ontario cottage prices

Buyers flocking to Ontario's cottage country for cheaper prices are in for a rude surprise

Recreational real estate markets are a hot draw, and not just because people need a temporary getaway from big cities like Toronto.

Holiday and recreational destinations in Ontario have long been known as getaways for the upper-middle class and the wealthy, but new data shows that increasing numbers are seeking out locales like Muskoka and Georgian Bay for their comparative affordability over urban housing markets.

It's part of a wider trend, RE/MAX Canada reporting that 39 per cent of Canadians living in recreational markets are drawn to their affordability, edging out factors like access to water (37 per cent), outdoor recreation (33 per cent), and low-density neighbourhoods (31 per cent).

But all of us city folk invading these serene destinations is contributing to rising housing prices in many Ontario recreational markets.

Among the markets expected to see housing price increases, some standouts include a projected 10 per cent spike in Windsor-Essex; five per cent in Kenora and Lake-Of-The-Woods; five per cent in the Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin Island region; nine per cent in Southern Georgian Bay; 18 per cent in Muskoka; and eight per cent in Rideau Lakes.

It's not all sunshine and roses for these markets, though, with Orillia expected to see housing prices decrease by 10 per cent before the year is out, after prices skyrocketed by over 34 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

Rising home prices often translate to increased investor activity, and that's precisely what's happening in markets like Windsor-Essex, Peterborough & Kawartha Lakes, Southern Georgian Bay and Orillia, where brokers are reported to be the primary players in the housing game.

All of this price appreciation and investment is not sitting well with existing residents of these markets across the country, with RE/MAX finding that 41 per cent surveyed in these communities nationwide were concerned about future affordability.

An even higher number at 54 per cent are worried about city folk coming in and ruining the idyllic charm of their communities, which we tend to do by importing our unquenchable thirst for lattes, alternative milks, and other conveniences of living in a major metropolis into these smaller municipalities.

Lead photo by

Brian Rome

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