Boomers being gradually being pushed out as key buyers of vacation homes as next generation and web technology dominate the market

Members of Generation X are emerging as the key buyers of recreational property, while the market is increasingly driven by online vacation rental websites such as AirBnB making it much easier to rent out properties, according to two recent reports.

Gen X buyers of vacation homes – those aged 36 to 51 years old – now outnumber baby-boomer buyers significantly, according to the Royal LePage 2016 Canadian Recreational Property Report, published June 23.

Some 63 per cent of respondents identified Gen Xers as the key buyers of recreational property – a almost double the 33 per cent that said baby-boomers were the number one buyers.

However, the RE/MAX 2016 Recreational Property Report, published last week, was somewhat at odds with this result, finding that 53 per cent of recreational home buyers are still baby boomers.

The dominance of online vacation home rental websites such as AirBnB and VRBO were cited as a crucial force in the recreational property market in the RE/MAX report.

The report was compiled from two surveys, including a recent survey of RE/MAX agents and brokers, in which more than half reported seeing an increase in buyers who planned to rent out their property a full- or part-time basis. And in the other survey, conducted by Leger, nearly 60 per cent of respondents agreed that due to the emergence of popular vacation rental websites, it is easier for an owner to rent out an investment property today compared with five years ago.

The Leger survey also found that millennials were most likely to have spent time at a cottage or cabin in the past year, demonstrating that young Canadians are sustaining demand for access to recreational properties

The BC Market

In its focus on the BC market, Royal LePage’s report said that BC recreational property was increasing in sales and prices throughout the province, driven by the low Canadian dollar. Hot spots such as the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan have recorded particular rises in activity, with Kelowna’s market now seeing multiple bids on desirable properties for the first time since the 2008 recession.

In some less-expensive areas, such as 100 Mile House, the report noted that prices were yet to catch up with the hot demand, meaning that a recreational property is likely to be a good investment.

The report said, “Although the demand for [100 Mile House vacation] homes has increased significantly in the past year, prices have yet to catch up, making this an ideal time to buy. The average lakefront property home in the area is going for approximately $320,000, up only slightly from last year.”

The RE/MAX report focused on Tofino/Uclulet, Squamish, Whistler and the Okanagan/Shuswap, noting that each region had seen increasing demand and declining inventories as they became increasingly desired by Canadian and US buyers.

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