Muskoka, Ontario Cottages for Sale
Muskoka, ON Real Estate Market & Guide
If you are one of the many Canadians who dream of owning a cottage, Muskoka is by far one of the most beautiful places in the country for your second home. Located just two hours due north of Toronto, it is a popular choice for cottage owners, many who have owned their cottages for generations. Although there is in fact a Lake Muskoka, Muskoka itself is a district, not an actual town. With 1,600 peaceful lakes and three charming towns offering first-class amenities, Muskoka is well worth the investment to have a cottage in this world-class destination.
The Beauty of Muskoka
Muskoka has been attracting tourists and cottage owners to its lovely location since the late 1800s. It is home to many prestigious spots for the rich and famous including the highly desirable Lake Rousseau. The District Municipality of Muskoka has a population of 60,599, which increases to about 85,163 in the high season of summer.
In hand with its truly spectacular landscape, which is set afire in the fall, Muskoka is the playground of the rich, while also attracting tourists and families who have owned property in the area for many generations. To the west, it sits on the majestic waters of Georgian Bay and its 6,475 km2 include green forests, 1,600 freshwater Muskoka lakes and the popular nature lovers’ destination Algonquin Park in the east.
There is no shortage of activities in Muskoka from hiking to boating and retail therapy to fine dining. Because of the prestige of the location, high-end amenities abound, including popular hot spots frequented by cottagers and tourists.
The area has also become the home for many trendy attractions including local breweries like The Sawdust Brewing Company. Summer wouldn’t be the same for many Muskoka residents without taking in a concert at the Kee to Bala that has attracted the likes of The Tragically Hip. Throughout the summer and into the fall there are ongoing events from antique and boat shows to RibFest and water ski shows to the Cranberry Festival.
The area offers an interesting cultural and arts experience from live dinner theatre to the Group of Seven outdoor art gallery. Attractions popular with tourists include Santa’s Village, the retro Muskoka Drive-in and Muskoka Heritage Place.
Muskoka’s economy is greatly dependent on the tourism and service sector. However, it also has a growing public service sector, and not surprisingly a strong construction and real estate sector. It has attracted several international manufacturing firms.
The tourism and service industries have been significant in the growth of the local economy, with a focus on making the economy thrive all year round. As a result, the area has attracted new investment in hand with a better-trained and educated workforce.
Almost a third of Muskoka’s labour force is employed in services including the accommodation, food and beverage sectors thanks to tourism. Because of the growing popularity of the area, Muskoka has not seen the same restrictions in job growth as most northern areas. Instead, a thriving construction and real estate market has helped boost the economy allowing it to expand beyond tourism dependability.
The main towns of Muskoka include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville, as well as the townships of Georgian Bay. Other popular areas include Port Carling and Lake of Bays. Muskoka properties are set in idyllic locations on the pristine lakes of the area, ranging from massive mansions to humble, unwinterized cottages..
Central to Muskoka is Bracebridge, located on the Muskoka River. The town was voted one of the 10 most historic downtowns in Ontario, where you will find ample shopping and dining experiences. The town is also located close to many amenities from beaches to libraries and galleries to sports clubs and facilities.
Huntsville is located close to Algonquin Park and offers all the amenities you need to keep busy. It is committed to offering cultural and arts opportunities including theatre, galleries and entertainment. Although the town is small, it makes up for in quality what it lacks in size.
Gravenhurst offers a lively community located on the shores of Georgian Bay. It has a lower cost of living, and a wide assortment of activities year-round including recreational, cultural and community events.
The Village of Rousseau is the most elite area, where cottage curb appeal is viewed from the lake. These are the homes to 1 percenters attracting Hollywood stars and Toronto’s wealthiest. Lake Joseph is another spot known for its massive cottages. It would not be surprising to find homes boasting as much as 9,000 sq. ft or more in these elite areas.
All areas of Muskoka attract cottage and homeowners of all ages from singles to young families and seniors to millennials looking for a piece of prime Canadian real estate.
Many people considering buying a cottage are worried about healthcare and emergency services in the north. In Muskoka there are several towns, each offering healthcare facilities including emergency services. There are three hospitals and three walk-in clinics in Muskoka.
As well, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided funding for a three-year Health Hub Demonstration Project to enhance healthcare services in rural and remote communities in the District of Muskoka. This included four sites including the Dorset, Port Carling, Wahta sites, and a mobile site.
Getting Around Muskoka
Not surprisingly, a car is a must when living in Muskoka. Muskoka’s location is close to major Provincial highways connecting it to North Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, Barrie and Toronto including Highways 11, 69 and 400. This keeps you close to major metropolitan centres if you are feeling a little shut off from the hustle and bustle of the city. Although there are some bus services, for the most part, you will want to drive. Some people have taken to flying to the area as the Muskoka Airport hosts Porter Airlines and FLYGTA Airlines for passenger flights.
Muskoka Real Estate
The greatest appeal of Muskoka is home affordability especially in the areas of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst. While cottages in the areas of Lake Rousseau and Lake Joseph are beyond reach for most, these areas remain affordable. Properties range from lakefront to homes in the main towns and you can also find private islands or even private lakes in some cases. The main challenge for real estate in Muskoka is that often houses are sold before they even hit the MLS multiple listing service market as demand continues to rise. However, in 2019 there was an increase in inventory of 4.5 percent, which is helping level out supply and demand.
The market has seen average cottage prices increase since 2010 by 86.7%. The average sale price has gone up 10.7% to $1,844,414, of which four sales sold for over $8MM. The effect the purchase sale at these extreme rates has on the market has drastically risen average pricing. The number of days on market is 71 days with houses selling fastest in Q3 in 2019. The sale to list percentage of 95.5% in 2019 indicates no change from 2018.
If you would like more information about buying or selling a cottage in Muskoka, reach out to our team today.