Private Office: Operating in Muskoka Ontario

Muskoka Real Estate Waterfront Sales Trends Summer 2019

What are the odds of Buying or Selling a Waterfront Property in Muskoka?

The wet cold spring season resulted in a significant reduction of Waterfront listings at the onset of 2019. As of mid-summer, July 2019, listings have increased to 570 active lakefront listings (670 including river property) in the entire district, slightly higher than the previous two years.

The low number of listings is surprising for a geographic region with hundreds of Lakes! Using historical data and July numbers as a predictor, the listing trend for waterfront property is slowly on the rise. This is an encouraging sign for cottage buyers. The difficult reality however, is that availability of property is in the higher-end price range. The listing trend indicates that there are more properties in the higher price range being listed for sale as compared to entry or mid-range.  

40% of Cottages listed on Muskoka Lakes are priced over $1Million.

It is interesting to breakdown cottage listings by price point, from entry level ($400,000 - $600,000) to higher-end. If the budget is between $450-500,000 there are a choice of 13 properties in Muskoka (very slim pickings, be prepared to compete!). Greater choice is found on the “Big Four” Lakes if the budget is over $1M. As of July 2019, there were 231 Listings over $1 Million dollars in Muskoka – that is 40% of cottages listed. There were 200 listings posted over $1M in the same timeframe 2018.

A further examination of listing trends in the higher-end show price availability differences between the “Big Four” Lakes. Lake Muskoka and Lake of Bays carry a substantially greater choice under $1Million as well as between $1M and $2M.

Active Lakefront Listings July 2019 (Not including rivers)

Lake of Bays has more cottages in the + $1-3M range than under $1M. Lake Muskoka usually carries the highest number of total listings.

*Fractional Property Listings

The number of cottages listed on the most expensive lakes, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau, is on the rise. The bulk of properties are listed in the $2M range (13) and the $3M range (14).

Compare the number of cottages currently listed versus the number of those that have sold per month, year to date in all of Muskoka (chart below). 

*Fractional Properties Sold

Based on the median price behaviour year to date in Muskoka, it be indicative that prices are softening. Sales continue to show a lag from the 2017 Market peak.


No matter what type of cottage you seek, or in which price range, be prepared and willing to compromise. This is not at all like house-hunting. No two cottages are the same. When making a choice, always keep in mind that it is what CAN NOT be changed that should be seriously considered. List prices will hinge on several features: topography of the lot, the exposure to the sun, the access (either road or water,) the size of lake, the size of the water frontage, location on the lake itself, the bay, the activity, the neighbourhood, the proximity to amenities, health and emergency services… these are features of a cottage property that rarely change. Keep in mind that the structure itself can be updated or renovated over the short or long term.

A strong local realtor is the best resource for specific cottage property issues such as private roads, easements, road allowances and municipality building by-laws.

The 2019 Muskoka Real Estate fall market will likely be robust for cottage sales. Based on historical sales data, the best time to purchase a cottage is the fall as Sellers will be motivated and Buyers have room to negotiate. Price adjustments are anticipated for those cottages that have not yet sold. A new wave of listings are coming from Sellers finally (and reluctantly) making the choice to sell and not wanting to carry over the winter season. Sellers are advised to price competitively if motivated to sell before the snow flies.

In general, the number of listings with the high-end market is on the rise. Entry level sales remain strong and competitive. Entry level buyers are cautioned to act quickly when something piques their interest. This fabulous summer weather should result in a robust fall market.

*data from the Lakelands Association of Realtors Board as of July 31 2019

If you would like sales data from a specific lake in Muskoka, or are considering selling your cottage, Suzanne will be happy to offer knowledgeable and professional advice. Please reach out directly.

Wishing everyone a long warm fall season!