Ontario cottage country is awash with timeless beauty thanks to its gorgeous scenery, but that doesn’t make it immune to change. With all the shifts and upheavals of the past year, home and cottage ownership in the Muskokas is also evolving. While wealthy retirees dominated the local real estate market in the past, they’re now making room for city dwellers, families and would-be landlords eager to scoop up a good investment.
A family affair
Muskoka real estate has always been among the most sought after in Canada, but while the area previously attracted mostly wealthy retirees, it’s now more multi-generational as families from Toronto and the GTA realize their dreams of cottage ownership or make the move up North.
Boosted by this urban exodus, sales surged in cottage country over the past year as owners aged out of their waterfront havens and family members rushed to sell off their high-demand properties. Homes and cottages that had been in a family for decades were listed and snapped up within weeks.
In 2020 the Muskoka region saw a 42% increase in sales of waterfront property and a 27% increase in sales prices, according to the Lakelands Association of Realtors.
All this activity has ushered in a new era of cottagers – Gen Xers looking to create their own family memories on fresh turf, with most popular areas being Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville.
For these new homeowners (many of whom work remotely) a Muskoka cottage isn’t just a recreational property, it’s a place to live, work and raise a family. Some have been able to overcome the price tag shock by selling their GTA properties and using those funds, others are teaming up with siblings or other relatives to make a family investment.
With prices still much higher than in previous years, it’s clearly not every family that can afford to move to Muskoka. Cottage country continues to occupy the premium end of the market – the average sales price of a waterfront home in September 2021 was just over $1.6 million, according to Royal LePage.
In order to meet those costs, many are looking at Muskoka as an investment. Short-term rentals and vacation lets can help the property pay for itself.
New owners keen to convert their homes into a source of income are banking on continuing demand as pandemic restrictions ease but international travel remains inadvisable. More staycations means more revenue for savvy buyers willing to let their family home do double duty as an in-season investment.
The new normal
The Muskokas will always have a large retiree contingent, but the generation gap is gradually widening as cottaging changes with the times. Realtors predict that the area will continue to see surging interest from younger first-time buyers. Especially now that the market is cooling, paving the way for more affordable lakeside living.
Whether you’re new to cottage country and putting your mark on your rural idyll, or a seasoned owner in the midst of renovations, Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help create the property of your dreams. We work with North America’s top manufacturers to offer the latest fixtures and furnishings, from three-season windows to specialty sliding doors. Contact us today to see how we can help transform your home.