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Muskoka waterfront real estate report for 2014

January 15, 2015 in Muskoka

The Muskoka marketplace in 2014 was ahead of 2013 performance by almost every measure. The number of waterfront properties sold was higher across Muskoka-Haliburton Orillia Board (The Lakelands) by almost 40%, District of Muskoka increased by more than 60% and, the Big 3 lakes by roughly 12%. There was significant movement to smaller lakes by cottage purchasers last year.
On the Big 3 (Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka) the number of sales over $2 million increased by more than two thirds from 2013 and properties under $1 million increased by 14%. The ‘tough slog’ was the segment between $1 and $2 million. In that range, the number of properties sold on the Big 3 declined by 25%. Anecdotally, properties above $2 million tend to be major renovations or new builds. People in that range, are buying property that requires little immediate maintenance or updating. They are paying for work that has already been done.
The total number of properties sold on the large lakes was ahead of the peak year of 2007 by 3. In total, on the Big 3, 44% of all waterfront property that came to market in 2014 sold. There were 445 listings of which 197 sold.
People always ask us about price. Let’s drill down. Across The Lakelands Board, average price increased by 8%. In Orillia the increase was 13%, Haliburton was up by 2% while Muskoka remained even on the year. The Big 3, however, reflected a mix change (with more higher end sales) that brought the average price up by almost 14%! The average sale on the Big 3 last year was $1,503,392 claiming a new historical peak.
In 2007 (the last peak year), 39 island properties sold (20% of total sales) on Lakes Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka. Last year, there were 26 sales or 13%. The enticement for purchasers is land value. Island property is significantly less than mainland. The trade-off is convenience. More people want to be able to drive to their cottage property rather than have all that boat access implies. Market value reflects convenience in this case. Performance characteristics of island property are different from mainland as well. 32% of island listings sold in 2014 vs 47% for mainland. For the intrepid islander, however, island cottaging offers adventure, privacy and a relationship with the water not found on the mainland.
For all that, Lakelands cottage market is relatively small. Total waterfront sales in Muskoka, Haliburton Orillia were 1420. The District of Muskoka, had 880 properties trade while Haliburton had 357 sales. If you’d like more information or insight or have a question about a particular lake, please let us know.
The cottage holds a special place in Canadian culture. Whether our parents rented or owned, many of us have childhood memories of going to the lake in the summertime. Cottaging recaptures those memories and brings them forward for a new generation. Increasingly we see families wanting to establish a base for family gatherings or move to the lake for retirement, to kick back and enjoy our wonderful natural resource. Happy cottaging!

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