All posts by Catharine Inniss

August 2021 Muskoka Real Estate Market Update

Muskoka is a unique, highly sought after and magical place. There are many different kinds of buyers and sellers here. Some merely want a little piece of paradise to escape and camp out in the woods. Others want a mansion on one of the ‘Big Three’, or one of the 2200+ lakes in the district.

And the rest of us are somewhere in between. Waterfront or not, permanent residence or not, we all appreciate being surrounded by water and granite and pine and to do a little swimming, boating, hiking and star gazing.

The privilege can be costly, especially since the pandemic.

Overall prices are up year over year, and have gone up a median value of about $350,000 for waterfront properties since the beginning of 2020.

There were 499 new listings in July and 377 sales. The average DOM (days on market from listing to sale) is 14. Last year the average DOM for July was 23. July 2019 24. July 2018 was 30. We are seeing a trend here.

In terms of dollar volume:

There were 44 sales in Muskoka Lakes. 37 were waterfront and 7 non waterfront. The total dollar volume was $95,220,518.


There were 57 sales in Huntsville. 19 were waterfront and 38 non waterfront. The total dollar volume was $41,870,436.


There were 31 sales in Bracebridge. 10 were waterfront and 21 non waterfront. The total dollar volume was $21,252,027.00.


There were 29 sales in Gravenhurst. 7 were waterfront and 22 non waterfront. The total dollar volume was $19,314,650.00.

There is only a 2.5 month supply of residential properties available currently. The definition of supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes or cottages on the market to sell. Historically, six months of supply is associated with a balanced market between buyers and sellers and a lower level of months’ supply is considered a seller’s market and therefore they can expect to sell faster at a better price. In any market a substantially overpriced property will linger. The key to proper pricing is listing at a reasonable price and encouraging competition. Buyers will only compete when a property is appealing both in terms of features and price.

The trend has been toward less inventory for the last few years – with the exception of a small spike this year due to sellers wanting to cash in on this crazy market.


We do not see the ‘bubble’ bursting. We do not think that there is a bubble. It is a case of supply and demand. And those demanding having a lot of liquidity right now, due to many months of not spending in restaurants, on travel, services like spas, house cleaners, clothing, commuting etc. Interest rates remain low. Cottage buyers for the most part have not been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic.

Inventory has been relatively low for the past several years and we can see why when we look at the relatively low total number of cottages versus the potential buying pool. The Golden Horseshoe has a population of over 7.8 million. Say you considered just one percent of that number – that is 78,000 people in the market for a cottage. And that doesn’t count international buyers or buyers in the rest of Canada.

Some buyers are interested in purchasing to rent their places out. There is a lot of money to be made, but buyers should beware. For those who are perking up their ears, these purchases tighten off an already limited supply. Carefully vet your renters. Property damage is a real risk, as is annoying the neighbours with loud and boisterous behaviour. Enough of that, and the townships may decide to ban rentals.

Muskoka Watershed Council’s 2021 Natural Edge Program

Looking for an edge to protecting your Muskoka property? We endorse this excellent program being delivered in Muskoka this summer. Please call us if you have any questions or need any help.

2021 Natural Edge Program


MWC has received funding through Watersheds Canada to deliver The Natural Edge Program in the Muskoka area this summer!

The Natural Edge Program guides landowners through every step of the shoreline re-naturalization process, from planning to planting. It empowers property owners to restore their shoreline, protect their water quality, and create habitat for wildlife and pollinators using native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.

Participants in The Natural Edge Program receive:A free site visit to discuss shoreline concerns, provide recommendations, and assess planting conditions;
A personalized planting plan, including photos of selected planting areas and ideal plant species;
Free resources to ensure that the newly planted vegetation thrives in the first few years of establishment and growth; and
Follow-up and support with your new plants.
And for landowners wanting to get a jump on planting their shoreline, there are a limited number of Shoreline Re-naturalization Starter Kits available for a low cost, which include:50 native plants including trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers
Coconut fibre mats to deter grass from growing around new plantings
Tree guards for all deciduous trees
Mulch for the wildflowers and ferns
Plant Care Guide with instructions on how to take care of your new plants
Habitat Creation Guide
Wildflower Garden Guide
If you would like to receive a site visit this summer, you can sign up at  https://www.muskokawatershed.org/programs/the-natural-edge/.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (at Home)

These days, it’s more important than ever to support local businesses – so we thought we would share one of our Muskoka favourites with you! Crossroads restaurant, located in Rosseau, has been serving up casual yet upscale meals for more than a decade now. Their dishes (and atmosphere) are sophisticated but still manage to maintain a cottage vibe. We have been there a number of times, in fact it is our “special holidays” spot – birthdays, anniversaries, father’s day… they provide a cozy atmosphere with cheerful, friendly staff and incredible food.

While it may be impossible to experience the atmosphere right now with the pandemic, Crossroads has been a leader in Muskoka in terms of COVID-safe takeout. Not only do they offer online ordering (a rarity around here), they also have contactless pickup brought right out to your car!

They are open for takeout Wednesday – Saturday from 3:00pm – 8:30pm. They also currently offer a curated “chef’s box” for $100 per person that includes hors d’oeuvres, an appetizer, entree & dessert, fresh flowers, and a bottle of red or white wine. Sounds perfect for a date night or Valentine’s Day, doesn’t it? In fact I may just send Steve the link to this blog post…

Give them a chance – you won’t be disappointed. The passion that chefs Julie and Richard Lalonde have for the business is apparent from the very first bite. 

We hope to run into you there once it’s safe to gather again!

(705) 732-4833

https://www.crossroadsrosseau.com

What does a builder build when he builds for himself?

Muskoka real estate can be a crap shoot. Buying a cottage in Muskoka or a Muskoka country property can be a challenge. Whether it is a country property or a waterfront palace, the quality of the build affects Muskoka real estate values. We always recommend a home inspection by a great inspector (our favourite is a building inspector with one of the Muskoka municipalities) to bring any issues to light, especially structural issues.

The country property that I want to talk about today is a beautiful build on 10 acres. The builder has thought of everything. Trent Topping is a local builder who spent most of his career working for a high end builder who has since retired. Trent focuses on accents now. He is a master stair builder, is great at post and beam accents and generally shows great taste and skill in his work.

A few years ago we had a conversation about Muskoka builds. We needed a strategy to find a home that would be built to the standard that he expects. It became apparent that to end up with what he wanted, he would have to build it himself. Trent bought a large parcel of land, a ten minute drive from Bracebridge in the middle of an old growth, mixed forest.

Topping carefully scoped the land, and spent months deciding on the perfect location, overlooking a ravine and surrounded by gorgeous trees. He then spent more months designing a home that would house his building business – so it had to have a large office and a large workshop with oversized garage doors and and 11 and a half foot ceilings.

The builder’s own home also had to be open concept with solid wood floors, two storey stone fireplace and lots and lots of storage. Trent insisted on all the touches that make a Muskoka home not only good quality, but feel like it is in Muskoka.

The product (their home) turned out so well, it exceeded his expectations. The just under 3000 square foot home has three roomy bedrooms, a dedicated office, a full sized office (with a door!), a large bathroom and a loft space on the second floor. The main floor houses a spacious entryway, a private primary bedroom with ensuite, a great room, dining room open to kitchen, pantry, laundry room and powder room.

The 32 x 80 workshop/garage will resonate with the creative part of one’s soul. Underneath all this is a crawlspace which covers 1600 feet, is secure and dry and houses the furnace, water heater and provides more storage.

Whoever gets to enjoy this exquisite property will certainly be participating in the true Muskoka experience.

I Wouldn’t Sell a House in Oakville

It’s not that there is anything wrong with Oakville. There isn’t. At least in my opinion there isn’t. I grew up there. I made lots of friends there. I have great memories there. I have family and friends still there.

I am, however, not qualified to sell real estate there. It is legal for me to do so, because I am licenced for all of Ontario. I don’t think it is ethical though.

My message, as the current President of the Lakelands Association of Realtors is to use a local agent. It is definitely in the best interests of the buyers and sellers. A Muskoka agent knows Muskoka. A Muskoka agent will make the process look easy, but be working hard in the background to make sure that all of the details are taken care of. Aspects that an agent from out of the area would not be aware of.

Does the land flood every spring? Water in the basement? Is the shore road allowance owned? Can the owner legally access the property. How about water quality? And weeds. Are there weeds? A few or a lot. Is the bottom firm and sandy, rocky or squishy? Fishing, boating. Can one navigate from this lake to another.

Help us to help you and please, choose a local realtor.

Check out what I said on CTV Barrie, here

Kindness is the New Black

Greetings Fellow Humans,

I hope that you are all doing well, and coping with self isolation. These are certainly trying times for all of us. We are are all in the same situation with different circumstances. Some of us are coping well and some of us are finding self isolation very challenging, and most of us are somewhere in the middle, with good days and bad days, good hours and challenging hours.

I am continuing my theme of kindness for April. I say that kindness is the new black, and everyone needs to choose to wear it. Kindness applied to yourself first, will contribute to your strength and resolve. Self care will spill over onto others, and afford you the ability to help those around you.

Start with the outward display of kindness – taking good care of yourself. A routine is recommended by experts and will give you some structure to your day. Some days you will just be in survival mode, some days you will actually feel like you are accomplishing something.

Reach out to your friends and clients. Share your positive energy. And when you need some positive energy, reach out! A phone call checking in on clients and expecting nothing in return will help them and make you feel good. Do all the good deeds you can, from the safety of your own home.

Life is definitely not normal now, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot be grateful for the good things that we do have, and reach out when we need help. Please call me if there is anything I can do for you. We are all in this together.

Catharine Inniss 705 801 2304
Lakelands Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors, President 2020

REAL ESTATE IN TRYING TIMES

Greetings Fellow Isolators –

At a time like this, in Muskoka and around the world, a time unprecedented in modern human history, it is good to be reminded that we are not alone. We are all in this together.

We are all part of the human family and this COVID 19 is a world wide epidemic.

A doctor in Manhattan tells us that the sky is falling. Yes, it must seem so in New York. So far, here, we have been very fortunate. The sky is not falling here. Yet.

Your diligence in following protocol, is necessary. It is necessary to keep people alive. We are in an actual life and death situation, which needs to be taken seriously. We must model appropriate behaviour for others, and take leadership roles in our communities.

The province of Ontario has deemed Real Estate an essential service. You should expect that your REALTOR will be there for you, online. They will help you in person only under very carefully managed circumstances. So much can be done virtually now. If this had to happen, at least we have those resources.

Real estate services are important to the economy. And to people who have to buy or sell for health reasons, job reasons, family issues. =Learning to practice real estate while keeping safe, is going to take some creative thinking and some willingness to ’step out of the box’, while staying home.

We are being advised not to leave our homes unless it is absolutely necessary and then to take appropriate precautions.

Current events are going to tell us about who we are. We are about to find out where we are strong and where we need to improve, as citizens and as professionals.

Start with being kind. Kind to yourself, and kind to others. That shows strength of character and is more difficult in stressful times. And more necessary than ever! We are all in the same fallible, human family.

Thinking positively, being grateful for what you have and being kind opens, you to creative solutions. We need to learn how to move forward in the best way possible, and now is the time! This is a good time to learn all the skills that you have been meaning to, online.

Take your mind off yourself. Reach out and call your relatives, friends and clients, just to bring some cheer to their day. You never know whose life you are going to profoundly impact. Make it positive.

Catharine Inniss
The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® President, 2020

Violet Ann in Muskoka!

** Now Sold!** Unique Muskoka Cottage for sale

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Circa 1934

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Double sized level lot steps from water

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Original Fir, Spacious Rooms

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Classic Muskoka Fireplace

 

Real Muskoka cottage for sale.

Every once in a while there is a very special place that speaks to that special cottager who loves Muskoka history. This place was built in the thirties, in Muskoka Beach Village and although it has been very well preserved, it still has all the original features that made cottaging so appealing in the past century.

The cottage is white clapboard, with an oversized Muskoka Room, for starters. You can see the water through the trees, while sitting on the porch. The walls are fir lined, and the rooms are spacious. The original stone fireplace is so appealing, and there are pristine oil lamps attached to the walls.

The bathroom is bright and gleaming and the kitchen is large. If you listen carefully, you can hear the rabble of meal making, and the laughter of a bygone era.

The carefree days of enjoying Olde Muskoka don’t have to be over. Purchase this property today. It stands steadfast on a double lot with municipal water and the potential for municipal sewage. It is currently three season, but would make a great place to live year ’round with some renovations.

The beach is a few steps away. This cottage is not directly on the waterfront (but not across a road) , and therefore the taxes are low.

The deeded access is fewer than a dozen steps to a wide sand beach, lovely swimming and some of the best views Lake Muskoka has to offer. And you thought that Lake Muskoka was just out of your reach. Asking a mere $360,500.00