'Thanking our lucky stars': Canadian resort real estate grateful for high U.S. dollar

Realtors who sell Canadian resort properties say the low loonie is spurring interest from American buyers who are looking to pick up cheap vacation homes north of the border.

See Full Article

"We're thanking our lucky stars," said Brad Hawker from Royal LePage Rocky Mountain Realty in Canmore, Alta.

While the housing market in Calgary - 130 kilometres to the east -is suffering due to plummeting oil prices, that hasn't been the case in Canmore with a 70-cent Canadian dollar.

In the mountain town just minutes from Banff, an 1,100-square-foot condo boasting two bedrooms, two baths and beautiful views is listed at $429,000. But when you factor in the exchange, that's only about US$296,000.

Hawker said he's fielded a number of inquiries from both the United States and the United Kingdom. He's also seen interest from Asia and Europe.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge flood of people immediately but it's started," he said.

"It takes a while. People don't just arrive and come for a holiday and then buy something if they've never been here before. Usually they have to come back a second time, and that's something I expect we'll see over the next six to 18 months."

Hawker said tourism is booming in the area.

"Business has not been this good for 25 years. It's incredible."

Prices and demand remain high in the ski-resort town of Whistler, B.C.

One property - a 3,400-square-foot luxury home with five bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths, cherry floors and custom totem poles - is listed for more than $4.2 million. That's about US$2.9 million.

Christopher Wetaski, who is with ReMax Sea to Sky Real Estate in Whistler, says he is also seeing an increase in American clients and expects he'll see more as people begin to realize the power of the U.S. dollar.

"It just takes a little while for them to realize what the value is. When they show up in Whistler and start spending money and realize it's a deal - if they happen to be in the market - they kind of clue in."

With the dollar close to par in the recent past, the number of Americans buying property in Whistler had been on the decline over the last five or six years - dropping to five per cent of all sales from a peak of 20 per cent.

Wetaski said the strength of the U.S. dollar is likely to push prices up and flush out more inventory.

And not all of the extra business will be from south of the border.

"Some of our buyers are also from Hong Kong," said Wetaski, who added they'll be coming to Canada next month.

"You get Americans, Canadians, British, French, all living in Hong Kong making American dollars, and they like to come to Whistler during Chinese New Year. They'll probably be looking at real estate as well so that should be a good year for that."


Latest Economic News

  • Asian stocks hit by gloom on Wall Street

    Economic CTV News
    TOKYO -- Shares fell broadly in Asia on Wednesday after a gloomy session on Wall Street, where shares of household names like appliance maker Whirlpool and athletic apparel maker Under Armour suffered their worst declines in years. Source
  • New Wells Fargo CEO to employees: 'We're sorry'

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Newly appointed Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan told employees Tuesday that he is "sorry for the pain" that the bank's employees have suffered as a result of the company's sales practices scandal. Source
  • Canadian malls need to diversify to become destinations for shoppers, say experts

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The rise of online shopping is forcing Canadian malls to diversify and become destinations that offer a range of services including entertainment and sporting venues in addition to traditional clothing stores, a Montreal real estate conference heard Tuesday. Source
  • Quebec says it's on track for $2.2-billion surplus in current fiscal year

    Economic CTV News
    Quebec is projecting a higher than expected surplus of $2.2 billion in the current fiscal year and is also abolishing a health tax two years ahead of schedule. Information available over the summer led the government to call for a surplus of $1.8 billion for fiscal 2016-17, which ends next March 31, but Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said Tuesday that provincial revenues have increased more than expected. Source
  • Pipeline company asks protesters to leave North Dakota land

    Economic CTV News
    CANNON BALL, N.D. - The developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline said Tuesday that the dozens of protesters who have camped on company-owned land since the weekend are trespassing and that "lawless behaviour will not be tolerated. Source
  • Red ink will rule, but optimism in the oilpatch as earnings released

    Economic CBC News
    Precision Drilling announced some full-on good news last week with its third-quarter earnings. Although the company lost $47 million in the third quarter and revenue was down by nearly a half, it also said that it had rehired 1,000 workers. Source
  • CN Rail slightly raises outlook for 2016 despite dip in Q3 profits, revenues

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canadian National Railway Co. boosted its earnings forecast for 2016 despite seeing its profits and revenues decline in the third quarter. The Montreal-based railway raised it outlook for the year, saying it expects adjusted earnings will increase by about one per cent above the $4.44 per share earned last year. Source
  • CN Rail recalls workers to prepare for the smooth handling of bumper grain crop

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canadian National Railway Co. says it has recalled laid-off employees to handle the start of what is expected to be bumper grain crops in Canada and the United States. "We're handling and ready to handle more of the crop that has been produced," chief operating officer Mike Cory said Tuesday after the Montreal-based carrier reported third-quarter results. Source
  • Former Expos owner, Seagram's titan Charles Bronfman reflects on life as a 'late bloomer'

    Economic CTV News
    He steered Seagram's Co. Ltd. to great success and brought the Montreal Expos to Canada, but Canadian billionaire Charles Bronfman insists he was a "late bloomer," after years of struggling with low self-esteem in his early life. Source
  • iPhone 7 sales, holiday outlook in focus as Apple reports after the bell Tuesday

    Economic CBC News
    Apple Inc. will report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings after the close of trading Tuesday, with analysts expecting the tech giant to report a third straight quarterly revenue drop and its first drop in annual revenue in 15 years. Source