Western Canada’s cheapest recreation land is in B.C.

Oceanfront in the Gulf Islands is on the market for less than half the price of a city condo
Five acres with a small cabin at Francois Lake in B.C.’s high Cariboo is listed for $52,900 | LandQuest Realty Corp.

The benchmark price of a detached house in Metro Vancouver is now $1.3 million and a typical condominium apartment is $600,000, so $50,000 will buy less than 80 square feet of housing in the city.

But it is much different in the recreational market of vast British Columbia, where a day’s drive can lead to lakefront acreages for less than $40,000, according to exclusive data provided to Business in Vancouver byNiho Land and Cattle Company and its subsidiaries, LandQuest Realty Corp.andLandcor Data Corp., which track all B.C. real estate title transactions weekly.

The lake-rich Cariboo offers the best recreational value, according to Niho founder Rudy Nielsen, considered the single largest landholder in the province.

This year, the average price paid for a Cariboo recreational title is $87,845, a 21% increase from three years earlier.

The following list of B.C. recreational properties priced at less than $60,000 is courtesy of LandQuest.

•Three-acre lakefront parcel on Burns Lake in north-central B.C., near Tweedsmuir National Park, is accessible only by boat or air ($32,900).

•Just over five acres near lakes and the town of Fort St. James in northeast B.C, with power and phone to the lot line, and all-season road access ($39,500).

•6.8 acres on Francois Lake in the high Cariboo. The power is in to the lot line, and there is a nearby resort with a restaurant, store and boat launch ($41,000).

•Five acres with a small cabin a short walk from Francois Lake just south of Burns Lake has power and easy access ($52,000).

Gulf Islands

After a near-decade slump, prices are slowly recovering in the Gulf Island archipelago between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The average recreational property sale price this year is $222,624, up just 4% from 2014. In 2017’s first five months, 48 parcels have sold on the islands, with an average lot size of 3.5 acres.

“The lots on Sidney Island remain the best value in the Gulf Islands in my opinion,” said Richard Osborne, LandQuest president. “We have sold 17 lots since 2015, but there are still a few really good deals left.”

The lots include strata-titled oceanfront properties ranging from $199,000 to $390,000.

The other B.C. oceanfront parcels for less than the half the price of a Vancouver bachelor suite include Haida Gwaii, where $139,000 will buy 6.8 acres, with sandy beach on the Pacific Ocean; and north of Tofino on the western edge of Vancouver Island, where 2.7 acres of oceanfront in Hot Springs Cove is listed at $79,000. 

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