As the summer’s been warming up, so has the market for cottages in Manitoba.
According to MLS listings, there have been 101 cabins sold so far in 2020 across the province compared to 66 over the same period last year.
Real estate broker Shanna Karle with Ateah Realty says it’s been the busiest year she’s had in a decade.
“I think that COVID has sort of flipped some of our market demand here. A lot of people that maybe might have been thinking of selling this year have maybe possibly decided to hang onto their cottages for another year because they’re using them if they’re not at work,” she said.
“For the same reasons, many people are possibly looking at buying cottages. Because they are kind of in the province where maybe they might have gone to another province or another country for their summer holidays, they’re now maybe thinking inward and thinking of purchasing cottages or property to build cottages.”
Experts say low interest rates also have played a factor.
Rishi Ramberran and his wife bought their new lake house at Falcon Lake in July.
“We actually were looking to move our home in the city, but when this thing came up we just were like, ‘no, we will buy this instead and we will stay where we are,'” he said.
“I’m an investor by trade and one of the things you look for is value. My parents have been there 26 years, the one thing I’ve learned is they don’t make any more waterfront cabins, especially this close to the city, so maybe I’m wrong but the supply and demand metric would say this is a good long-term holding. Maybe this wouldn’t bring a return on investment in capital but in terms of joy and happiness.”
Ramberran says he also didn’t expect the appetite for cottage rentals.
“When we put it for rent, within 12 hours we filled the entire summer. We jokingly tested the water and 12 hours later and there was no availability,” he said.
Whiteshell realtor Paul Duncan says he’s been very busy this year.
“By mid-July, we had already sold 28 Whiteshell properties, whereas last season we sold 34 properties in total, and we still have a good three months of prime cottage selling season left. The end of summer is generally a fairly active time in Whiteshell real estate as some long time cottage folks will make the tough decision that it’s time to sell and let a new generation of families take over the wonderful cottage lifestyle,” he said.
He says because of the pandemic, more people have been staying in the province’s backyard and exploring cottage country.
“The park has seen a huge increase of day users, people being introduced to what Manitoba and in particular, the Whiteshell Park, has to offer, which also has created new interest in perhaps cottage ownership,” he said.
“I believe with the pandemic situation, folks realize they will be staying closer to home for perhaps the next few years and a cottage in Whiteshell Park allows them year-round recreational activities they can enjoy as a family.”