A Five-Bedroom Waterfront Retreat in Manitoba
$680,000 (899,900 CANADIAN DOLLARS)
This custom-designed, five-bedroom house sits on the sloping banks of the Bird River, east of the small town of Lac du Bonnet and a lake of the same name, in the cottage country of Manitoba, Canada.
Built in 2011 on almost two acres, with 265 feet of river frontage, the 3,122-square-foot house is accompanied by a two-bedroom guesthouse and garage workshop, a stand-alone indoor bonfire pit, a waterfront bar and two boat docks.
The two-story, wood-frame house has stucco walls, a red metal roof and a wraparound deck, said Greg Tino, an agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty, which has the listing. A long, wooded driveway leads to the house, with a stairway up to the main entrance on the second floor.
A three-season sunroom with an indoor vented barbecue is to the left, and a great room with a dining area and open kitchen is to the right. The great room, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, has beamed maple ceilings, poured-concrete floors and a propane fireplace.
The open kitchen has a large island, maple cabinets, stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops. The master bedroom, with a walk-in closet and en suite bathroom, is also on the second floor.
A wooden spiral staircase descends to the lower level, which has a spacious family room with a pellet stove and a wet bar. The lower level also has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a utility room.
The property has several heating systems, including rooftop solar panels and an electric furnace. Under-floor heating runs throughout the house, as well as the guesthouse and garage workshop.
The landscaped grounds include an outdoor firepit, a vegetable garden, and natural forest and brush, including pines, aspens, oaks, willows, chokecherries and wild blueberries. Poured-concrete walkways connect the various outdoor areas.
On the river bank, a stairway leads down to a covered waterfront bar and a large boat dock. A second dock is a few hundred feet down the shore.
The house is in the unincorporated rural municipality of Alexander, about 90 miles northeast of Manitoba’s capital, Winnipeg, which has a population of about 700,000 and an international airport. The closest town is Lac du Bonnet, 25 miles southwest, with about 1,000 residents.
Outdoor recreational activities are the biggest draw to the area, including “hunting, fishing, all water sports and winter snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and ice-fishing,” Mr. Tino said. Whiteshell Provincial Park, a 670,000-acre protected area covering much of eastern Manitoba, is a popular destination for summer and winter activities.
Manitoba is Canada’s fifth-most populous province, with about 1.3 million residents. One of what are known as the Prairie Provinces (along with Alberta and Saskatchewan), it has had a stable housing market for the past decade, and that is expected to continue through 2020, according to the latest Manitoba housing market outlook report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“Prices are level or slightly increasing year over year, with sales volume remaining steady,” said Reg Black, a broker and owner of Century 21 Sun Country Realty. “Manitoba has a very stable economy, so we don’t get the peaks and valleys that other parts of the country experience.”
Prices can range from 40,000 Canadian dollars (or $30,200) for a modest cabin on Lake Manitoba to several million Canadian dollars for prime, waterfront, all-season homes in some areas of Whiteshell Provincial Park, said Lainey Danzker, an agent with Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate.
“The family cabin remains the draw for many Manitobans who have relocated elsewhere,” she said. “They continue to come back every year for their summer experience.”
Who Buys in Manitoba
The province relies heavily on agriculture, energy and tourism for revenue, and attracts few foreign home buyers, brokers said. Many are immigrants who work in the province’s two major cities, Winnipeg and Brandon, while others are native Manitobans returning from overseas with a foreign partner, Ms. Danzker said.
Winnipeg, she added, “doesn’t typically have the same numbers of foreign buyers purchasing investment properties as do areas like Vancouver.”
Lake areas with weekend and summer homes within a two-hour drive of Winnipeg are known as “cottage country,” Mr. Tino said.
Most of those homes are bought by Manitobans, but there are some foreign buyers, particularly in the Whiteshell Provincial Park area, Ms. Danzker said. The region has several communities that are home to South Africans, Filipinos and other Southeast Asians, she noted, and most recently, “quite a few doctors coming in from Iran.”
Americans seeking cottages within driving distance in the Manitoba market have almost disappeared since the global financial crisis of 2008, although Winnipeg is only about 60 miles north of the American border, Mr. Black said. These days, foreign buyers, who are largely concentrated in the cities, tend to come from Europe, the Middle East, India and South Africa, he said.
There are few restrictions on foreign buyers in Manitoba.
Mortgages from Canadian lenders are available to buyers from most, although not all, foreign countries, said Nessa Werier, an agent with Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate.
“If they’re not working in Canada — i.e., recreational — they’ll require a 35 to 50 percent down payment, depending on the situation,” she said. “If they’re working in Canada, then the percentage down is not as steep.”
Most foreign buyers hire a local lawyer, and a typical transaction costs between 500 and 1,000 Canadian dollars ($380 and $750), plus disbursements, Ms. Werier said.
Closing costs include a land-transfer tax, which is about 2 percent of the sale price, Mr. Black said.
The agent’s commission may be 4 or 5 percent, depending on the sale price, and is usually paid by the seller, Ms. Werier said.
Languages and Currency
English, French; Canadian dollar (1 Canadian dollar = $0.76)
Taxes and Fees
The annual taxes on this home are 8,100 Canadian dollars ($6,120), Mr. Tino said.
Greg Tino, RE/MAX Executive Realty, 204-987-9800; remax-winnipeg.com