Are you dreaming about your own private rural acreage? A place where you can roam with your dog off-leash, where you won’t see anyone but the birds and squirrels and trees? If you are having these rural land dreams, you’re not alone. And there is nothing wrong with that! The last three weeks have seen many Lower Mainland residents realize that they may be restricted to their homes for a relatively prolonged period of time.
It makes sense that city dwellers and even suburbanites are itching to flee urban areas! Even before being told to shelter in place, people were panic buying, hoarding and now chronic line-ups and human congestion plague grocery stores and places where people must all go to get food and the necessities of life. Will this be the new norm? The anxiety and fear of living shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other people dependant on what is left on the shelves when you get your turn in the store is not a comforting thought.
Urban citizens are at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to stay socially distant and continue to remain active outdoors away from others. Urban lot sizes do not leave a lot of yard and green space for the average family, and a condo has even less personal space. Many fled to their cabins and secondary residences away from the city, to wait out this lock down, even though they were being asked to stay away from small rural communities with limited services. Many lake side communities in the Cariboo are reporting arrivals of summer residents who believe it is their right to travel to isolate, no matter what the Provincial Government recommends.
Going rural sustainable doesn’t mean you need to have a huge acreage. Even a half-acre of land gives you enough sanctuary room for a home, a shop, a chicken coup, a large garden and room to play. There are countless rural subdivisions across the province with .5 to 5 acre lots. Rural subdivisions can offer a range of services, some have paved roads, most have hydro at the lot boundary, and you would have a well and a septic system.
When your home and location are no longer providing a great quality of life, it may be time to consider a lifestyle move. If you are wanting to list and sell your urban residence this spring and make the lifestyle move to a rural town or acreage I urge you to forge ahead with your plans. This decision can only increase your safety and future security as land as a hard asset will always retain value.
This month’s surge of rural property inquiries is just the beginning, and we expect to see many more urban homeowners follow suit, with planned lifestyle moves in 2020. If you own property or land for future investment income, now is the time to list and sell it. Market fall, in some form, is inevitable as the Canadian economy is treading water with the infusion of federally printed money and stimulus offerings. We don’t know what challenges will face us all, if the economy fails to restart. Your return on a land investment is at the peak of the cycle now and this needs to be considered in land sale strategies. If we reach a point of zero or negative interest rates, the money printing will stop, and so will the issuing of new mortgages. The market fall could take years to cycle up again and if you need to see your return on investment in the next few years, now is the time to take advantage of the high benchmark prices being set in B.C.
Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.
Read the entire column on our website, www.agassizharrisonobserver.com.