The Blue Mountain NORC? What is a NORC??? If you haven’t heard of this expression before, it will be the new Ontario buzzword you’ll hear to describe the latest real estate phenomenon in Blue Mountain, Thornbury and Collingwood. NORC stands for: Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.
At the heart of the NORC concept is the fact that the community was never planned to become a retirement destination, it just happens naturally due to the existing quality of life and attributes of the region. So why is Blue Mountain becoming Ontario’s go-to retirement community? Here’s my theory. The first wave of Baby Boomers has already hit retirement age with the biggest wave of Boomers born in 1958 and 1959 yet to come. The type of retirement Boomers are looking for is different from what their parents aspired to back in their day. Gone is the notion of a targeted retirement community with only seniors clustered together on an Arizona golf course with a golf cart in the driveway to tootle around. The new generation of retirees is healthier and more ambitious than the previous. They’re looking for an experiential form of slowing down. Skiing / boarding, hiking, biking, boating, and attending cultural events. These are the sort of activities that form the backbone of the new retirees plan. The Blue Mountain / Thornbury / Collingwood area checks all the boxes for this new generation of retirees, not to mention by remaining in Ontario children and grand-children will be closer and incentivized to visit grandma and grandpa in a cool resort town.
How does this theory of The Blue Mountain NORC tie into real estate? Here’s my observation. I’ve been selling a lot of single family homes / chalets to the 55 to 65 year olds over the past three years. Many of them own a home in the GTA worth over $1.5 million. They’re looking into the future planning their retirement strategy, maybe stopping work in the next 3 to 5 years. They’re snapping up beautiful homes here in the $500,000 to $750,000 range with a plan to cash in their chips and sell their home in the GTA for $2 million when the time comes, Easy Street at Blue Mountain. So this early wave of Boomers is starting to put upward pressure on prices by increasing demand for nice homes in what was once a sleepy little resort town. My how things can change in what feels like just overnight. You heard it here first, The Blue Mountain NORC. Better get in while you can. Blue Mountain will soon be The Aspen of Ontario, affordable only to the uber-rich.