British Columbia has many world class ranches, farmland, seaside resorts, mountain lodges, and equestrian centres. And now buyers from around the world have discovered that these properties are making great investments. Veteran Realtor John Lovelace, of Sutton Seafair, specializes in rural BC properties and he is having his strongest year ever. "The BC rural properties business is now global and we are working with clients from the Middle East, England, India, Australia, and Germany" said Lovelace." But it's the Chinese market which is really driving the business these days" he said.
Since John Lovelace's sale of the Bradian Ghost Town and world-wide coverage of it, the Chinese investors interest has tripled for his real estate team. "We soon realized the Chinese investor was a sophisticated buyer. After spending the last decade investing in residential properties here in Vancouver they were eager to expand into the rest of the province" Lovelace said. Now the phone is ringing all day long by the savvy investors who may have grown tired of the high prices of property in the lower mainland. So with land prices of over a million dollars an acre in the lower mainland, prices starting at only $600.00 an acre in rural BC seems like exceptional value. And unlike other provinces in Canada like Alberta and Saskatchewan there is no limit in BC to the amount of acreage that can be purchased by foreign investors.
But there is another great appeal about farms and ranches. Lovelace explains it this way, "The investor can not only get get good capital appreciation but he can also get immediate cash flow. That's because with farms and ranch investment there are great leasebacks available to the buyers." "So the properties can start paying for themselves right away" he added.
But there is another reason he is selling vast acreage properties. Recently, he sold a large 8000 acre ranch and the buyer just liked the idea of holding a large tract of land. That's 8 times the size of Stanley Park. "Acreages of of 6000, 8000 and 30,000 are hard to find anywhere in the world. But in BC there are many great choices at very good prices " said Lovelace.
But its a specialized market and knowledge is the key to investing wisely. That's why the Lovelace Team, who are licensed Sutton Realtors, believe in holding private and group information seminars. They recently had over 100 investors come out to an all day seminar featuring ranches and farms in BC. They also hold private information seminars for individual investors. "BC is a big province so rather than spending days travelling we can take clients on a virtual tour right in the board room" said Team member, Georgia Primar. "We can also go through investment and financing options and expected yields " she added.
Lovelace who works out of the Richmond office spends a lot of his time outside on the land. He fly's his own twin engine airplane and he figures he can fly up to the ranches and farms in about the same time a city realtor commutes to the other side of town. He has been flying for 40 years and also pilots a sea plane if the property is on the water.
This is an exciting time to be in rural BC Real Estate. Investors are also looking at commercial plazas and apartments because cap rates are generally much higher once you get out of the lower mainland. As of now they are not seeing multiple offer situations in the rural properties. However, if this trend continues in rural properties that could change soon.