With real estate prices continuing to hover at unaffordable levels in Canada’s urban centres, young families are looking for unique ways to finance their dreams of recreational property ownership.

According to a recent survey conducted by Leger, over a quarter (28%) of Canadians with children under the age of 18 indicated they would consider selling their primary city residence in order to purchase a cottage, cabin, or ski chalet.

“Many Canadians with young families are determined to own a cottage or cabin and are willing to explore avenues to turn this dream into a reality,” said Christopher Alexander, regional director of RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region.

“As real estate prices in areas of Canada remain high, more buyers are exploring unique financing options such as fractional ownership in a shared property, purchasing a recreational property with a friend and even selling their primary residence and putting the equity into a cottage or cabin,” Alexander said.

In a separate survey on RE/MAX brokers and agents, 73% of regions indicated that young families with children were the key drivers of market demand. These encompass established regions, such as the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canmore in Alberta, Collingwood in Ontario, and the Laurentians in Quebec.

Retirees are also a key driver of demand across Canada, with more than half (55%) of regions surveyed reporting a surge in retiree buyers this year compared to last year.

“Large numbers of retirees and Baby Boomers nearing retirement are putting the equity they received from the sale of their home in cities like Toronto and Vancouver into the purchase of a recreational property,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice president of RE/MAX of Western Canada.

“Significant price appreciation in those regions has made recreational property ownership a relatively affordable option for many retirees. This has in turn resulted in the price appreciation that we’ve seen in popular recreational property markets such as Whistler in BC and Haliburton in Ontario,” Ash said.

The RE/MAX survey found that 39% of regions experienced an increase in demand from buyers leaving either the Greater Toronto Area or British Columbia’s Lower Mainland compared to 2016. More local markets—such as Salt Spring Island, situated a few hours away from Vancouver, and the Kawarthas in Ontario—experienced a major surge in demand as a result of this trend.

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