Muskoka’s real estate market is heating up. With urban retirees still flocking north to lake country, pandemic-fuelled house prices look here to stay – at least in the short-term.

Buyers are predominantly coming from the GTA and while these wannabe cottage owners are concerned about affordability, they don’t mind splashing out. According to real estate firm RE/MAX, average property prices for a waterfront home in the Muskoka area rose by a whopping 15% in 2021. 

Why cottage country?

Ontario’s cottage country has always attracted interest from buyers looking to leave the city behind. Particularly retirees as they seek to escape the last vestiges of the rat race with an idyllic country retreat.

Renowned for its stunning scenery, friendly communities, outdoor activities, and beautiful homes, the Muskoka area is a no-brainer for those with the finances and freedom to relocate.

And, of course, being so accessible is another attractive selling point. Just a few hours drive from Toronto, lake country is the perfect destination to get away from it all while still staying connected.

Interest has held steady for many years, but the pandemic injected a note of urgency into the market as repeated lockdowns and the rise of remote working led to a migration from urban areas to rural retreats.

As a result, lakeside towns like Gravenhurst, Collingwood, and Owen Sound went from vacation destination to the epicentre of the cottage goldrush almost overnight.

How a hot market benefits both buyers and sellers

A surging market is obviously good news for sellers. Always a lucrative investment, lakefront property is seeing record returns. And in a competitive market, the seller holds all the cards – they can nearly always expect to take more than their asking price, and set the terms of the sale, adding or omitting conditions as they wish.

It’s also generally much quicker to close the deal when demand is high. Average days on the market for a Muskoka waterfront property dropped from 55 in 2017 to 31 in 2021, according to real estate firm Mark Benson, and, as of September 2021, that number was further reduced to 23.

Where does Muskoka real estate go from here?

Buyers may be on the back foot in peak periods, but it’s not all bad news. Record prices are dampening enthusiasm somewhat, which means there’s less chance of properties attracting a bidding war. Instead, small numbers of highly motivated buyers are drilling down on what they want, leading to quick closures and hassle-free negotiation.

In short, the market may still be buzzing, but the frenzy of last year appears to have abated – to the relief of both buyers and sellers.

In 2022, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicts the market will dip slightly from 2021’s record-breaking year, but stay high.

Whether you’ve just moved to cottage country, or need some help getting your home ready to sell, Muskoka Window and Door Centre can help you get your property looking perfect. We work with North America’s leading door and window manufacturers to offer you the most up-to-date styles, features and products for your holiday home. Contact us today to see how we can help with your next construction or installation project.