MarketWATCH Muskoka: Annual Report

By: Ross McLean, Broker | Lucy McLean, Sales Representative | Laura Stevens, Sales Representative

MarketWATCH Muskoka: Annual Report


MarketWATCH Muskoka: 24 January 2019

Here we are. The last weekend in January! Aside from some desperately cold temperatures earlier this week things are hopping in central Muskoka. Fire and Ice hits downtown Bracebridge on Saturday. The tubing run down Manitoba Street will be on high speed, the ice rink at the square has a perfect surface and “Crokicurl”, crokinole on ice with curling stones, will be available to test your motor skills. There’s food, fun and fireworks! The temperature? A balmy -14 is forecast with sunny periods and no wind. Want to make winter fun for a day? Try Fire and Ice this weekend!

Also at this time of year we take a look back to see how the year was, what we learned and how that informs us for the coming season. ‘It’s about time!” some are saying. We’ve been getting questions already about the coming season.

First let’s take a look at what happened. The geography we serve includes Haliburton, District of Parry Sound and District of Muskoka. That large area had a total of 1242 sales of lakefront property last year, including islands. The number was a 23% decline from the year before (2017). However, prices inched up about 4% even though the number of properties sold declined.

Historic Sales Trend for the District: Haliburton, Parry Sound & Muskoka

If we group the major lakes, things look a little different.

Fairy, Peninsula and Vernon as a group had 24% fewer transactions than in 2017. Prices remained steady and averaged up 1.5% over the previous year to $545K. Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka also had a decline in the number of sales by almost 30% to 155 while average prices fell by 2% to a little more than $1.9 million. Lake of Bays sales declined by 6% and average prices rose by 1.5% to $1.1 million.

Historic Sales Trend for the Big 3 (Lakes Muskoka, Joseph & Rosseau)

By price range, the strongest market for competition is less than $1 million. Across the area we serve, whether we look by lake, Township or District the story is constant. Average price for lakefront property selling less than $1 million increased by more than 6% for the second year in a row.

None of this is really surprising. The question is what does this mean for 2019? There are two influencers we look to for crystal balling. One is the state of the GTA marketplace. There’s a connection with cottage country – recreational properties aren’t as volatile as the GTA – but as goes the city, then it’s fair to say waterfront property will follow to a degree. Last year Toronto was off 4.9% in pricing. Cottage country at the higher end felt the decline.

The other indicator we look at is equity markets. When there’s profit taking, discretionary purchases rise. We saw that in 2015, 16 and 17. Volatility hit the markets in 2018 and purchases of cottages, boats and toys slowed.

We’re still in a period of volatility. The markets are in Bull territory but profit taking is not part of the current investment mode. WSJ was forecasting last week the US housing slow down will likely continue through the first quarter.

We expect the number of sales on the larger lakes to stay the same or rise slightly from last year as we very rarely see 2 low years in a row. On those larger lakes there will likely be a further price adjustment unless equity markets strengthen. Smaller lakes will out perform in terms of numbers of sales and in pricing, particularly those closer to towns and supplies. We also expect a greater demand for riverfront property – particularly if there is access to a larger body of water by boat.

We have a lot of data available. We can slice and dice in a number of ways. If there’s a a lake you’re interested in, let us know. If there’s data, we can help you.

Even though we’re in the midst of winter, we’ve been showing and selling. Last week we made a sale by Lake Vernon and were showing property from Gravenhurst across the District to north of Huntsville. The nice thing is not many people are out looking – and there are some good properties available.

There were 21 properties that came to market in the last 45 days in our district, call or text Ross for details.

1345 Echo Lake Road, Baysville
$1,949,000.00 – MLS# 166004
Echo Lake

Quality Craftsmanship, Waterfront, Acreage and Privacy galore, 4 season Echo Lake property has it all. Designed by renowned log builder B. A.Mackie, this log home/cottage is located mins away from the village of Baysville, a little over 2 hrs from Toronto. Idyllic setting offers 750+ ft of shoreline on a quiet spring fed lake and max privacy with approx 116 acres. Owners have purchased lots on either side of the cottage for max privacy. 100 acre wooded backlot offers opportunity for hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing or snowmobiling. Cottage features a large open concept kitchen/dining, spacious living room with massive high efficiency wood burning fireplace. 6 beds3 baths provide ample room for family & friends. Enjoy the bright Muskoka room with beautiful views of the water and gorgeous landscaped gardens. Finished, walkout basement with large family room. Enjoy sun on the dock with boat slip and custom post and beam gazebo. Call or text Ross for a copy of the full listing. 

Now’s a great time to check out properties before the deluge of lookers comes along in the spring. Give us a call,

Laura, Lucy & Ross
The Rosskoka Team
(705) 706-1177