The most traditional ways to call any home your own is to rent or buy it. Another option, however, is quickly gaining recognition in Ontario, Quebec, and on the west coast. It's called land lease and it applies to both permanent and recreational homes. No matter whether you are downsizing, searching for a seasonal home, or are a first time buyer, the land lease option is one way to save a significant amount of money on your home purchase.
Land lease as a real estate model isn't new; it's been embraced in the United States where it's a $14 billion a year business, as well as in the United Kingdom and other European countries. The idea is simple: you purchase a residence and rent the land it sits on. So you own the home and the land is owned by a larger company and leased out to you. Residents share common areas and amenities and outdoor maintenance is taken care of by staff. In fact, land lease neighbourhoods often become close-knit communities with regular activities and social events bringing everyone together.
“The land lease option offers Canadians the opportunity to own a home they can afford, in a setting that is well-maintained and in a neighbourhood that fosters community spirit,” says Andrew Blair, president and CEO of Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc. Parkbridge is reported to be the largest owner and operator of residential land lease communities and resorts in Canada with 92 properties in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
“On average, home owners in our residential communities spend 20-40% less on a land lease sale than a traditional home sale, and the saving is even greater when it comes to resort properties. New park models start at $20,000 and cottages at $100,000. You can't buy a summer home for that price that also includes beach access, lake views, tennis courts and pools.”
Blair says that Parkbridge offers several types of land lease options including traditional, modular and mobile home communities for those aged 50 plus as well as for residents of all ages, and resort properties such as park models, chalets or cabins that can be used almost year round. The company also offers marina rentals on Georgian Bay and Lakes Scugog and Simcoe. “Land lease really offers peace of mind and pride of ownership to many Canadians who otherwise would be stuck with a higher mortgage or increased debt.”