Cabin & Cottage Trends Across Canada

Survey reveals Canadian Millennials’ interest in recreational property ownership higher than ever

The RE/MAX 2019 Recreational Property Trends survey conducted by Leger finds that the majority of Millennials (56 per cent) are in the market to purchase a recreational property. This is up 14 per cent from last year, when just 42 per cent of Millennials were considering buying a recreational property. In 2018, 91 per cent of recreational markets surveyed reported that Baby Boomers accounted for the majority of activity. While Boomers continue to be a driving force in 2019, the increase in buying intentions in the 18-34 age group alludes to the start of a new trend in recreational buyer demographics, and what this new wave of buyers will be looking to purchase.

“We are finally witnessing the beginnings of a long-anticipated generational shift of buying power from Baby Boomers to Millennials,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “With the high cost of urban living taking many young homebuyers out of those markets, more Millennials are contemplating recreational properties as a viable option for home ownership.”

Price remains the top consideration for recreational property buyers, with 61 per cent of survey respondents naming affordability as the most important factor. However, liveability also plays a crucial role in the selection process.

“This new buyer demographic comes with a different lifestyle and property criteria than those of their Boomer counterparts,” Alexander adds. “Factors like Internet connectivity, recreational activities and proximity to towns with urban conveniences are becoming a more important selling feature.”

The RE/MAX survey reveals that 64 per cent of Canadians enjoy recreational properties as places where they can relax and spend time with friends and family, while 58 per cent perceive them as getaway homes. Forty-three per cent say that they can partake in activities that they normally wouldn’t be able to at their permanent residence, such as hiking and fishing. Millennials rank higher (50 per cent) than Boomers (38 per cent) in the use of recreational properties as places to participate in activities that can’t be done at their principal residence, such as hiking and fishing.

“Owning a recreational property is all about liveability – those crucial criteria, such as the great outdoors, access to water, mountains and community that improve our overall quality of life,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “It’s not surprising to see more Millennials pushing into the recreational property markets. Recreational living is very much aligned with this generation’s quest for work-life balance and is representative of a growing trend of Millennials choosing to make recreational properties their primary residence.”

When it comes to the actual property, the survey also found that other than affordable purchase price, Canadians who own or would consider owning a recreational property named reasonable maintenance costs (46 per cent), waterfront access (45 per cent), and proximity to town (44 per cent) as the most important factors when purchasing.

These findings differ regionally, with more Atlantic Canadians (39 per cent) looking for seclusion compared to residents in western provinces (28 per cent) or Ontario (26 per cent). Ontarians, on the other hand, are more likely to look into the property’s proximity to town and the accessibility of nearby medical facilities.

Additionally, the findings revealed that more than half of Canadians (54 per cent) travel (or would like to travel) to their recreational property in about two hours or less, while nearly a quarter (22 per cent) travel (or would travel) three or more hours.

“With recreational properties more in reach today compared to the past, travelling to your cottage or cabin and back is often accompanied by the Friday and Sunday ‘rush,’ meaning increased traffic and longer travel times,” says Ash. “Therefore, it’s reasonable for buyers to take shorter travel times into consideration when choosing a recreational property to buy.”

“Knowing what Canadians are looking for in a recreational property is crucial for sellers,” adds Alexander. “By the same token, it’s also important to understand today’s buyers and their needs; and highlight those vital liveability factors that are most likely to appeal to them.”

More Cabin & Cottage Trends Across Canada

  1. 40 per cent of Canadians are in the market for a recreational property, 56 per cent of millennials are in the market for a recreational property
  2. Canadians cite the following reasons to own or want to own a recreational property:
    • It is where I can go and relax and spend time with friends and family = 64 per cent
    • It is a getaway home = 58 per cent
    • I can do activities I can’t do at my permanent residence (hiking, fishing, etc.) = 43 per cent
    • It is an investment property = 30 per cent
    • It is a retirement home = 20 per cent
    • Other = 2 per cent
  3. 30 per cent of Canadians who say they use or would use a recreational property as an investment opportunity, Millennials rank the highest at 33 per cent, compared to Boomers at 28 per cent.
  4. More than half (54 per cent) of Canadians who own or are considering owning a recreation property are willing to travel up to two hours, 24 per cent saying they would travel two hours. Slightly less (22 per cent) are willing to travel three or more hours.
  5. Canadians identify the following features as important when considering their current recreational property or a future purchase of a recreational property:
    • Affordable purchase price = 61 per cent
    • Reasonable maintenance costs = 46 per cent
    • Waterfront access = 45 per cent
    • Proximity to town = 44 per cent
    • Reasonable distance from primary residence = 35 per cent
    • Relative seclusion = 28 per cent
    • Land access = 24 per cent
    • Proximity to sports/recreation = 24 per cent
    • Nearby neighbouring properties = 12 per cent
    • Island property = 7 per cent
    • Other = 1 per cent
    • None, don’t mind which features my recreational property has = 7 per cent
    • Don’t know/prefer not to answer = 7 per cent

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