTERN TOWNSHIPS, A SHORT DRIVE FROM MONTREAL, are located in the southeastern corner of the province bordering the United States. The region features many charming small towns, beautiful countryside, lakes and mountains. In addition to the many outdoor activities the region offers, the Eastern Townships are also a gastronomic destination. Several wineries offer tours and tastings, and there are a growing number of small, local producers specializing in cheese, craft beer and specialty foods…Read More


THE CHARLEVOIX REGION IN EASTERN QUEBEC INCLUDES PARTS OF THE north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains region of the Canadian Shield. Known for its beautiful scenery, the region encompasses two national parks, Parc national des GrandsJardins – renowned for trout fishing – and Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-RivièreMalbaie. Le Massif de Charlevoix, the highest peak in Canada east of the Rockies, draws skiers in the wintertime. The region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989…Read More

cape breton

CAPE BRETON ISLAND, LOCATED ON THE NORTHEASTERN TIP OF NOVA SCOTIA, is a popular vacation destination for Canadians and international visitors. Recreational property buyers are drawn to the island’s beautiful and varied landscape, featuring sandy beaches, rugged coastline, mountains and rolling farmland. Families and retirees drive demand for recreational properties on Cape Breton, with retirees becoming an increasingly important demographic. Already well-known for its golf courses, Cape Breton is quickly becoming a world-famous destination for the sport…Read More


PRIMARILY A SUMMER DESTINATION, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND is popular with visitors and recreational property buyers who love to swim, boat, bike and golf in the warmer months of the year. Famous as the home to Anne of Green Gables, the island is also known for its red sand beaches, small town lifestyle, restaurants featuring local seafood, excellent golf courses and cultural festivals and events. Many recreational buyers tend to be from outside of the province and are seeking a quiet place to live during the summer months…Read More


THE EASTERN PART OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR INCLUDES the capital city, St. John’s, City of Mount Pearl and smaller towns such as Conception Bay South, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, among others. The East Coast area stretches from John Cabot’s historical 1497 landing place on the Bonavista Peninsula to the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, a short ferry ride away. Scenic driving routes and hiking trails, as well as parks such as the Salmonier Nature Park and the Avalon Wilderness reserve draw hikers, campers and nature lovers to the region…Read More

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