Cheap loonie has cottage market booming, especially among foreigners, ReMax says

The weak Canadian dollar has caused Canada's recreational property and cottage market to heat up, one of the biggest sellers of real estate says.

Strong demand in many markets, but picture not as rosy in areas dependent on oil money

There is strong demand for recreational properties in Canada among foreign buyers, ReMax says. (Canadian Press)

The weak Canadian dollar has caused Canada's recreational property and cottage market to heat up, one of Canada's biggest sellers of real estate says.

In its annual report on Canada's recreational property market on Wednesday, ReMax said the low Canadian dollar is attracting foreign buyers to well-established recreational property markets across the country, but especially in the areas of Whistler, Tofino, Muskoka, Shediac and P.E.I.

In many cases, it's not foreign buyers, but rather Canadians repatriating their own foreign gains and putting their money back into Canadian property.

"We are seeing Canadians who took advantage of the downturn in the U.S. property market in 2008 selling their US recreational properties, which have increased in value over recent years, and taking advantage of the low Canadian dollar to purchase their dream cottage or cabin in Canada," ReMax vice-president Gurinder Sandhu said.

But interestingly, ReMax suggests that not all cottage markets are equal. In places where incomes are heavily tied to the oil and gas industry, such as Alberta and Newfoundland, sales and prices are sluggish.

Cottage lifestyle in demand

In a poll commissioned by the realtor group commissioned by research firm Leger of 1,538 Canadians between June 8 and June 11, more than one in five Canadians said they would consider downsizing their main residence in order to find the cash to fund a recreational property.

"The cottage and cabin lifestyle is very much in demand and Canadians are looking for alternative ways to finance their dream property," ReMax spokesman Elton Ash said in a release.

Many are using the cottages themselves to help fund their payments. "There has been a significant increase in buyers who are planning to rent out their recreational properties part- or full-time," ReMax said.

Across the country, two-thirds of respondents said they would rather spend a long weekend at the cottage or cabin than go on a big city getaway. And more than 40 per cent said they would likely give up going abroad for their summer annual vacation if it would mean they could afford to get into Canada's recreational property market.