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Restoring Balance in Canada’s Recreational Real Estate Market Amidst Softening Demand

The Impact of Pandemic-Driven Surge on Recreational Real Estate After a period of rapid growth in the recreational property sector during the pandemic, a combination of factors, including higher borrowing costs and waning demand, is leading to a stabilization of the market.

Current Market Trends

Shift from Rising Prices to Decreases In contrast to the upward trajectory observed in recent years, 2023 marks a noticeable decrease in recreational dwelling prices across most regions, except Alberta. This analysis comes from a comprehensive Royal LePage report that incorporates insights from over 200 brokers and real estate professionals across Canada and data from 50 distinct recreational markets.

Projected Market Outlook

Anticipated Contraction in Property Values Looking ahead, the projected trend indicates a 4.5% reduction in the total value of single-family homes in Canada’s recreational areas. This decline is attributed to decreasing demand, economic uncertainties, and a shortage of available housing.

Long-Term Perspective

Despite the projected moderation for this year, the overall national average price is expected to remain more than 32% higher than the levels seen in 2020. This follows two consecutive years of double-digit price increases in the recreational real estate sector.

Insights from Industry Leaders

Sensing a Return to Traditional Sales Patterns Phil Soper, Royal LePage’s President and CEO, notes a shift in Canada’s recreational property markets from intense year-round competition to a more seasonal sales pattern. He remarks on current market participants’ patience in property acquisition, which contrasts with the trends seen during the pandemic.

Forecast for the Recreational Housing Landscape

The following predictions provided by Royal LePage offer insights into the anticipated changes in aggregate single-family recreational property prices throughout 2023:

  • Atlantic Canada: An expected 3% decrease, bringing the aggregate price to $271,503.
  • Quebec: Foreseeing an 8% decline, leading to an aggregate valuation of $343,528.
  • Ontario: A projected 5% depreciation, resulting in an aggregate value of $603,060.
  • The Prairies: An estimated slight 3% contraction, yielding a valuation of $263,161.
  • Alberta: A unique projected increase of 0.5%, raising the aggregate price to $1,171,328.
  • British Columbia: Anticipating a gentle 2% decrease, resulting in an aggregate valuation of $1,049,874.

Insights on Ontario

Diminished Demand and Inventory In Ontario’s recreational market, 52% of experts report reduced demand compared to the previous year, with 61% acknowledging diminished property availability. Factors including buyer fatigue, higher borrowing costs, and low inventory contribute to this reduced demand.

British Columbia Market

Pent-Up Demand and Inventory Shortage In British Columbia, experts highlight limited inventory compared to the past two years. Despite potential buyers waiting for suitable properties, pent-up demand and limited inventory have led to a surge in interest. The scarcity of inventory stems partially from people choosing recreational areas as permanent residences, accelerated by the pandemic. A significant proportion of prospective buyers in this category are retirees seeking permanent residency in the region.

Insights on Alberta

Unique Escalation in Prices Alberta stands out with an anticipated increase in aggregate prices in 2023. This rise is primarily due to properties near Canmore, close to Banff National Park. The scarcity of inventory coupled with relatively stable demand contributes to the upward pressure on prices. Unlike the typical post-pandemic return to urban areas, many individuals continued to reside in Alberta’s mountain properties.

Quebec’s Situation

Higher Contraction in Property Prices Quebec’s recreational property market is expected to experience a larger decline in average prices compared to other Canadian markets. Economic uncertainties and higher borrowing costs contribute to this contraction. A patient approach from potential buyers and expanding inventory with revised asking prices from sellers are notable dynamics in this market.

Atlantic Canada

Shifting Demand and Inventory The Atlantic Canada region witnessed a wave of people seeking refuge during the pandemic but observed a reverse migration post-pandemic. Reduced inventory and demand characterize the current market, with sellers adopting a wait-and-see approach, expecting higher prices. The region is poised for a demand resurgence as borrowing costs stabilize.

Prairie Resilience

Steady Demand Amidst Uncertainties Recreational property markets in the Prairie provinces saw growth during the pandemic as local urban residents invested in nearby vacation properties. Despite economic uncertainties, demand remains steady, and cautious buyers are waiting for suitable properties. This, along with demand-supply dynamics, highlights the Prairie provinces’ market resilience.


Harmonizing Market Dynamics Canada’s recreational real estate sector is undergoing a harmonization process as demand retreats and equilibrium is sought across diverse regional markets. From varying borrowing costs to inventory shortages, the sector is gradually converging back to its traditional patterns, portraying a renewed outlook for the industry.

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