Mississauga, ON (June 2, 2009) — Generation X purchasers are poised to replace aging baby boomers as the major force in recreational property markets across the country, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
The demographic shift was noted in the 2009 RE/MAX Recreational Property Report highlighting sales, pricing, trends and developments in 50 Canadian markets. The report found demand from Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980) has nearly doubled over one year ago. Seventy-four per cent of markets surveyed this year reported a marked trend toward thirtysomething buyers snapping up affordably-priced product, ranging from waterfront cottages to resort condominiums, compared to just 40 per cent in 2008.
“After being priced out of most markets for the better half of the last decade, Gen X purchasers now have the financial wherewithal to buy recreational product at virtually every price point,” says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Gen X is ideally positioned to pick up any slack in recreational property markets caused by softer demand from baby boomers and retirees. They represent the next wave of recreational property owners in Canada and they know it.”
The financial strength of the cohort dovetails well with current market realities. Sixty-six per cent of recreational property markets surveyed reported a decline in the number of recreational product sold in the first four months of 2009, while 22 per cent indicated sales were either up or on par compared to one year ago. While the combination of inclement weather and a global recession clearly hampered sales activity earlier in the year, many major centres are currently experiencing an upswing in activity as the traditional cottage season gets underway.
“Much of the activity in the marketplace today has to do with the mindset of this particular generation,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “More important than the investment aspect is the commitment to lifestyle. The purchase of a waterfront home or a condominium is more than a simple transaction to Gen X purchasers – owning a recreational property underscores their dedication to family and balance.”
The time to buy has never been better. With four exceptions, recreational property prices have softened in most major markets across the country. Only on the Newfoundland Coast and in Ontario, from Innisfil to Oro, Kingston, and Beaverton, have values increased this year compared to 2008. Starting prices remain similar to one year ago and in some cases are even higher.
“While buyer’s market conditions exist virtually across the board, sellers of recreational properties from coast-to-coast are clearly content to wait out the storm,” says Polzler. “They are in no hurry to unload their product. Many have held on to their properties for generations – they’re fully-owned yet underutilized, which has prompted some aging owners to list them for sale.”
The report also found that while lowball offers are on the rise, very few meet with success. Through tough negotiations with multiple sign backs, purchasers who are serious tend to find out the hard way that sellers are serious too. As a result, the sales-to-list ratio remains relatively high in most recreational property markets across the country.
“The prospect of greater stability down the road is creating cautious optimism in the marketplace,” says Ash. “Purchasers are seeking to buy quality product, whether it be situated on lakes, rivers, or ponds, before values start to once-again edge up.”
RE/MAX is Canada’s leading real estate organization with over 17,600 sales associates situated throughout its more than 677 independently-owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 36th year, is a global real estate system operating in more than 70 countries. Over 6,700 independently-owned offices engage nearly 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, and asset management. For more information, visit: www.remax.ca.