We've now had two full real estate cycles in Covid-19-Era Muskoka.
Cottage Country real estate has sky-rocketed in value with a whole new group of never-before buyers showing interest and big budgets for rural purchases. GTA money has always been spent on waterfront in Muskoka, but the volume of people seeking waterfront and acreage was unprecedented. I think we've all heard the word 'unprecendented' too many times, however it really is the right word to describe real estate buyers' behavior.
The "Big Three" Lakes (Muskoka, Rosseau, Joseph) have always commanded high prices, and continue to do so. The biggest change/shift I've noticed with waterfront purchases is the high sales on smaller lakes. Almost anything on a year-round road with 4 season use (on water) can command over $1million these days. Many "tear-down" cottages have sold in the $700-900K range on decent smaller lakes. The starting price for a cottage has jumped by 250K, easily since 2020. This has been brought on by a glut of buyers, eager to buy waterfront, and NOT discriminating based on quality of buildings, waterfront, or location. This type of indiscriminate buyer won't stay in the cottage buying market very long. The prices and expectations of Sellers will stay for another year, in my opinion, maybe longer. There are still more buyers than properties available, and good properties will continue to have multiple offers/good interest.
Another change is with a large volume of 'investor' type buyers looking to expand their rental property portfolios with waterfront property in cottage country. Their goal is to have a family cottage property that they can subsidize with short-term rental income during the times they are not using the property themselves. This makes good financial sense, but may bring new municipal bylaws with restrictions on short-term rentals. Neighbors DO NOT like AirBnB next door at the cottage. Currently, the Town of Huntsville has a short-term rental bylaw making this practice more difficult. Other jurisdictions are considering similar bylaws and ALL of the local municipalites are considering what can be done to reduce taxpayer complaints, while still allowing property owners reasonable control over thier property.
Big acreage (50+acres) has always had some appeal. Some people really like the idea of having lots of land. Homes with 5 or more acres have become the new big acreage for some GTA buyers, used to tiny properties. 5 acres is tons of space when you're used to a subdivision or condominium.
The large parcels are still very appealing to hunters, conservationists, etc. The prices have doubled or tripled on very large parcels in the last 2 years, making the 'family hunt camp' hard to buy, and very tempting to sell.
More to come....