A sagging currency might not be good news for Canadians; however, the latest figures have shown that many foreign investors are taking advantage to snap up property, particularly ski chalets in desirable locations. With the exchange rate meaning many people can afford much more than they could a few years ago, it is the perfect time to buy rental properties and holiday homes. There are also renovation jobs available, which could make a pretty penny in the future.
Buying ski chalets is extremely popular at the moment. This is especially true in Alberta, where the dropping price of oil has meant real estate values have also declined. Coupled with a 25 per cent fall in the Canadian dollar value from 2013, there are great bargains to be had. Dave Smith, owner of a New York information technology organisation, is searching for a property in Alberta. ‘Canada is gorgeous, but I’m on more of a time schedule because the dollar is so bad. It’s crazy not to invest in it now because it’s just a matter of time before it bounces back,’ he explained.
Alberta’s mountain cites of Banff and Canmore offer beautiful, picturesque scenery and a fantastic array of ski chalets and holiday homes. Although the number of domestic buyers has dried up, local realtors hope that foreign investment will help to balance the slump. Christian Dubois from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada said: ‘Things dried up significantly until about six months ago, when the dollar started turning. In fairly strong numbers, we’re starting to see inquiries coming again.’ The largest uptick in interest is from Britain and the United States, Mr Dubois explained, with demand levels growing to those of the mid-2000s.
Not just Alberta is noting rising interest from overseas buyers. British Columbia continues to benefit from a lot of Asian investment, with this money often credited for keeping the Vancouver real estate market buoyant. Foreign investment is also set to continue rising here.
There are still some confidence issues for investors, particularly those who bought property in the early 2000s and have seen values slump. For example, many US buyers snapped up holiday homes at this time, when the Canadian dollar saw similar declines and hit a record low. The financial crisis in 2008 forced many people to sell their homes at a loss. Despite this, for those in a financially safe position, taking advantage of the current market could offer long-term investment opportunities.
Apart from ski chalets, there are some great opportunities to be had in renovation. North of Toronto lies Muskoka Lakes, this has long been popular with rich and famous buyers wanting the biggest and best lakeside cottages. The slumped dollar means such properties are more affordable for many people, however, and investors can take advantage by building up. Bob Clarke, a builder and real estate agent explained: ‘The Americans that own in Muskoka right now are doing massive renovations − complete tear-downs or rebuilds. And that’s based on the dollar.’