'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."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Ivanka Trump store opening up in Trump Tower lobby

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- An Ivanka Trump-branded store is opening in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, selling handbags, jewelry and candles. A representative for the first daughter's brand says the store opened Thursday on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue will add shoes and clothes next year. Source
  • Ontario offers electric vehicle rebates of up to $75,000 for businesses

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Ontario is offering businesses rebates of up to $75,000 for buying electric and other low-carbon vehicles. Businesses that have purchased or will purchase eligible vehicles -- including electric and natural trucks -- after Sept. Source
  • Bombardier on track to deliver on turnaround goals, CEO says

    Economic CBC News
    Bombardier Inc. says it's on track to deliver on its promised five-year turnaround in 2020 as its aerospace and railway divisions are projected to deliver better revenues and profits. Chief executive Alain Bellemare told a New York investor day Thursday that the transportation giant has a strong runway for growth now that it is winding down heavy spending to develop the C Series and Global 7000 business jet. Source
  • Transat plans hotel network in Mexico, Caribbean

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Transat A.T. plans to spend $750 million over the coming years to develop a hotel chain in Mexico and the Caribbean that it hopes will help to put it in a better position to face heightened competition from Canadian rivals. Source
  • New infrastructure agency names interim executive to oversee investments

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A board director for the new federal infrastructure financing agency is temporarily stepping down from his post to take on a top executive job in the organization. Bruno Guilmette was appointed last month to the board of directors of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Source
  • Lyft ride-hailing app being watched closely by transit officials in Toronto

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The arrival of Lyft in Toronto has raised questions about the impact of such ride-hailing companies on the city's public transit system, which governments are spending billions to expand. The San Francisco-based company that operates in about 300 American cities launched in Toronto this week -- its first market outside the United States. Source
  • Rates would likely be higher if Bank of Canada took mechanical approach: Poloz

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says with the economy running at close to full tilt, a mechanical approach to setting interest rates would suggest higher borrowing rates should already be in place. Source
  • Poloz explains why interest rates should be higher, but aren't

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says with the economy running at close to full tilt, a mechanical approach to setting interest rates would suggest higher borrowing rates should already be in place. Source
  • Buying bitcoin is more like gambling than investing: Poloz

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz is sounding the alarm on Bitcoin, calling the purchase of the cryptocurrency "closer to gambling than investing." In a speech at the Canadian Club Toronto on Thursday, the governor said Bitcoin is not a reliable store of value and does not constitute "money. Source
  • These are the things that Bank of Canada's Poloz says keep him awake at night

    Economic CBC News
    Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will appear on CBC News Network's On the Money in an interview with host Peter Armstrong at 4 p.m. ET. You might forgive Stephen Poloz if he has a lot on his mind. Source