Ontario’s “Cottage Country” White Hot

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Key Highlights

  • Prices up by +30% in Q4 2020 and continue rising
  • Bidding war competitions hit new highs

Muskoka District of Ontario Considered “Crème de la Crème”

Some two and a half hours north of Toronto, Ontario, the Muskoka district has long attracted Toronto residents as well as international vacationers and buyers alike.

During the late 1800’s, Pennsylvania steel mill magnates began building huge homes on Lake Muskoka.  According to Cameron White with Chestnut Park Real Estate, “This area has been the crème de la crème, the gem since cottages became popular.”

2020 “Best Year Ever” & 2021 Even Better

According to Todd Adair, founder and president with Cayman Marshall International Realty, 2020 was “the best year ever” for Muskoka’s housing market.  Houses in the neighborhood of $4.5M have been “selling very fast while they are exclusive (prior to listing) – before we even go to the market.”

Adair predicts that Muskoka’s housing market “…will be as good or better…” if and when the district’s inventory bounces back from nearly frenzied buying and foreigners return once pandemic travel restrictions are lifted.

Prices Mirroring Demand

Prices mirrored pent-up demand in Q4 2020 with prices jumping +30% from September through November.

White with Chestnut Park Real Estate said that the 2021 market has been “crazy…the housing market is the strongest I have ever seen.

Lakefront Properties in High Demand

Lakefront properties on Muskoka’s three main lakes – Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau – are in the highest demand.

Sales jumped +46% y/y in April 2021, according to the Lakelands Association of Realtors that covers much of Ontario’s cottage country.

Along with exploding sales, the median price for a residential waterfront property was a record-high $736,000, an increase of a whopping +70.5% y/y

Non-waterfront property sales also doubled from April 2020 along with the median price of $480,000, an increase of +46% y/y.

New Construction & Rental Properties Soaring

According to Adair, new home construction is “booming.”  Plus rental cottages are generating $16,500 – $41,000/week.

Russ Halloran, broker and senior vice president of Wale sales with Halloran & Associates, an affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said that two factors have accelerated this jump to cottage country in Ontario…the COVID pandemic, of course, and the major infrastructure grants made by 5G internet connectors.

Such new cell towers and connectivity have, “…eliminated the final objection to moving north full time.  If (buyers) have a year-round cottage or a three-season and winterize it, they are ready to go.”


Thanks to The New York Times International Edition.

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