Purchasing a weekend getaway or vacation home doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. With the rise in interest rates and property prices, co-ownership with friends or family has become an intriguing option for some prospective owners of recreational properties. From multi-unit dwellings in Canmore to lofty chalets in the Mont-Tremblant, we explore the trends, opportunities and risks to consider for co- ownership, along with the most desirable locales across four Canadian regions.


A fractional ownership model is popular in the Canmore region, featuring a predetermined schedule divided among the owners. According to Christopher Vincent, Senior Vice-President of Sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, this model is ideal for families with “kids who are playing sports in the city, who are not going to be here every weekend, things like that,” says Vincent. Co-ownership agreements among families are also on the rise, trading off weekends or alternating between winters and summers. The key consideration in such arrangements is lifestyle. Vincent notes that people are snapping up detached or semi-detached duplexes or hotel condos — anything with three or more units — in the downtown core near shops and restaurants or within a five-minute drive to resorts like Silvertip or Eagle Terrace, where they can ski in the winter and golf in the summer.


In the Laurentians, property owners seek residences with ski-in ski-out access or lakefront homes. “Don’t even consider anything else,” says Herb Ratsch, a Sotheby’s International Realty Québec real estate broker. At Sommet des Neiges, a resort in Mont-Tremblant, buyers can acquire a quarter share, equivalent to one week per month. “The beauty about buying that particular building is that even if you buy one week, you have access to the building 365 [days a year],” Ratsch explains. This access encompasses amenities like the lake, ski lockers, the owner’s lounge and parking. For those looking for a larger place, Ratsch suggests the luxury townhomes at Storied Places, offering fractional one-tenth ownership. Here, owners enjoy access to four weeks per year, which they can select at their leisure, while the remaining months are pooled on an as-available basis. Storied Places is also part of a club allowing owners to exchange their weeks for stays at sister resorts in locations such as the Bahamas or Jamaica. However, Ratsch notes that these properties often face challenges on the resale market. “There’s often a lot of inventory on the market, which keeps prices generally low,” says Ratsch. “Buy it because it fits your lifestyle, not because you’re making a real estate investment.”


Where else can you ski and golf in the same day? In the Okanagan, condos and townhouses at ski resorts like SilverStar, lakefront properties in Spirit Ridge, and fractional ownership properties on a golf course with lake access cater to individuals with active lifestyles. Additionally, these properties can be rented out during periods of absence, provided local zoning bylaws regulating short-term rentals are adhered to. However, co-ownership still bears risks, particularly for properties protected by family trusts. Unlike fractional ownership, which operates on a clear and perpetually rotating calendar, family trusts may lack a similarly defined schedule. Families often opt for sharing alternating weekends or holidays, a practice that can become complicated with different families and conflicting dates. Marnie Perrier, a sales associate at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, urges friends or families considering joint ownership to establish a clear exit strategy for when things go awry. She humorously notes, “Like, you didn’t do the dishes the right way, or you didn’t sweep the floor the right way.”

Co-ownership provides a safe solution for pooling resources and making vacation home ownership financially viable in the Sunshine Coast amid rising property prices and interest rates. Gina Stockwell, a Senior Vice-President of Sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, says that fam- ily trusts are common in the region. While trusts require a complex legal structure, they protect legacy properties within the family, from external litigation, such as divorce. In areas including Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour, larger cabins, acreages with multiple dwellings or spacious homes are favoured by co-owners wanting to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. “We’re still very much a recreational and retirement destination,” says Stockwell. “So, I would say people that are downsizing and moving out of big, urban centres are coming here for more of a quiet life.” Prospective co-owners, however, should establish clear guidelines regarding property usage, maintenance and investment decisions, and draw up contingency plans to mitigate financial risks.

Each co-ownership arrangement is unique, making the need for careful planning and legal counsel crucial for success. Yet, for those with active lifestyles or entering retirement, co-owning in a recreational community is great for enjoying a vacation property without significant financial commitment.

By Josh Greenblatt — *Insight: The Art Of Living Magazine – The Metamorphosis Issue.

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