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‘We haven’t seen anything like this before’: pandemic boosts Canadian real estate

Click to play video 'Canadian recreational real estate market heats up during pandemic' Canadian recreational real estate market heats up during pandemic
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down many parts of the economy, Canada's recreational real estate market continues to boom. – Dec 6, 2020

The Canadian real estate market is hot. And the heat is spreading far beyond big cities.

Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal Lepage, says the coronavirus pandemic is part of the reason.

“Real estate is one of those sectors that is actually seeing what I call a ‘COVID catalyst,’ maybe the three P’s of the pandemic: puppies, Peloton and property.”

Soper says home prices are up about 10 per cent this year — double the long-term average.

A new report from the real estate company shows “cottage country,” known as the recreational market, is especially hot.

Click to play video 'B.C. recreational real estate sales seeing pandemic boom' B.C. recreational real estate sales seeing pandemic boom
B.C. recreational real estate sales seeing pandemic boom – Nov 30, 2020

To the end of September, year-over-year home prices in recreational property markets soared, driven by “Canadians’ ability to work remotely. ” The aggregate price of a single-family home in the recreational market rose 11.5 per cent to $453,046. The aggregate price of a waterfront property increased 13.5 per cent to $498,111.

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Soper says there’s been a significant shift.

“You see people saying, ‘You know, my job can be done from anywhere, I’m making that decision. So potentially, I’m gonna relocate my family to where the cost of living is less, and the quality of life might be better for me.”

Soper says questions about a home’s internet are now a priority, and that more than half of new buyers are looking at recreational properties as full-time homes.

Read more: ‘You just take what you can’ — Demand surges for cottage rentals during coronavirus pandemic

In Falcon Lake, Man., near the Ontario border, Rishi Ramberran and his family decided cottage country made sense.

“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.'”

Analysts say some of the increase is pent-up demand from the spring lockdown that paralyzed real estate.

In Atlantic Canada, long considered the best real estate deal in the country, there are far more buyers than sellers.

Click to play video 'Hot Market’s Rizwan Malik on the pandemic effect on real estate' Hot Market’s Rizwan Malik on the pandemic effect on real estate
Hot Market’s Rizwan Malik on the pandemic effect on real estate – Nov 18, 2020

As a result, agent Kim Stewart says the cost is skyrocketing.

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“We haven’t seen anything like this before.”

Stewart is representing a family from Vancouver, which got a surprise this week in pursuing a house in Dartmouth, N.S.

“Even I was shocked at the price. It was almost $200,000 over the asking price.”

Royal LePage doesn’t see the trend letting up — it’s forecasting demand and prices for recreational properties will keep increasing in the new year.