Cabin property values remain steady

There were four of us in the boat who took bets as we floated by the tiny cabin with the “for sale” sign, but the closest guess was $50,000 below the asking price.
Curious about the current value of cabins here in Rainy River District, I contacted broker Chad Jack, who works with Cousineau Real Estate out of Fort Frances.
According to him, the average 2008 vacation property in Rainy River District sold for $140,000—a 55 percent spike over 1998.
But are cabin property values still climbing?
“They seem to have hit their peak for now,” Chad stated. “There are fewer non-residents buying cabins in the district than what we’ve experienced in the past.”
He also believes, however, that there are enough residents purchasing cabins to keep values stable.
Does this mean it’s a good time to purchase a cabin? Well, the decision to buy a cabin is complicated.
Many people who grew up enjoying their parents’ cabins find it’s too expensive to purchase their own.
The cabin with the “for sale” sign, for example, is on a lake where properties have quadrupled in value over the course of a generation.
Plus, property taxes on cabins in unincorporated territories have jumped due to a four-year provincial tax reform plan initiated in 2009. Add upkeep, hydro, and insurance and you have yourself a formidable stack of bills.
On the flip side, however, cabins in Rainy River District still are relatively affordable.
The 2009 Recreational Property Report by Royal LePage, released in June, pegged Canada’s average price for a waterfront, land access, three-bedroom cottage at between $370,000 and $600,000.
And an Angus Reid Canada-wide survey determined the bottom average range in Ontario for recreational property at $140,000, the average price of cabins sold in Rainy River District.
According to these figures, cabins here are the cheapest in Ontario.
Just think what you’d pay if you lived in British Columbia, where cottages regularly sell for more than a million dollars while $345,000 gets you something very modest in an overcrowded area.
Rainy River District does share a trend with cottage country in B.C., however–the demand for amenities and easy maintenance.
“The higher-end cabins are prime value,” noted Chad. “People are looking for places to relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family.
“Cabins that need a lot of work don’t fit today’s hectic schedules.”
Chad also finds many potential buyers currently share a cabin with extended family. One of our neighbouring cabins, for example, is shared by 28 people.
Then there’s my friend who makes light of what a family member did to the cabin curtains. “She rolled under the bottoms of all the curtains and then stuffed them,” she says, motioning that the curtains look like female body parts.
At least this decorating decision doesn’t cost money, however. People naturally have differences about how much to spend on the cabin.
It should reassure them to know that practical and tasteful upgrades to cabins do substantially increase property value. I don’t think anyone is as lucky, however, as those who are just simply happy with their cabin arrangement.
The biggest investment for them is time–hopefully enough to enjoy the true values of cabin life.
Time to relax and drift around the lake makes all those expenses worthwhile.

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