Canada’s cottage countries aren’t the boondocks anymore.
OK well, they are, and that’s the whole point, but some are also garnering a lot of attention internationally as vacation-home hot spots.
A report from Christie’s earlier this year named the Muskoka region north of Toronto the second-hottest luxury recreational property market in the world, behind only France’s Cote D’Azur. Luxury sales in the region two hours north of Toronto (or six hours, if you’re travelling on a long weekend) jumped 66 per cent in the past year, Christie’s said, noting the title the New York Times bestowed on the area: The “Malibu of the North.”
Christie's pegs $1 million as the starting point for what it defines as a luxury property in the area, but a Royal LePage report from earlier this month that looked at all types of properties found the price range for a 1,000-square-foot waterfront Muskoka cottage to be $540,000 to $700,000. But you can find properties for as little as $200,000 — or as much as $10 million.
"The low Canadian dollar is having a positive effect on local recreational property markets as Canadians are choosing to stay in Canada where their dollar will go further," Re/Max said in a report this week.
"Some are selling U.S. properties that appreciated in recent years to take advantage of the exchange rate. The low Canadian dollar is also attracting foreign buyers to well-established recreational property markets across the country including Whistler, Tofino, Muskoka, Shediac, and PEI."
All regions where data is available have shown price increases except P.E.I., the report said, though it noted that falling oil prices have had a “dampening effect” on the recreational property market in Alberta.
Not so in Ontario, where one region — the Kawarthas — has seen the median price of a weekend home shoot up nearly 28 per cent in a year.
“We have a number of listings for high-end properties but inventory is a bit lower among the less expensive properties,” Royal LePage sales rep Catherine Green said. “Even the water access only properties are selling quickly.”
Royal LePage put out estimates for a typical price range for a three-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot property in vacation-home areas around the country. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to own your own waterfront weekend home: