Prices of some Sask. cabins increase as COVID-19 drives demand for recreation homes

·2 min read

The pandemic might be pummelling the economy across Canada, but a new report says that it's actually helping to bolster part of Saskatchewan's real estate market.

The average price of cabins and lake houses in the province have increased after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report says.

As a result, there's been an increase in demand for vacation properties sought by locals who are hoping to get away while staying close to home.

The Canadian real estate company, which annually tracks and reports price variations of winter vacation homes across Canada, measured a 31.64 per cent price increase for single-family properties near Saskatchewan's Emma Lake and Christopher Lake.

The prices jumped from an average price of $296,250 in 2019 to $390,000 in 2020 so far.

Meanwhile, waterfront property at the two lakes also saw a 6.34 per cent bump — average prices were up from $489,000 in 2019 to $520,000 in 2020.

"Saskatchewan's recreational market is driven by its affordability," Lou Doderai, a broker with Royal LePage Icon Realty, was quoted as saying in the press release that accompanied the report.

"Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to one-and-a-half hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week."

Albertans buying lakeside, Royal LePage says

Saskatchewan's western neighbours might also be contributing to increased demand, the report said.

According to Royal LePage, Albertans who are now working from home are snagging lakefront property in Saskatchewan — and working from there instead.

"With the increasing ability to work remotely, Saskatchewan's lakeside communities are becoming more popular with Albertans who don't mind the drive," Doderai said.

For the time being, the trend might continue.

Royal LePage projects that the price of a recreational home in the prairies will increase by an additional four per cent next year.