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Fall 2015: Muskoka Cottage Real Estate Trends

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Blog by John & Bonnie Fincham, Brokers | October 26th, 2015

Fall 2015 Parry Sound Muskoka Cottage Trends

Muskoka Cottage Real Estate Trends 


The face of Canada is changing and we are clearly seeing the implications of these changes filtering into the Real Estate market in Muskoka. We are older, more mobile and come from every corner of the globe. And we know what we want. Although everyone’s situation is unique there are 3 main groups of cottage buyers that we feel are gaining momentum and will set the tone for the coming years.

The Retirement Cottage

Not a new trend, but one that’s intensifying. As the wave of Baby Boomers continues to flow, the ripples are having a direct affect on purchasing trends. The emphasis is on cottage properties that can eventually be permanent homes for retirement which in turn influences their requirements. In a nutshell it’s low maintenance, single story cottages on year round roads with minimal steps to the waterfront that ticks off many of the boxes for this demographic. Generally speaking a distance under 3 hours from home is preferred. Proximity to heath care, shopping and other friends with cottages play a large role in the decision making. Size is usually 2000 - 3000 square feet with lots of open living areas for entertaining. Bunkies and boat houses are always a bonus.

The Adventure Cottage

The big Muskoka waterways like Lake Vernon, Fairy and Joseph are very popular for obvious reasons. A beautiful inter-connected lake system with lots of big water close to Toronto. This incredible area of Muskoka is and always will be the poster child for cottaging. There is, however, a large and growing part of the population looking for a quieter, less rushed get away. Think young affluent canoe heads or maybe just folks that don’t need jet skis with more horse power than some cars to be content. Smaller interconnected lakes and rivers, preferably with some crown land or parks are what these folks find attractive. As a rule they want larger properties with more privacy and are willing to travel a little farther to get what they want. For this group, cottagetopia is a great piece of waterfront that can have a relatively modest structure that they can make their own down the road. Cottage tend to run 1500 - 2500 square feet

The Safe Haven Cottage

Out-of-Country buyers are becoming a much larger portion of the purchaser pool and this will probably just keep getting bigger. These Buyers see Canada and Canadian real estate as a safe place to invest and although we frequently hear about this trend in large urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto, they are also purchasing recreational property in the Muskoka and Parry Sound areas. Many have duel citizenship and plan on moving their families here at some point in the future. At our little office in Magnetawan we've had Buyers from England, Russia, Korea, Turkey and Serbia. Inquiries tend to focus on long term investment of larger tracts of waterfront with less emphasis on the cottages and more on the land itself. The relative strength of the Canadian dollar vs. their own currency will play a large role with this demographic.  Since they're  travelling from very far away, distance from the G.T.A is not as large a factor. Many are also looking for separate large acreages that are close to the cottage for recreational use. These are generally very savvy real estate buyers who have studied the market and can be interested in everything from a multi million dollar cottage on Lake Muskoka to a humble riverfront acreage in Parry Sound. 

The 2015 Muskoka Real Estate season was definitely very strong, setting several records for waterfront sales. These three groups played and will continue play a significant role and influence purchasing patterns in the Muskoka cottage real estate market for years to come. Real Estate can be a fickle mistress so whether you’re buying, selling or just watching from a distance paying close attention to these trends is always wise.