Rebound in cottage country: plenty of affordable properties available


In a province with a multitude of lakes and waterways, there are plenty of cottage properties to choose from at affordable prices, according to a new report.
“The supply of recreational properties in Manitoba is ample across the board, and at all price points,” according to the recently-released RE/MAX Recreational Property Report.
“Numerous developments are underway, offering new recreational product to those looking for turnkey ownership.”
Low interest rates have also been a factor in bringing more buyers to Manitoba’s cottage country.
The most popular recreational properties are in the Gimli area, which includes Winnipeg Beach and the waterfront just north of Petersfield, in Grand Beach and Victoria Beach on the opposite side of Lake Winnipeg, along the Winnipeg River to Lac du Bonnet, and in Whiteshell Provincial Park.
According to the report, waterfront property in Manitoba has rebounded after last year’s severe flooding, which destroyed many recreational properties along Lake Manitoba.
“Pent-up demand, created by the events of 2011, has bolstered sales of lots as well as existing cottages on Lake Winnipeg.
“Empty-nesters and young retirees are driving demand for year-round recreational product for the most part,” the report continued, “buying up properties lakeside, renovating or tearing down. 
“Families are also an integral component of today’s recreational market, with many seeking affordable, four-season recreational product within two to two and a half hours from Winnipeg.”
Along the shores of Lake Winnipeg, a three-bedroom, winterized recreational property hovers at around $250,000, which reflects “an increase in inventory at entry-level price points, but budget-conscious consumers who travel further north can realize great savings on similar product.”
In 2009, the starting price for Lake Winnipeg recreational property was $300,000. In 2010, it fell to $250,000 and then rose to $280,000 in 2011.
In the Whiteshell, four-season recreational properties now start at $220,000.
“While buyers are still cautious,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president for RE/MAX of Western Canada,  “they’re motivated.
“Current market conditions have placed them firmly in the driver’s seat. While the more favourable climate has factored in, activity has also been fuelled by pent-up demand that’s been building since 2008, when many began waiting it out on the sidelines.
“Opportunity does exist,” he added. “Canadians enjoy a good deal, and there’s no question that there are still some to be had in recreational property markets across the country.”
“Americans,” according to the report, “once a fixture in Manitoba’s recreational property markets, are taking advantage of current market conditions, including the high Canadian dollar, to sell their properties.”