« Air Canada brings small pets on board (for a price) | Main | Developing countries face tough road to recovery »

June 19, 2021

Anxious cottage buyers getting desperate

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Canadians are willing to make big sacrifices to own a cottage, and more want to use their oasis year-round as a recreational property or even as their primary residence, according to recent research by Royal LePage.

To pursue their dream of buying a recreational property, most would be willing to do just about anything. That includes purchasing a property with family or friends, renting it out to make ends meet, making it their primary residence, buying a handyman special, or downsizing their city home in the hopes of building up equity somewhere on the water.

What didn’t make the list though were fractional cottages, which is surprising since they seem to popping up all over, particularly in Ontario  and B.C.

Fractional ownership is somewhat similar to purchasing a timeshare, but with important differences: You purchase one or more shares in a cottage, often part of a larger development, and are assigned proportional weeks of usage called intervals. Normally, you’d have access to your cottage five weeks per year, one week in every season, plus an additional week. The cottage remains empty a couple weeks each year for maintenance and repairs.

Since setups like these are available to the owner for more of the year than a timeshare, they’re often easier easy to rent out when unoccupied. And many fractional properties are linked with larger vacation-exchange networks like Resort Condominiums International.

What’s the catch? Well, it’s not your own place so you can’t leave your photos lying around and there are generally lots of rules. In some developments, for instance, you can’t hang bathing suits out to dry or barbecue just anywhere. Nor can you make any changes to your decor or furnishings without your co-owners' approval. And only some are pet friendly. 

Still, for as little as $50,000 and $150-200 a month in homeowners association fees to cover maintenance, power, and property taxes, this kind of shared ownership can be an attractive option for some.But you're definitely paying a premium, depending on the location and the level of amenities.  

Would it work for you?



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...