As you may have heard, the real estate market in Ontario cottage country has been very active over the last 2 years. The growth in the number of sales and prices has been driven upwards by many of the same reasons as the residential market in the city. Flexible work schedules, change in jobs, desire for more family time and less travel helped drive the demand even as the desire to own a slice of heaven on a lake, for many, has always been the dream. Covid was the catalyst that helped drive people looking for a cottage to take the "plunge" into the cottage country real estate market. RE/MAX Professionals North which operates offices in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Haliburton & Minden was no exception, helping people from both the local markets and from the city to buy lakefront real estate. The unique advantage of RE/MAX Professionals Operating in both the Toronto & Cottage country markets has proven to give an edge to buyers in both the north country and urban GTA. So, has the hot market into the 7th month of 2021 remained hot into July? Much like the buyers and sellers market in the GTA, the Lakelands real estate market has faced similar challenges with inventory levels vs the number of buyers searching. 

Looking Back At July

Sales for non-waterfront and waterfront properties both came back down to earth from last July’s unprecedented levels as the trend in moderation continues. We expect this to persist through the rest of 2021 as we move past the one-year mark of the various record-level sales we saw in the second half of 2020. That said, home sales are actually more or less on par with average levels for this time of year, which remains supportive for our housing market," said Chuck Murney, President of the Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. "Overall supply levels have lifted a tiny bit from rock-bottom levels and the market has eased slightly from historically tight conditions. Make no mistake though, we are still very much in seller’s territory and price gains remain deep in the double digits."

Waterfront Sales

Sales of waterfront properties numbered 264 units in July 2021. This was a substantial reduction of 43.8% from the same period in 2020 however when compared to the last 7 months of 2021 in total, waterfront sales totalled a record 1,490 units over the first seven months of the year. This was a gain of 14.4% from the same period in 2020 and while the number of sales declined in July the tight inventory/sellers market drove the median price for waterfront property sales in July 2021 to $833,500, up sharply by 36.8% from July 2020.

Non-Waterfront Sales

Residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded for the Lakelands region total'ed 325 units in July 2021. This was a substantial decline of 27.1% from the same period in 2020. While non-waterfront sales were down, The median price for residential non-waterfront property in July 2021 was $560,000, up by 27.3% from July 2020.

What Does It Mean? 

There are several major geographical areas within the Lakelands Association's boundaries, including the City of Orillia, the Parry Sound area, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, Lake of Bays and Haliburton. The level of activity since last March 2020 could not continue forever but the level of demand for waterfront and non-waterfront property in cottage country is still very strong. What we are seeing now is similar to what has been going on throughout the GTA for the last couple years as well with demand far out pacing supply. All you have to do is look at the average days on market to see just how fast property is being scooped up. This low supply level will continue to keep prices strong and as we approach the latter portion of the summer, August most likely will be similar to July unless there is a surge of available property. Buyers looking will need to be quick to act as the average days on market for most waterfront property is under 20 days.  For the time being the market in cottage country will continue to favour that of the seller unless demand drastically decreases towards the end of the year. 

Stay tuned for updates on the Northern investment rental market!

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Posted by Paul Ambler on


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