Cottage life attracting more retirees, first-time buyers

Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by Nancy Benson of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty.

Nancy Benson watermarkThe summer cottage is no longer just a family affair.

For many years, the market for recreational properties was largely made up of couples with children who wanted a retreat where they could unwind and create happy family memories. 

Of course, many buyers still fall into that category.

But in recent years, we Realtors have seen more and more retirees and first-time buyers also choosing to purchase cottages and country homes, for varying reasons. 

As a Realtor with more than 30 years of experience helping clients in the Ottawa market, I’ve had many clients I first assisted with their city homes turning to me for advice and referrals in helping them find a country home.

The surge in interest inspired us at Nancy Benson & Associates to create a new website we’ve just recently launched, specifically for those looking for out-of-town properties:

PaddlingWe hope you’ll turn to it if you’re interested in finding a cottage, country home or waterfront residence in the eastern Ontario region and beyond. The site will include property listings across a wide area for those looking for a retreat from the city as well as articles about cottage financing and tips on searching for the ideal place.

It’s easy to see why we’ve seen more retirees and those close to retirement showing interest.

Some tell me they plan to live in their cottage for part of the year and rent it to others for income when they are not using it themselves.

RowingTo finance the purchases, many are selling their city houses and moving to a simpler condo unit or a rental property, allowing them to spend as much time in their new country home as they choose.

Others are deciding to give up their city homes and move to their new country homes to enjoy retirement in a quieter area. They look forward to long walks, swimming and boating in the summer, and being surrounded by the sounds of nature.

“Many of these individuals are engaging in more active forms of retirement, choosing to maintain physical fitness and emotional fulfilment by pursuing passion projects and leading lifestyles that involve farming, hiking and maintaining vineyards,” a recent RE/MAX survey of cottage-area Realtors reported. 

This is particularly true, the report noted, in areas that include the Rideau Lakes area southwest of Ottawa. 

As well, I’ve seen some retirement-age buyers who have vacation properties in the U.S. or abroad and have decided to sell those properties to buy a cottage closer to home, allowing them to be closer to family in their retirement.

Along with retirees, I’ve been hearing from younger buyers and even first-time buyers who don’t yet own a city residence, looking for cottage properties. 

Fall coloursIn the Toronto area, some young buyers who feel locked out of the local market by the high real estate prices there are purchasing in cottage country instead as their entry into the market, perhaps planning to rent to others for rental income.

Other young city buyers are deciding to move to cottage country, find work there or perhaps telecommute for their city jobs, as more and more workplaces are allowing employees to work from home. 

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has also led to a surge in people of all ages looking for a city escape as an alternative to annual international vacations. 

With travel on hold and uncertain for many at the moment, some buyers are looking for a cottage in a quiet, uncrowded area closer to home.

Prince Edward County – an idyllic area just 2.5 hours southwest of Ottawa (1.5 hours east of Toronto) featuring vineyards, excellent restaurants, art galleries and antique shops – is among the regions reporting a surge in cottage hunters in response to COVID.

It’s just one of the areas you’ll find on our new site. If you’ve been dreaming of a country escape, I hope you’ll have a look at and let us know what you think. 

If you’re considering buying or selling property in the Ottawa area, you can read more about me, my team and my listings at With more than 30 years of experience, I’ve helped sellers and buyers navigate a wide range of market conditions and would be happy to chat about the current market in your area of the city.

Feel free to give me a call at 613-747-4747. 


Nancy Benson logoNancy operates a full-service office at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty and specializes in unique homes in the most desirable neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Whether you're buying, selling, acquiring an investment or a secondary home, we have a system that will work for you.