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Land of Opportunity

Rudy Nielsen, Equity Magazine, 1994

Ten years ago our company decided that instead of investing our future into commercial and residential real estate investments, which we had done for some 20 years we would change our focus and make a business out of investing in recreational properties.

Our priority was to be diversified. So we acquired only ocean, lake, and river-front properties, islands, exotic hideaways, small ranches and timber stands.

We also diversified our holdings throughout the province so that if one area lost its demand another area could still be active.

Today, 60 percent of our capital is spent on research to find new investments and 40 percent on the actual purchase. On resale, by keeping prices very competitive, a number of our properties have been purchased and resold again at a good profit. Most notably, a 3,000 acre parcel was sold for $550,000, resold for $750,000, then $850,000, then $1,000,000. And I'm sure the present owner wouldn't take less than $2.5 million.

The Penturbia movement has created a high demand for recreational land throughout many parts of BC. Three billion dollars worth of recreational land sold in 1993.

Only a decade ago, there were but a few types of buyers for recreational land in BC. This has increased considerably over the years, and we now have many types of buyers. Some of these categories include:

Recreational Weekender:
Property is within a five-hour drive of the Lower Mainland; lot on a lake, ocean or semi-waterfront with a cabin for use on weekends or holidays.

Recreational Long Term:
Within a day's drive of Lower Mainland; large parcel of land and small ranch (or second home on lakeshore or ocean); occupation or financial situation allows three weeks to two months holiday.

Short-term Investment:
Little or no improvements done to property; put on the market right away; excellent returns and very little risk as long as the purchase price is right.

Long-Term Investment:
Investor purchases property at a bargain price and lets it appreciate while waiting for a high demand market; oceanfront, islands, and lakefront holdings which can be subdivided are excellent investments.

Property for future retirement in a small town or acreage close to a small community; used for recreation by building small cabin or parking a mobile home; upon retirement sell home in Lower Mainland and use part of equity to build a new home on the property and the balance of the equity is out into a sound investment.

Stressed-out couples trying to make ends meet decide enough is enough; they sell their house and move to small town or in the vicinity of a small community; house prices are a fraction of the cost, no traffic, lots of times with kids, and most importantly, time for the outdoors.

Back to Nature:
Those who are thoroughly convinced that the entire system is in big trouble- pollution, federal and provincial debts, etc; looking for remote, cheaper land; build a small cabin and plant garden; lots of available game; fish in the surrounding waterways and work in the area for wages or on the barter system.

Satellite Office:
Job or source of income allows you to work from the house; many people are already living in smaller communities, some commuting a few days a week to Vancouver.