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House of the Week: Who Says Having a Cabin on a Lake Has to Cost an Arm and a Leg?

What would you pay for a true four-season lake cabin only 90 minutes away from downtown Vancouver?

Price: $430,000 USD Details: 1,092sq/ft. 2 Beds, 1 Bath

Neighbourhood: Silver Lake, WA (90 mins from downtown Vancouver, 45 mins from Bellingham, WA))

The Skinny: In the past 15 years I’ve lived in both Calgary and Vancouver and as a result I’ve had little of no interaction with that classic of Canadiana, the lake. Calgary has the Ghost Lake Reservoir, which, as the name implies isn’t really a lake and is too cold to do lake stuff in. Vancouver has nothing unless you count the Lost Lagoon—which you definitely can’t do lake stuff in. If you told some Torontonian that the closest lake was 5 hours away they’d look at you with a mix of confusion and pity. And don’t even get me started on what someone from Saskatchewan would say. So when an honest-to-goodness lake cabin comes up, it’s noteworthy, even if it’s in a different country and on a lake that I’ve not only never heard of but is barely mentioned online (sounds like the start of a horror movie, no?)

The Pros: Location. There are hundreds of lakes like this in interior BC, WA and OR but none of them are 90 minutes from Vancouver. The house is pretty new (1992) and has a seriously good cabin vibe with lots of wood panelling—it’s knotty pine as far as the eye can see. Not only is there 400 feet of shoreline but the house sits on 2.5 acres, which believe me is just enough for privacy, and not so much that it’s a pain to maintain. And a huge bones—you’re only 35 minutes to Mt. Baker in the winter, so it’s that true four-season property.

The Cons: This is the most expensive place on the lake and more expensive than anything that’s sold in recent history. Also while I’m all for cabins feeling like cabins in terms of size, this place is rocking a princely $394 sq/ft for rural Washington. It’s on a septic system, which can be a drag and the 90-minute drive from Vancouver will extend greatly anytime near rush hour. The US dollars rise means that $430,000 is going to be more like $550,000.

The Verdict: They’ve just dropped the price $20,000 but I bet they’ll go lower. It’s been on the market over 200 days and while this is a niche property, that’s still too long. On the other hand, try to find a place that checks the boxes for proximity, lakefront, ski-ability and nice house and call me if you find it for under seven figures. I think it may just be a winner. See full listing here.

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