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Can you afford a vacation home? Here’s what it takes across Canada – Global News

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One of the wildest real estate bidding wars Markham, Ont.-based real estate agent Dayle Carmody has seen recently involved a home listed at $499,000 that sold for $300,000 over asking after just a couple of days and some 25 offers later.

The home wasn’t in one of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) suburbs that have attracted scores of urban buyers looking for more space and greenery amid the pandemic. It was in Hunstville, Ont. in the coveted Muskoka region, one of the province’s most popular vacation destinations.

READ MORE: What you can buy in housing markets across Canada for $500K, $1M and $1.5M

“Anything at that entry-level price point is getting multiple offers within a day,” says Carmody, who is a sales representative at Ferrow Real Estate.

But bidding wars are hardly unique to Ontario’s cottage country amid Canada’s pandemic-fuelled real estate boom. Whether you call it cottage, cabin, chalet or camp, if you’re hoping to snap up a vacation home this year, get ready for bare-knuckle competition.

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“From coast to coast, the line between primary residence and recreational property is blurring,” Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage said in a statement.


Click to play video: 'Money123: Owning a vacation home without breaking the bank'



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Money123: Owning a vacation home without breaking the bank


Money123: Owning a vacation home without breaking the bank – Aug 3, 2019

The result is a country-wide buying frenzy made worse by supply shortages that are often even more severe for recreational properties than they are in the overall real estate market, according to real estate agents. The trend began last summer and has continued to gain momentum, Soper said.

READ MORE: A better kind of timeshare? Why millennials are choosing co-ownership for vacation homes

Overall, Royal LePage expects the aggregate price of a home in Canada’s recreational markets to soar 15 per cent in 2021, to just over $500,000, the real estate company said in a forecast released Tuesday. That appreciation would come on top of an average price increase of 16 per cent in 2020, according to the report.

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Here’s what to expect across Canada in 2021:

Atlantic Canada


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Average price increase in 2021: 17 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: just under $227,000.

Along with Ontario, Atlantic Canada’s recreational market is poised to see the sharpest appreciation this year, with plenty of demand from out-of-province buyers from Ontario, Quebec and B.C., according to the report.

In Shediac, N.B., which claims to be the “lobster capital of the world,” sight-unseen home purchases are becoming “more prevalent,” says Heather FitzGerald at Royal LePage Atlantic in Moncton. Some of the out-of-town buyers are retirees returning home or “fulfilling the dream of a vacation home in the Maritimes,” while others are young professionals who can work remotely and have chosen to relocate to a waterfront cottage, he says.

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Forty per cent of surveyed real estate professionals representing buyers in the region said their clients are making four to seven offers on average before closing a sale, according to the report.

Quebec


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Average price increase: 15 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: just over $290,000.

In Quebec, Éric Léger,  a real estate broker at Royal LePage Humania sees a demographic clash between young buyers craving more space both indoors and outdoors, and older owners who are reluctant to sell because of concerns related to COVID-19, and a record housing supply crunch that makes it difficult for potential sellers to buy elsewhere.

“Eventually, the progress in the vaccination rollout should lead to increased [housing] inventory,” he says.

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Ontario


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Average price increase: 17 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: around $547,000.

In Ontario, Royal LePage sees average home prices in the recreational market climbing 17 per cent on top of a nearly 20 per cent increase in 2020.

At Ferrow Real Estate, Carmody says that while she is starting to detect bidding-war fatigue among some Ontario buyers looking to purchase at the edges of the GTA, in cottage country she expects multiple offers to continue to be the norm through the summer.

“There’s just so much demand,” she says. “Everybody’s trying to scoop up a cottage or recreational property.”

Prairies


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Average price increase: 9 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: just under $261,000.

While average home-price growth is expected to come in just shy of double-digit territory this year, the forecast increase comes after recreational property values soared by nearly 22 per cent in 2020, according to Royal LePage.

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While the region isn’t seeing an onslaught of buyers from out of province, local snowbirds are helping to drive up demand.

“I’ve had many clients trade their U.S. properties for waterfront cottages closer to home,” Rolf Hitzer of Royal LePage Top Producers Real Estate, says of properties in properties in Lac du Bonnet, near Winnipeg.

Alberta


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Average price increase: 6 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: just under $943,000.

Alberta is expected to see a — relatively speaking — tame average price increase of six per cent this year, according to the report. But the province already has Canada’s priciest recreational market with the aggregate price of a vacation home expected to come in just shy of $1 million by the end of 2021. The average is skewed by Canmore, a sought-after destination for its proximity to Banff National Park and luxury mountain properties.

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A growing segment of buyers comes from young and middle-aged Albertans wanting to relocate to the areas, says Brad Hawker of Royal LePage Rocky Mountain Realty.

British Columbia


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Average price increase in 2021: 13 per cent.

Average price expected at the end of 2021: just under $782,000.

Real estate agents in the province are expecting another torrid spring real estate markets ahead of another summer without the possibility of travel.

“Our biggest challenge right now is extremely low inventory and increased buyer demand,” says Francis Braam of Royal LePage Kelowna. “I expect we’ll see double-digit price gains in Central Okanagan this spring.”

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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