The price of a view

In the Lower Mainland, a pricey view may be unattainable, but a smaller community can offer a lake vista or mountain peaks at a fraction of the cost

Whether it’s ocean, mountains, lake or hills, a view turns a house into a dream home. Having a postcard-perfect vista in Greater Vancouver, however, may be a mere pipe dream for many.

Look beyond the metropolis’s borders, though, and sites with beautiful sights are that much more within reach. Getting into the recreational real-estate market in other parts of the province now means great potential for growth in the future.

Take properties in and around Vernon as an example. Nearby are several bodies of water: Okanagan, Kalamalka, Swan and Wood Lakes. Silver Star Ski Resort is 30 minutes away. Predator Ridge, a community with two golf courses, is 10 minutes away. “As Vernon grows and as land availability lessens and becomes more restricted, certainly the value has gone up,” says Paul Betts, president of GAP Marketing, who is working with a new, hillside development in the area called Turtle Mountain. There, he says, lots have increased approximately 25 percent since the spring of 2016. “As it establishes itself with more businesses, industry, and technology, the area presents more employment opportunities.

“I can leave Vernon and be sitting at the gate at the Kelowna International Airport in 45 minutes, whereas in Calgary it takes me half an hour to get out my subdivision,” he adds. “You’ve got direct flights to Vancouver and Toronto. And you’ve got a worldclass ski resort and a world-class golf course.”

While you may find waterfront recreational property at affordable prices in rural B.C., you may not want to be too remote. Nearby amenities and restaurants add to a recreational property’s worth. “The value grows where people go,” says Ozzie Jurock, founder of Jurock’s Real Estate Insider. “If you like Ski-Dooing and you don’t mind being in the middle of nowhere, that’s great, but don’t expect there to be McDonald’s or Amazon.”

Read on to discover a few places in B.C. where a recreational property with a view may be more accessible than you might think.

The views in Vernon

Located in the North Okanagan about 50 kilometres from Kelowna, 440 kilometres from Vancouver, and 550 kilometres from Calgary, Vernon has beaches, trails, golf, farms, festivals, mountain biking, wellness resorts, and, within a one-hour drive, more than 100 lakes.

Less than a minute from downtown Vernon, homes at Turtle Mountain are perched up on the side of a hill with sweeping views of the city, Lake Okanagan, and the valley. The 200-acre community, built by Everton Ridge Homes, is zoned for 300 homes, including ranchers, custom-built walkout bungalows, and two- and three-storey walkups.

Prices range from $579,900 to more than $900,000, with home sizes running from about 2,100 square feet to 4,500, including a finished basement.

One family bought a 2,800-square-foot walkout bungalow with four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, three-car garage, bar, exercise area, and golf simulator room.

Buyers are mostly from the Lower Mainland, Alberta, and Vernon itself; some have purchased a home for recreational use now and retirement later.

Rossland nestled in the mountains

Six kilometres north of the U.S. border and nearly halfway between Vancouver and Calgary on Highway 3B is Rossland, one of Canada’s highest cities: it sits at an elevation of 1,023 metres in the crater of an ancient volcano. Often literally above the clouds, the town gets abundant sunshine.

It also gets heaps of snow. Three kilometres from the town’s core is Red Mountain, which gets snowfalls that typically exceed 750 centimetres per year. The resort is known for its epic powder, nearly 3,000 feet of vertical, in-bounds cat-skiing, and unparalleled gladed tree runs.

It’s a world away from Whistler in terms of real-estate prices. Here’s a recent listing from Christine Albo, Century 21 Kootenay Homes sales representative: a custom-built, five-bedroom, 2,530-square-foot Douglas-fir timber-frame home on 4.5 acres near the base of Red Mountain, with cross-country trails at its doorstep, is offered at $689,000.

The home, at 245 Mayer Street, has a massive window wall with views of the ski resort and surrounding emerald forest. Then there are vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, a stone fireplace, double garage, sun deck, and more.

New developments taking shape in Lantzville

Lantzville is just north of Nanaimo, which is an 18-minute plane ride to downtown Vancouver. The coastal community has 4.5 kilometres of waterfront with gorgeous beaches as well as multiple parks and trails for hiking, running, mountain-biking, horse-back riding, climbing, and dog-walking.

The Foothills, Lone Tree Properties’ 1,838-acre master-planned neighbourhood, is currently in the second of nine phases. Called Broad Ridge Pass, it has home sites with ocean, mountain, and forest views. Sites range from $329,000 to over $600,000.

Zoned for 730 homes, the community will also have a mixed-use village and a lush 900-acre park; call it full-time recreational living.

“It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise,” says Ben Hurlbutt of Engel & Völkers Development Services. “Getting in now is part of creating the value to come. It’s an amazing new opportunity.”

A Golden opportunity

In addition to attracting skiers and snowboarders at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden is an adventure hot spot for hiking, biking, rafting, fishing and golfing in summer. Impressive mountain views await at the new Rocky Pointe development of 15 two-bedroom condos of about 950 square feet. One-bedroom condos are about 650 square feet and priced from about $239,000. It’s all about the view!