2023 Recreational Property Outlook: is life at the lake within your reach?


Many of us dream of having a recreational property to call our own.  A little place by the lake, a chalet at the ski hill, a cabin way off in the secluded woods. Somewhere to get away and relax.  But is your little slice of paradise really within reach in 2023?

I say yes.  Anything is possible with a plan and some data!

For starters, the Bank of Canada increased interest rates yet again, but only by 0.25%.  This less aggressive move indicates we may be at a turning point in the real estate market.  I believe this points to a return to pre-covid market conditions.

And that means 2023 is actually a great time to buy.

In fact, this may be the best time to buy real estate in the last decade.  There is significantly less competition for properties in general, prices are softening, there is more opportunity to negotiate and to include terms in your contract, where you couldn't do that in the frenzy of last few years.

So how achievable is locating and acquiring your dream recreation property? Let's focus on lakefront properties for this 2023 outlook.

Approximately only 3% of real estate listings in BC are waterfront, and only 1.5% are lakefront. This proves what we already know: lakefront properties are a VERY limited commodity, and they're not making any more.

Often, a lakefront property is the kind of real estate that's hung onto for decades within a family, a legacy property that holds memories for family members, extended family and friends.  Meaning the very way people interact with and cherish these properties makes them demonstrate slow turnover.

All this to say: when a listing appears that is of interest to you, jump on it! ALWAYS do your due diligence and consider all factors before making an offer and completing a purchase. This, I hope, goes without saying, but it never hurts to issue that reminder.  However, DO take swift action in contacting your realtor to schedule a showing.  Getting a sense of a place in person is extremely important, and rec properties are no exception.  Some buyers will buy sight-unseen and that comes with a considerable amount of risk.  Take the time and make the effort to get out and see, feel and experience what could be your own slice of paradise.  You really won't know what it's like until you get there, and when it's the RIGHT property for you, your investment will pay off.

For some, lakefront property is actually their primary residence, and for others, it may be a recreational (vacation) property. So whether or not a property is "recreational" truly depends on the buyer's circumstances.

It's possible that what you THINK you want in a rec property isn't actually what you want.  Ask yourself: how far away from people do I wish to be? Do I like crowds? Do I value seclusion?  Do I want to be able to see my neighbours? How close to a grocery store is necessary for my comfort? Am I willing to learn about septic systems? Can I handle being on well water? How far off the grid am I prepared to go?

These - and about 100 more questions - will help you and your realtor narrow down your criteria for your dream property.

Back to the outlook for 2023: in a lot of cases, some owners rely on the option to rent their recreational property on a short-term rental site like AirBnB or VRBO to offset some of the cost and make the ownership of lakefront property more accessible.  Take note that in the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District (which includes Shuswap Lake) short-term rental limitations are being proposed this year, which may absolutely affect the accessibility of ownership of lakefront property if those limitations are approved and passed.  Those limitations would impose difficulty on buyers who rely on the option to rent out the property.

In addition, the recent foreign buyer ban may have an affect on the availability of recreational properties as well.  Time will tell.

2023 will show us the sellers who have to sell, due to the interest rate hikes over the last year.  And 2023 may hold ideal conditions for purchasing property - some of the best conditions in a long time!  Reach out if you have any questions about real estate, the Kamloops market, or acquiring a recreational property of your own. Good luck out there and never stop dreaming.

For a discussion about recreational properties in 2023, listen to this episode of the Kamloops Real Estate Insider Podcast.

Browse the episodes of the Kamloops Real Estate Insider Podcast to get informed, stay in the loop and keep up to date on the real estate conditions in Kamloops and area.