Current Market News is posted on my Blog page.
November 3rd, 2016
Muskoka MLS Stats ~ 2016
More and more people are entering the Muskoka market. Cottage property purchases are discretionary and from these stats it appears that more people have the funds to purchase a second vacation waterfront cottage property than in the past. Another consideration for such an increase is the low interest rates.
Its difficult to say who exactly the buyers are due to the current Privacy Act but with our Canadian dollar the way it is I'm almost certain there are a few foreign buyers taking advantage of their economic position over the Canadian Peso.
Personally, I have sold more properties at higher list prices than ever before in the last 22 years of my career including the years prior to the economic downturn of 2008. While I attribute much of my success to the many referrals from satisfied past clients, I cannot ignore the rise in demand and purchasing costs of Muskoka waterfront cottage properties. My average buyer is looking for specific property attributes including: large frontage and acreage, a preferred North West exposure for summer sunsets, high quality finishings in structures and landscaping and perhaps most importantly, privacy from neighbours, road noise and boat traffic. All of which comes at a price. I have had several people looking at cottage property as an investment and while I believe that any real estate purchase is an investment, I always explain to my buyers that there is value in use and the making of memories in Muskoka.
February 22nd, 2014
This graph illustrates that Chestnut Park, a boutique real estate company is the best choice for your Muskoka real estate needs. Contact me for a confidential market analysis of your property or to purchase your Muskoka waterfront. 705-646-4693
Weather conditions improved throughout the summer months and into the fall, and correspondingly the market improved on a year-over-year basis both as to inventory levels and sales. By the third quarter of the 2013 inventory levels were matching last year, and although recreational properties sales were slightly off in some regions, there was a slight improvement on the big Muskoka Lakes. At the end of the year annual results were not dissimilar to the results achieved in 2012.
By December inventory levels were almost identical to 2012. In 2013, 9630 listings were processed by the local Association. A mere 0.5 percent less than the 9687 listings processed in 2012.
Overall recreational property sales for the entire region administrated by the Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia Association showed a moderate decline. By year-end 797 properties had been reported sold, a decline of 2.5 percent compared to the 818 that were reported sold in 2012. Sales in the Haliburton Highlands, Lake of Bays, and Muskoka’s big lakes faired better than the market as a whole.
By year-end the Haliburton Highlands saw sales increase by 6 percent compared to 2013, from 237 last year to 251 this year. Lake of Bays was virtually unchanged in 2013. In 2012, 91 recreational properties were reported sold, and a similar amount sold in 2013.
The market on Muskoka’s big lakes showed the largest improvement. In 2012 there were 205 properties reported sold. This year that number jumped to 223, an increase of 8.3 percent. Although it is difficult to accurately compare recreational property sales because of location, exposure, water depth, elevation and improvements, it would appear that notwithstanding an increase in sales there has not been an appreciable increase in average sale prices. Many of the sales that took place on the big lakes were listings that had been on the market for more than one season and after price reductions. Urban centers in 2013 saw price increases approaches 8-10 percent.
Interestingly the peak for sales and sale prices, both in recreational and urban property sales, remains 2007. Since the recession of 2008-2009, recreational property sales and prices have not recovered as have urban market sales and prices. In retrospect recreational property values had been driven to unsustainable high levels from 2000 to 2007. Since then buyers have become more demanding, seeking value for purchases that they consider to be discretionary. This is, of course, unlike urban environments where sales are most often driven by necessity.
Chestnut Park had a strong year in 2013, with total sales of recreational properties exceeding $ 100 million. On the big lakes, Chestnut Park’s Port Carling office exceeded the next closest brokerage by almost 100 percent in sales volume.
Looking forward, 2014 should be a year in which we see modest increases in both sales volume and average sale prices. Canada’s economy has not recovered, and all indications are that growth will be sporadic and modest. December’s employment numbers were not encouraging, resulting in Canada’s unemployment rate rising to 7.2 percent, with many of the jobs lost in Ontario. There are also indications that mortgage interest rates will rise, albeit marginally, in the latter half of 2014.
Notwithstanding the foregoing confidence in the economy is increasing, and confidence is a necessary ingredient to recreational property sales. This in turn will be reflected in increased sales and sale prices. I anticipate sales volumes will increase by 5 to 6 percent, with average sale prices increasing by 3-4 percent. As in the past, particularly on the big Lakes, sales will be driven by pricing. The discretionary nature of recreational property sales requires that buyers see value before they proceed to offers.
Prepared by: Richard Stewart, Vice President, Legal Counsel
August 3rd, 2013
The cottage market fluctuates with the seasons. Some years we see cottage property sales beginning in March if the weather has been warm and sunny while other years it is April or May before we are able access some driveways and private roads. This year we saw a late start as the cold weather hung on, lake ice lingered and then there was the flooding which greatly affected the lakes, cottage properties and access in and around Muskoka.
From January 1st to date there have been 81 sales on Lakes Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka. Comparing this to last year’s 93 sales we are definitely under par with the number of cottage waterfront recreational properties sold during the first half of the year.
The major significant difference I have seen is the price point of these sales. Higher priced inventory is selling while lower priced (under 1 million) is down from last year. There have been a total of 4 sales in the $5 million plus range compared to only 1 in 2012, having myself represented the buyer in one of this year’s 5 million+ sales.
81 Total Sales - January 1st, 2013 to July 31st, 2013
What Does This Mean?
May 30th, 2013
The warm weather has finally arrived after a cold start to Spring and the cottage selling season is underway. Are you thinking of selling your waterfront recreational property? Have you considered obtaining an Opinion of Value otherwise known as a Market Evaluation? If so there are some things to keep in mind.
An accurate Market Evaluation requires presence and is not something that can be done over the phone or internet. My attention to detail assists me in researching all relevant aspects of your property so I can conduct a thorough comparative market analysis. I do this by searching the database of all comparable properties listed or sold in your area, most of these properties I have personally seen, shown and taken pictures of and perhaps even previously sold. With this current market data and my 19 years of selling waterfront recreational property in Muskoka, I will be able to determine what your property should sell for if you decided to put it on the market.
If you decide to list your property with me, this accuracy will assist in:
For a FREE, No Obligation Home Evaluation, please contact me or leave your contact information at the bottom of the page so I can get back to you.
What you can expect:
May 19th, 2013
Whether you are buying or selling recreational waterfront property in Muskoka or anywhere else in Canada, it is important to have all the facts. Here is the 2013 Recreational Property Report from Royal LePage. This report contains detailed information by region. You can find Muskoka on Page 10 of this report. If I can be of any assistance or you would like to discuss current Muskoka market conditions please do not hesitate to contact me.
May 9th, 2013
Muskoka 2012 in Review - Market Report now available. Below are the waterfront recreational property sales statistics. Click here to view the entire report which includes residential sales statistics as well.
The above graph compares total sales of all Muskoka waterfront properties over the last 12 years.
The above graph illustrates the active listings and those sold month by month showing peak sales in Summer. You can see an increase in the number of listings available each year. Listing your property in the Spring gets it on the market in time for peak selling season. Another important point to consider is that a well priced property sells quickly whereas an overpriced property becomes stagnant.
The first graph illustrated the number of sales of all waterfront property in Muskoka. The above graph breaks down the sales of only the big 3 lakes, Lakes Muskoka, Joseph and Rosseau from the year 2000 to 2012.
The above sales graph is broken down by lakes; Muskoka, Joseph and Rosseau with the majority of sales being on Lake Muskoka. This is due to the fact that there are more properties on Lake Muskoka than Rosseau or Joseph so we understand the sales will be higher here.
Here we can see the average and median sale prices across Lakes Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka, since the year 2000. If you have any questions about this report, current trends or the upcoming season contact me so that I may provide you with all the details.
As we fast approach cottage season I thought this infographic "Cottage Country Real Estate by the Numbers" courtesy of Cottage Life might interest you.
My clients have been asking me "when is the best time to list our cottage?" I have two answers to this question.
1. Late March, just in time for your property to be showcased at the Cottage Life Show in early April OR
2. May, when landscaping is starting to pop and flowers are in bloom. Any cottage property looks best when it’s dressed. If you would like more information or a free market evaluation of your property, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listing a property in the winter during ice and snow season, no greenery, no lawn furniture displayed, boats in the water, etc. will give other agents and buyers the impression that you have a sense of urgency to sell. This is not the ideal time at all and I would think that offers would come in much lower than in the Spring market.
Spring is definitely the best time to list. After a long winter, buyers are looking forward to finding and purchasing their dream property, while allowing for time to close the deal and plan their Summer in Muskoka. If you do want to list prior to the Spring I can inform you of the key things you will need to consider. Great exterior pictures are essential to showcase how beautiful your property really is.
Call or contact me to list your property in time for the Cottage Life show!
January 14th, 2013
Municipal Land Transfer Tax in Muskoka? The following is an excerpt from the Ontario Real Estate Association's current newsletter:
“Municipalities in Ontario are gearing up to force the province to grant them the authority to charge a municipal land transfer tax (LTT) on home buyers.
Currently allowed only in Toronto, this tax may potentially spread to other regions of Ontario. It threatens to increase the cost of home ownership province-wide. According to a recent study by the C.D. Howe Institute, this tax has resulted in a 16 percent drop in the volume of residential home sales in Toronto. It has meant that home buyers pay an average $15,000 up front every time they move, due to the municipal tax over and above the provincial land transfer tax.
The spread of this tax to other regions of Ontario will increase the cost of home ownership across the province. As a REALTOR®, this will affect your business. Extending the power to levy the municipal LTT to other municipalities in the province would lower home values by adding thousands of dollars to the cost of residential transactions.
In addition, the municipal LTT would price many low- and middle-income Ontarians out of the real estate market entirely. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) believes the municipal LTT is unfair because it forces a small segment of taxpayers -- home buyers -- to fund municipal services designed to benefit all citizens. OREA is urging the Ontario government to exclude LTT from any legislation that expands municipal taxing authority and to revoke this tax in the city of Toronto.”
What you are currently paying:
Ontario Land Transfer Tax approximate calculations. Based on purchase price (subject to change):
Up to $55,000 X 0.5%
From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1% minus $375.00
From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5% minus $1,525.00
From $400,000 up X 2% minus $3,525.00
I will keep you posted as information that could affect your Muskoka cottage property becomes available. Contact me for more information on this issue and other important real estate news.
October 15th, 2012
The media is starting to report that the real estate economy is showing signs of change. We seem to be entering a Buyers’ Market in the larger urban communities. In London, Newmarket and even Toronto the media is stating that the market has changed from a Balanced Market to a Buyers’ Market. While the CMHC forecasts for Toronto did not project this change in conditions, BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Robert Kavcic believes that with the reported decline of 21% month over month in sales for September and the increase in the number of active listing by 4% Toronto will now see a shift to a Buyers’ Market. This will result in a leveling off or even decline in prices.
In the regions north of Toronto (Barrie and Sudbury being the only 2 reports available) CMHC did not project a change in the market either. Barrie is projected to stay in balance and Sudbury still to slightly favour the seller. How these two reports reflect on the Muskoka Market place is difficult to determine. CREA President Wayne Moen recently said ” national figures mask diverging trends in different markets, with activity down in some places while sales elsewhere remain strong. As always, all real estate is local, so buyers and sellers should talk to their REALTOR® to understand how the housing market is shaping up where they live or might like to.”
So what does BUYERS’ MARKET really mean to you as a buyer or a seller? Well, if you are a qualified buyer who is ready to purchase now, then you will have an opportunity to make a great investment. The value of the property you will purchase may be at its lowest. Whether actual average sales values decline or just flat line will remain to be seen, but no matter what now is a great time to be a buyer. There is a higher level of inventory and if you cannot negotiate to a price you are content to pay you will be able to move on to the next available property that is suitable.
If you are a seller your position is honestly not as good. Contact me to discuss your options. If you can wait to sell, then that may be advisable. When we look at the history books we see that all this is part of a cycle and even if values dip they have historically always recovered. Hold on to your property and even work on improving it through this cycle and be ready to sell when the tide turns back in your favor. However, if you need to sell now then you will need some advice about pricing. Do not be tempted to put it on the market at what you may have gotten last year because it will sit and stagnate. You will get frustrated and your experience will become a very unhappy one. When there are more sellers than buyers human nature dictates that the buyer who looks at your home will want to be confident he is getting a great deal. You will have to stay competitive to sell.
Many sellers, when they sell only look at the differential between what they paid and what they sold for. Factor in what you would have paid in rent and the fact that your money depleted a mortgage debt, not your bank account and even if you end up not realising your hoped for profit you will very likely find you did not lose anything at all. Keep an eye on what is available and if you see anything that interests you contact me so that I may provide you with all the details. My prediction is it will be best to wait until spring to list your cottage if you are selling, and on the flip side, to have the best choice in product available, as a buyer.