The lure of buying property in cottage country is becoming increasingly more popular for Canadians who like the idea of having a second property out in nature or even living in that environment full-time.
With recreational property predicted to increase by 15 per cent this year according to the Royal LePage Canadian Recreation Property Report 2021 issued in March, rec property buyers are looking for lots.
A key destination place for many in Alberta and abroad has become CottageClub Ghost Lake, located between Calgary and the Banff Park gates – a recreational community with a long list of year-round amenities at a fraction of the price compared to Canmore.
The community has just launched their final phase of 55 lots. Buyers have been scooping up the remaining lots with great frequency. CottageClub Managing Partner Don Stengler outlines why Rec Property is going up and
the advantages of buying a lot with the intent to customize and build a cottage later.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the trend to cottage life faster than anticipated, but the trend was coming anyways. The market is changing where people want to live and technology is driving that,” he says. “You now have high speed internet at the cottage and more and more people would prefer to work from home and home can be your cottage.
“Over COVID, we had the highest occupancy out there of cottage use. Even people who have this as their second home, most of them moved out to the cottage full time during COVID. It gave them more freedom.
“We also started seeing young people wanting that lifestyle of living at the lake and they work primarily off the internet anyway in their business whatever they do. They’re connected and they can live anywhere in the world. It’s the same trend that Calgary’s seeing where we’re attracting well-educated young people with good jobs from all over the world who are now moving to Calgary because it’s affordable. There’s lots of recreation in the Calgary area to keep them busy and of course some of that has spilled
over to CottageClub. Leading our sales this year are people from out of province mainly Ontario. We’re also seeing a lot of buyers from Europe who have a connection to Alberta.”
And one of the keys to the success of the community is the easy process buyers can embark on with the purchase of a lot. CottageClub has written over 40 lot deals so far this year.
“Many people like the idea of being able to buy the lot themselves then have control over the cottage design and build. We’re here to help guide them. We have different architectural design people who are familiar with CottageClub. It does give people the ability to take control and make some decisions along the way themselves which is why they’re willing to buy the lot. They want that process,” says Stengler.
Some buyers will go with a known model that has already been built in CottageClub because it’s a known commodity. They can get exact pricing and have it built very quickly. Others will spend a year working on custom drawings and are very selective on their builder. The website also has several different cottage ideas that people can investigate.
CottageClub Ghost Lake features a gated community, exclusive beach, boat launch, sports areas, community gardens, extensive trail system, parks, playgrounds, and a Private Recreation Centre. It offers cottage lot options for almost every lifestyle and budget with no building commitment and strong architectural controls. It recently launched its fifth and final
phase of development, featuring fully-serviced cottage sites.
Phase Five includes a limited selection of walkout lots. The new and final phase offers mountain views, lake views or private retreat cottage sites. There are even a few lakefront homesites available.
CottageClub is located between Banff and Calgary on Highway 1A along the shoreline of Ghost Lake, an 1,866-acre freshwater lake with views across the lake looking west framed by the Rocky Mountains. It is minutes from world-class amenities such as Banff National Park, Kananaskis Park, Nakiska Ski Resort, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Ski Resorts, Canmore, and championship golf courses.
Stengler says the community includes 350 cottage lots with about 200 cottages already built. He says about one third of the cottage owners are calling their property their primary home.
The average lots available are a minimum of 50 feet wide by 100 feet long. There are a few smaller lots available at 36 feet by 100 feet. Every lot on the project backs onto green space. The least expensive lot is $129,000 with the average being about $200,000.
“The new phase we’re opening about half the lots are walk out lots. Similar to what you see in the city where you can build a walk out basement,” says Stengler.
“The project evolved last year, and the County allowed us to now have full basements where before we were only allowed crawl spaces. We’re now allowed natural gas to the cottage whereas before we were only allowed natural gas to the rec centre.”
The easy three step buying process is proving to be attractive for buyers. It includes:
1. The Learning Stage
– Learn about the CottageClub. Explore the website, call 403-214-0292 with questions or fill out the lot enquiry form;
– Tour CottageClub with the sales team;
– With a lot purchase, the buyer has full access and can start enjoying all the CottageClub amenities.
2. The Lot Selection
– The lot map includes lot prices, lot sizes and availability;
– Ask questions, stand on the lot or lots that are of interest;
– Does standing on the lot make you smile?
– Finalize lot selection;
– Enter into a Purchase Agreement for the lot selected;
– A 10 per cent deposit is required at time of writing the Purchase Agreement fully refundable under the Rescission Period;
– Another 10 per cent deposit required after Rescission Period and all conditions waived, balance on closing (title transfer);
– A special financing program is also available to set up for the lot purchase. For details call 403-214-0292.
3. The Cottage
– After the purchase of a lot, it is time to work on a cottage design;
– When people are ready to build a cottage, they can bring in their own builder or CottageClub will help pair buyers with one of the Professional On-Site Builders;
– Another option is to complete cottage drawings then tender the cottage construction to interested builders. CottageClub can help guide buyers with this;
– No Building Commitment, means no timeline to start the cottage construction but once people start digging, they have 180 days to complete the exterior;
– Architectural controls are in place to protect property values.