Letter from the Editor Issue 66

Spring 2008 CSANews Issue 66  |  Posted date : May 24, 2008.Back to list

For 10 years now, the pundits have been saying that snowbird travel was growing due to the "baby boomer" effect. We have politely disagreed with these statements and, in reality, snowbird travel actually decreased marginally during the 2007/08 winter travel season. Our definition of snowbird travel is any person who leaves Canada for at least 60 consecutive days.

Outbound pleasure travel, of all types, was up dramatically last winter to almost five million trips. This is a 17.8% increase for the same period (November to February) over last year, as measured by the Conference Board of Canada. These trips include everything from day shopping trips to our snowbird travel, but much of the increase is in the new "empty nester" baby boomers who are testing the travel waters. They are staying at a destination for about a month and, based on our informal feedback from U.S. destinations, they are testing those destinations to see if they are suitable for extended stays. We believe that they will be very happy and expect much more of the true snowbird travel beginning over the next two years, and then growing substantially.

I spent the month of March working and playing on the west coast of Florida, and real estate pricing was one of my research projects. It appears that inland properties may still experience a decrease of 10-15% over the next year or two, but the beach properties are close to bottoming out. Beachfront condos, in some case have dropped by more than 50% and some brand-new "luxury" condos are selling at well under $300 per square foot.

There is some method to my rambling. If you own a beachfront condo and are thinking of selling, I would wait for the new boomer effect to take hold; it is now coming and it will drive prices higher. If you are one of the newbies, looking for a great lifestyle, now is an excellent time to consider a beach purchase. Look for the deals and make lowball offers on those properties that seem pricey. As always, pay close attention to the taxes and monthly fees, as these can be very high, and talk to some neighbours before your final plunge.

Have a wonderful spring, smell the flowers, and watch some birds...50% of us apparently do.

J. Ross Quigley.

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