-Image: Kelowna Real Estate Company

Retirees eyeing up Big White for recreational homes

Kelowna - RE/MAX’s recent report says seniors are driving the market

Retirees are taking an interest in Big White Ski Resort’s real estate to use as recreational homes.

Seniors are driving the recreational home market at the ski resort, said Jerry Redman, managing director with RE/MAX Kelowna.

“They’re buying places to bring their kids and their grandkids back to,” he said. “It’s been a very active last couple of years at Big White.”

A recent RE/MAX report found the housing characteristic change is being propelled by both retirees and those planning for their retirement.

“Last year, we found that Baby Boomers and retirees were increasingly selling their homes in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, RE/MAX of Western Canada, based out of Kelowna.

“It’s clear that many put the equity they received from those sales into the purchase of a recreational property with the intention to retire in comfort and away from the city.”

Ash noted these buyers are seeking more active forms of retirement, choosing to maintain a physical fitness lifestyle and emotional fulfilment by pursuing passion projects, and seeing recreational properties as the means to achieve those goals.

He says this is particularly the case in areas such as the South Okanagan and the Ontario townships of Wasaga Beach and Rideau Lakes.

People who have a desire to purchase a recreational property in B.C. focus on waterfront and ski resorts, said Redman.

“We’re a little bit different out in the West than we are with our cottage country in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Ontario. There’s quite a different feeling of what recreational property is, compared to Kelowna. We have some waterfront homes, but those who buy a condo downtown, that’s where they go to get away.”

Due to the strong US dollar, retirees are also selling their snowbird properties south of the border and instead purchase recreational homes for use as retirement properties as well, says the report.

Other survey findings outlined in the report:

• Retirees are fueling demand as 91 per cent of regions surveyed reported that retirees drive demand for recreational properties; a stark contrast to the 2017 RE/MAX report which found them a dominant force in only 55 per cent of markets surveyed

• One in three survey respondents (33 per cent) say that they own or want to own a recreational property for investment purposes

• Buyers are increasingly renting in urban centres such as Toronto and Vancouver while purchasing recreational properties

• Other than affordable purchase price, waterfront rated as the most important feature to Canadians when considering spending time at a cottage or cabin, beating out reasonable maintenance costs

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