Gibsons
Credit: Tony Browton, RE/MAX City Realty

Been thinking about buying a second home in the province? These are the province's best bets

If you're not aware, recreational properties in B.C. are booming. It shouldn't be surprising, given the beauty of the province and the out-of-control sales in urban markets.

Here are the spots that should be on your wish list. 

GIBSONS

Population: 9,132 (2016 census)

Population density per sq. km: 665.2

Private dwellings: 4,481 (occupied by usual residents: 4,182)

Closest hospital: Sechelt Hospital

Closest international airport: YVR

Commuting time from downtown Vancouver: 2.45 to 3.15 hours (includes 30- to 60-minute ferry terminal wait)

Average assessed value 2018, single family residential: $605,000

Average assessed value 2019, single family residential: $675,000 (+12%)

What $500,000 would get you this spring: Two-bedroom, 905-square-foot ocean-view cabin

Buy here if… You want a quiet, beautiful setting in or around a quaint and attractive town that has a modest selection of pubs, and a restaurant scene that will likely become more sophisticated. Ex–Lower Mainlanders have been moving to the Sunshine Coast to escape high housing costs, and they expect to eat well

Kamloops
Credit: Andrew Karpiak, Royal Lepage Westwin Realty

KAMLOOPS

Population: 90,280 (2016 census)

Population density per sq. km: 301.7

Private dwellings: 39,081 (occupied by usual residents: 36,814)

Closest hospital: Royal Inland Hospital

Closest international airport: Kelowna International

Commuting time from downtown Vancouver: 4 hours

Average assessed value 2018, single family residentiaL: $397,550

Average assessed value 2019, single family residential: $431,000  (+8%)

What $500,000 would get you this spring: New three-bedroom, 1,653-square-foot duplex with lake and golf course views

Buy here if… You’re the sporty type. There are lots of lakes for fishing and boating, hills and trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking, and the Sun Peaks ski resort nearby

Whistler
Credit: Roy Kang, Royalty Group Realty

WHISTLER

Population: 8,713 (2016 census)

Population density per sq. km: 755.2

Private dwellings: 8,549 (occupied by usual residents: 3,367)

Closest hospital: Squamish General

Closest international airport: YVR

Commuting time from Vancouver:
1.5  to 2 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions

Average assessed value 2018, single family residential: $1,743,000

Average assessed value 2019, single family residential: $1,935,000 (+11%)

What $500,000 would get you this spring: One-bedroom, 455-square-foot studio apartment in Whistler Village

Buy here if… You want an accessible, year-round alpine getaway that combines world-class skiing and hiking with all the amenities you’d expect in a serious resort town: top-quality restaurants, bars, spas
and shopping

Tofino

TOFINO

Population: 1,932 (2016 census)

Population density per sq. km: 183.1

Private dwellings: 755

Closest hospital: Tofino General, but it’s small and ill-equipped for challenging diagnoses. A new helipad, however, facilitates timelier air evacuations

Closest international airport: Victoria International

Commuting time from downtown Vancouver: 6.5 to 7 hours, including ferry crossings and wait times

Average assessed value 2018, single family residential: $643,500

Average assessed value 2019, single family residential: $767,000 (+19%)

What $500,000 would get you this spring: One-bedroom, 438-square-foot, oceanfront cabin on 10 acres a half-hour boat ride northeast of Tofino

Buy here if… You love surfing and storm watching, and have the option to stay for more than a long weekend. Bonus: a small but serious culinary scene that punches above its weight

Osoyoos
Credit: Lidia Ferreira, RE/MAX Realty Soultions

OSOYOOS

Population: 4,520 (2016 census)

Population density per sq. km: 1,081.8

Private dwellings: 2,855 (occupied by usual residents: 2,176)

Closest hospital: South Okanagan General Hospital in nearby Oliver

Closest international airport: Kelowna International

Commuting time from downtown Vancouver: 5 hours

Average assessed value 2018, single family residential: $382,000

Average assessed value 2019, single family residential: $414,000 (+8%)

What $500,000 would get you this spring: Two-bedroom, 1,121-square-foot home next to a pond

Buy here if… You like the idea of vineyards and rolling, semi-arid desert hills, and aren’t deterred by the serial switchbacks on Highway 3, just east of Manning Park

Sources: Statistics Canada, BC Assessment