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September 8, 2014
TRIATHLONS AND REAL ESTATE GO WELL TOGETHER

LA PRESSE - Saturday September 6th 2014 

ALLISON LAMPERT SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Chuck Chokel had trouble walking the day after the Ironman race last year at Mont-Tremblant. But fatigue after a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run did not stop the American businessman to negotiate the purchase of a 2.25 million $ house.

"We had to leave soon, so I thought: let's offer," recalls Mr. Chokel, now retired.

Mr. Chokel is the first in his circle of athletic friends to have bought a luxury home in Tremblant, which enjoys a growing reputation as a hip place for triathletes.

Three major triathlon events have already taken place this summer and a fourth - the Ironman World Championship 70.3, which includes 1.93 km swim, 90.1 km bike and 21.1 km run - will take place tomorrow. This is the first time the competition is held outside the United States.

Participants will be also encouraged by realtors, these triathletes who they want to turn into customers in a market that currently favors buyers. At Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2013, the broker Paul Dalbec and colleagues at Royal LePage were ringside acting as volunteers to distribute bottled water to athletes.

"I think we will see a second wind in the market towards the end of the summer," predicts Mr. Dalbec. It must be said that the region has struggled in recent years. "The economic crisis of 2008-2009 and the rising value of the Canadian dollar contributed to the disappearance of the American and European buyers market in Tremblant in recent years," said Paul Dalbec.

MARKET IS PICKING UP

The median price of a condo in Tremblant declined by $ 240,000 to $ 186,000 between 2009 and 2011, according to data from Centris realtors. However, prices rebounded in Tremblant since. Despite lower sales, the median price of a condo in the second quarter of 2014 increased to $ 239,000, an increase of 11% compared to the previous year.

The arrival of big triathlon events and new facilities developed for athletes has generated economic benefits for the region and, according to some brokers, additional clients.

According to data from a study of Gohier Strategy Council in 2012, the Ironman has generated $ 8.4 million in regional tourism benefits.

"The major difference lies in the increase in weekday stays, says Annick Marseille, spokesman of the Mont-Tremblant. Often, athletes will arrive a few days in advance to become familiar with the course and get used to the temperature. They do not necessarily leave the day of the race, but rather take a day of rest after such an effort. "

All these factors can also motivate athletes to buy homes in Tremblant.

"We have concrete examples of people who bought houses here and fell in love with the area, thanks to Ironman events, said Steve Lafave, broker and sales manager at Playground Real Estate, an affiliate of Intrawest Resort Holdings, owner of the Mont-Tremblant. While in the past, people bought property here to enjoy during the winter, people now buy houses for use all year round. "

For example, Veronica Lambert and Benoît Bouchard, owners of a family business specializing in floor covering in Montreal, wasted no time in selling their condo in Mont-Tremblant last year, despite a real estate market where the average selling time exceeded 300 days.

The two athletes, who do half-Ironman competitions, did not even have to contact a broker. "Our coach came to our house to deliver a program (for running) and fell in love with the condo," recalls Ms. Lambert.

By sheer coincidence, the running coach, also a physical education teacher in Ontario, was at the same time looking for a larger condo. He bought the couple condo.

Ms. Lambert and Mr. Bouchard then bought a townhouse to accommodate their family of two children.

Ms. Lambert, who trains between 7 and 10 hours per week, is impressed by the growing number of athletes who run and bike at Tremblant every weekend.

"It has increased tremendously," she says.

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