Down by the bay

Recreation properties provide fun in the sun and homes away from home

Calgary may be the second best place to live in Canada – as ranked by Money Sense in 2014 – but that doesn’t mean residents of the area don’t have another abode somewhere where they head for some rest and relaxation.

For those with the means, living life to the fullest often involves purchasing a second home allowing the ability to ski, swim, golf or simply bask in the sunshine moments from their front door.

Nancy and Terry Schmautz of Okotoks purchased a recreation property 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico six years ago. Nancy said the couple had spent the last 25 years touring the coast via time shares or cruise ships.

“We’ve had exposure to many different parts of Mexico and, at the end of the day, it was the beautiful big bay, that’s protected, and the mountains and the jungle that we just love,” she said.

In their case, Nancy said having a recreation property provides a home away from home.

“Obviously, you’ve got another home so you know what you have when you go,” she said. “You know what your accommodations are, you can customize it yourself, and for us, it’s the community we’re in that makes it familiar.

While the Schmautzs went out of country for their recreation property, some hot spots closer to home include McGregor Lake and CottageClub at Ghost Lake.

Lake McGregor, located just over an hour from Calgary, has facilities for birding, camping, fishing, cycling, power boating wind surfing and more, and is home to Lake McGregor Country Estates. The development includes a beach, dock and clubhouse with indoor pool.

At just 25 minutes west of the city, CottageClub is situated on Ghost Lake. This summer construction will finish on a 10,000 square foot recreation centre set to include an indoor swimming pool, community kitchen and barbecue station.

Buying a recreation property is easier when interest rates are lower, as is the case now. In January, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz announced the overnight interest rate was decreasing to 0.75 per cent after remaining at one per cent since September 2010. A number of financial institutions responded by lowering their respective interest rates.

A survey conducted by Royal LePage in 2013 found 82 per cent of Canadians said interest rates would influence their decision to purchase a recreational property. Of those, 58 per cent felt added urgency to buy a recreational property while interest rates were still low.

“Canadians have long valued the ability to escape the city to spend time with friends and family,” said Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper. “A place to get away from the pressures of daily life seems to be more attractive now than ever. From coast to coast, Canada offers some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes and friendly communities.”

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