Canmore recreational property prices increasing with little end in sight, realtor says

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While Canmore’s recreational real estate market has come down from its pandemic-induced buying frenzy, prices are expected to increase steadily over the coming years, a local realtor says.

Single-family home prices in Canmore nudged upwards in 2023 to $1.56 million — a four per cent increase from 2022, according to Royal LePage.

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That’s higher than Royal LePage predicted last year, when it projected a 0.5 per cent price appreciation for 2023. It was the only Canadian region at the time expected to see price increases.

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“You’ve got so many tailwinds right now,” said Brad Hawker, a Canmore-based broker for Royal LePage.

The price of median standard condominiums also continued their ascent upward. Those properties, which went for around $552,000 in 2020, went for about $685,000 in 2023.

Canmore’s recreational housing market has been moving “sharp and up to the right” since the pandemic.

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Recreational properties in Canmore rose 25 per cent over the course of 2021, a previous report said. At that point, the average single-detached home was going for $1,234,000. A year prior, the median property went for about $985,000.

Hawker at the time called the level of activity “unsustainable” due to Canmore’s lack of supply, predicting additional price increases with demand being stifled by insufficient supply.

Since then, recreational properties have managed to steadily increase.

Recreational buyers less sensitive to price increases than residential buyers: broker

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Much of that is owed to the slew of baby boomers now reaching retirement and looking for places to remain active after they leave working life, Hawker said.

“The perspective on retirees is they still have another 20, 25 years of active retirement and they want to get out there,” he said. Those same retirees often find those properties appealing to get their adult kids to visit them, he added, adding to the appeal of owning a place in the mountains.

Alberta’s influx of newcomers both from abroad and other provinces has also attributed to this growth, he said.

Recreational buyers are also less sensitive to price increases than buyers on the residential market, he said. According to Royal LePage’s report, most transactions are cash-based with few buyers relying on lending, thus leaving them unimpacted by interest rates.

“We are seeing some people wait, but there are a lot of people that aren’t waiting and they’re continuing to buy,” Hawker said.

Recreational property prices differ across Canada

Elsewhere in Alberta, properties on Pigeon Lake and Wabamun Lake — both close to Edmonton — have seen drastic price increases over the last 12 months. The median price of a single-detached home on Wabamun Lake rose 53 per cent last year to $675,300, up from $439,800. Pigeon Lake homes, meanwhile, increased 13.8 per cent to $417,000.

The most affordable place to buy a recreational property in Alberta right now is Lac St. Anne, where single-detached homes are on average going for $290,000.

Whistler remains the runaway price leader for recreational properties: On average, a single-family home in the B.C. resort town goes for $4.4 million.

In Ontario, however, several popular areas experienced steep price decreases.

Waterfront properties on the Kawartha Lakes, for example, dropped more than 25 per cent on average, going from nearly $1 million to $733 million.

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