That’s how many recreational properties changed hands in B.C. in 2016—a 75 per cent surge over the previous year and up almost threefold from 2011. Vacationing Lower Mainlanders may dream of ownership as they snooze on rented lakefront decks this summer, but British Columbians aren’t driving sales, says Rudy Nielsen, president of Niho Land & Cattle Co. Ltd., one of the province’s largest recreational property dealers.
It’s Albertans, followed closely by American, European and Chinese buyers capitalizing on a cheap loonie while securing a potential sanctuary in uncertain times. “I just sold a remote piece of property to an English family, sight unseen, and the buyer said he wanted a safe place for his grandson to go if everything went to pieces,” Nielsen relates. Foreign buyers see Canada this way, he says: we have a majority government, regulated banks and lots of fresh water. “And B.C. doesn’t have foreign ownership restrictions, unlike some other provinces.”