VANCOUVER -- Properties in B.C.’s recreational areas are in hot demand. According to Royal Lepage, the aggregate price of homes in those areas is forecast to increase 13 per cent this year, to $781,918.

The areas include places like Whistler, Pemberton, the Gulf Islands, Kimberly, Cranbrook, the Okanagan and more.

The trend began last summer when international travel was restricted and more people decided to move out of urban areas with the added ability to work remotely due to COVID-19.

“We don’t want to have a neighbor next to us, in the next apartment building up, down, left, right, so it feels really nice to be able to spread out,” said Janet Moore, real estate agent at Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty.

“Today I think with all the new technology that’s going on and what has evolved in the last probably ten years it is so much easier to carry on your lifestyle and your work or your business at home,” she added.

Experts who were surveyed by Royal LePage reported that it is not uncommon for buyers to put in four to seven offers before being able to close on a deal. In addition, more than half of the listings are selling above asking price.

In addition, 68 per cent reported an increase in the number of buyers from other provinces, compared to previous years.

While demand outstrips supply in B.C., prices here are not expected rise as much as the aggregate price of homes in recreational areas in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, forecast to increase 17 per cent in 2021 to $547,207.