10 June, 2011 / by Bryan Jaskolka
Summer homes have long been a part of the heritage of many city bound families that relish the summer months when they can escape to the cottage and forget the hustle and bustle of city life. However, with the onset of the recession it seemed that unless you were in the income bracket that could afford million dollar summer homes, the average price of a cottage when we consider the most popular getaway spots in the GTA, surrounding Muskoka, Rousseau and Joseph lake was between 600, 000 and 800, 000 and was simply beyond reach.
So it is not a surprise that the number of cottages sold this year between January and April was half as much as it was during the same period in 2010. Lakefront homes have also seen a price increase of 60% over last year!
On the bright side, when we compare cottage prices now to when they were at their peak in 2007, current prices are still 20% lower this year.
So what does this mean for the average middle class family that wants to have the cottage country lifestyle?
It means that people have to be more creative about how they acquire these properties and as a result there are some ownership options that are gaining in popularity (http://www.youtube.ca/homes/realestate/article/989508–lots-of-choices-for-cottage-ownership)
Fractional ownership refers to buying a share of a vacation home from a resort company (very similar to owning a timeshare)
Co-ownership refers to purchasing a cottage outright as a group. The mortgage is applied to either one co-owner or to the group and a separate agreement is drawn up dividing additional costs and usage accordingly.
Discussing your options with a knowledgeable mortgage broker would help to simplify your next steps if cottage living is desirable.
In a recent survey done by Royal LePage (http://www.royallepage.ca/en/media/110518-royal-lepage-recreational-property-report-2011.aspx?bottomcontent=874&toolstips=1052&relatedcontent=1074).
They found that people were very confident that recreational properties served as good investments, with 89% saying that they are good long term investments and 50% stating that they are better investments than the stock market!
This is great news, especially in Southern Ontario where there is a vast range of options with regard to recreational properties it terms of price, size, distance from Toronto, and so on. As a result there is likely to be something for everyone, continuing to make summer homes a viable option.