New property report and survey released

Guest post by Blair Eveleigh, senior associate editor

Royal LePage released its annual Recreational Property Report this morning, along with the results of a survey it commissioned. The survey polled current cottage owners and those who intend to buy in the next five years. One of the more surprising finds is that more than four-fifths of current owners do not rent their property out to offset carrying costs. How to afford to keep the cottage has been a recurring topic for a while now, and we hear from readers all the time about the rising costs of hydro, property taxes, etc., so I’d thought there would be more cottagers renting. Among prospective owners, the survey found that about half of them intended to rent out their cottages. Other tactics people are considering to get into a cottage: reducing discretionary spending; buying a fixer-upper; buying a vacant lot and building later; and, buying with family or friends. (Many are also probably hoping to win the lottery, but may have been reluctant to admit this to a pollster.)

Anyone in the market for a bargain should head east, way east. According to the report, New Brunswick has the lowest prices for a standard waterfront, road-access, 1,000-sq.-ft. three-bedroom cottage with 100 feet of shoreline: around $110,000. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland are also affordable, and all three of these Atlantic provinces have inland properties on the market for less than $100,000. (Curiously, the report has no information at all about Nova Scotia.)

As for Ontario, a prime location (the Meaford/Thornbury/Collingwood region) may push the cost of that standard cottage up to about a million dollars. There are still affordable properties to be found, however, especially those without waterfront, with St. Joseph Island and Lake Huron being the most accessible (about $90,000 for a standard property on a backlot).

The least surprising finding? More than half of all respondents (55 per cent) said that their number one priority was peace and quiet. That’s something we already knew.