The real estate market is normalizing, and despite what some panicky naysayers may think, the idea that cottage prices will be plummeting is farfetched.
Listing prices have indeed come down from the huge spikes that were seen during the pandemic, but that’s just bringing the market closer to where it would have been on its regular cycle.
Muskoka cottage prices have been doubling every eight years for the past 30 years, explains Bob Clarke, owner of Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Clarke Muskoka Realty.
“Prices were up 50 to 60 percent and now we’re seeing them drop maybe 10 to 15 percent,” he says. “Although we’re not seeing as many transactions, we’re not seeing prices plummeting either. This is due to a continued lack of inventory and strong demand.”
While Bob fully expects to see activity in the market pick up through the summer, he says a slow spring was the result of several factors. These include people finally travelling after postponing trips during the pandemic – some using airline credits that have expiry dates – as well as going to graduations, weddings, funerals, parties and more.
“All the stuff you couldn’t do is now happening again,” he says. “It’s been a mostly quiet spring and those are the main reasons why. Everyone thinks it’s dead because you don’t sell a cottage in half an hour like you did during the pandemic.”
Spring certainly seemed slower in Muskoka in terms of visitors to the area, but all that changed with a bang on the July 1st long weekend. Now that the people are coming back – especially those who are renting cottages – there will be more people looking to buy if the right cottage becomes available.
“If you’re sharp with your pricing, you will get interest and offers,” Bob says. “There was a cottage that sold in early July that had four offers because it was in the right location, and it was priced properly.”
Other cottages in the $10 million plus range were selling even prior to the summer season kicking off. Bob mentions one that sold in two days and had multiple offers, while another took about a week.
There may be some properties that end up taking a bit longer to sell, especially those in the $2 million and under range that need additions or renovations, as buyers are once again taking their time before making an offer.
“People are doing their homework more to ensure they get exactly what they want or at least the exact location they want,” says Bob. “It’s not a bad thing that people have more time to figure things out and determine what they want to do, and to make a conscious, intelligent choice.”
Those looking to start, or upgrade, their Muskoka cottage experience have some amazing listings to choose from, including a brand-new contemporary build on Stanley House Road with 207 feet of frontage on Lake Joseph.
Built during the pandemic, when materials and labour costs were through the roof, Bob says it’s reasonably priced at $7.2 million for the 4,000 square foot retreat on 1.66 acres. The main cottage has four bedrooms and four baths, there is a one bed and one bath guest cabin, a two-slip boathouse, and many more attractive qualities.
“They’ve done a really good job,” says Bob. “If it was selling during COVID, it would be over $8 million. Based on the timeframe they built it in, this property has become a very good buy.”
Another fantastic property with “probably the best views in all of Lake Rosseau,” is at 1019 Bluff Road. The 3,121 square foot cottage has been beautifully designed with almost every room in the cottage offering a view of the lake. The cottage features four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a coach house.
“It’s an updated traditional cottage with a separate coach house and a huge dock with a hot tub and a fireplace,” says Bob. “This is a well laid out property that has a spectacular view. It’s a steeper lot, but that’s how you get the view.”
Families who have adult kids, and perhaps grandkids, should take a look at the Clarke Muskoka Realty listing on Chown Road in MacTier. Located on Lake Joseph, this property features a main cottage and two outbuildings where you can put two separate families – one in the boathouse and one in an oversized bunkie.
Priced at $5,495,000, the 2.37 acre property has 210-feet of frontage, and a northwest exposure. This location at this price also gives the buyer options.
“The price and location would support a rebuild on this lot as well,” says Bob.
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI