What’s Happening in the Muskoka Real Estate Market July 2022

We have seen some changes in the Muskoka real estate waterfront market since May/June of 2022. Muskoka cottage sales seem more familiar – aka “normal.” There are very few frantic bidding wars.

Days on Market are longer – averaging 14 for June versus 10 for May. It is still a seller’s market.

Overall there are fewer listings on the market, but just slightly. We had 604 new listings in June. May added 702 listings. Compare that to June 2021 with 645 new listings and May 2021 with 674 new listings.

The median price across the board for June 2022 was $715,000.00 compared to a median price of $650,000.00 in June of 2021. May median price was $744,590.00 in 2022 and 656,000.00 in 2021.

Interest rates are expected to rise 75 basis points on July 13. The government wants to control inflation as a priority. Curbing record 7.7% inflation is key to a healthy economy. As important as that is, fewer buyers could qualify for mortgages, thus slowing real estate sales.

Bank of Canada is expected to adjust the size of its hikes to 25 basis point increments or lower in October and December, taking the rate to 3.25% by year-end.

The BoC is expected to pause on rate increases throughout next year even as the Fed carries on raising rates. Bank of Canada predicted inflation would ease to 2.5% in late 2023, putting more money in buyer’s pockets and freeing up cash flow to accommodate cottage purchases, and the gas to get to them.

The housing market, meanwhile, has already shown signs of a rapid slowdown, albeit after eye-watering double-digit rises during the past two years during the pandemic.

“There has been some offset from the large pile of savings accumulated during the pandemic and that’s kind of cushioning the inflation pain,” said Sal Guatieri, director and senior economist at BMO.

“But eventually that will wear off and we will see high inflation curbing spending even more dramatically in the year ahead.”

We are cautiously optimistic that the rise in interest rates will not slow the cottage sales market. There is a very large buyer pool still waiting for their chance on a relatively small amount of inventory.

A recent survey showed a median 35% chance of recession within a year. It is predicted to rise to 40% over the next two years.

We have posted a file of the relevant stats for overall waterfront market activity and waterfront market activity by location below, for our more analytically minded friends. 

If you’re looking for non-waterfront stats or anything else that we haven’t included please email us at cath@cottageinmuskoka.ca or len@cottageinmuskoka.ca. We are able to provide statistics at any level of detail that you like. We’ll be happy to send them to you!

So that’s it – that’s what’s happening in the Muskoka real estate market July 2022.

A Weekend in Port Carling – Quintessential Experiences

Looking for things to do in Port Carling and Muskoka Lakes? Here are the essential experiences, laid out in order by time of day. You may want to plan out a few weekends to visit, or talk to us about getting yourself a cottage, because you’ll need lots of time for the most essential experience of all – relaxing by the water and forgetting that time even exists.

Early morning mirror magic, at Mirror Lake in Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Wake up in time for a sunrise (at least once!)

View the sunrise from wherever you choose – but I’d highly recommend picking a bay or smaller section of lake. It’s not just about the sunrise itself – it’s the mirror-like reflection of the morning clouds on the lake that really make early Muskoka mornings magical.

Check out the Port Carling Wall

The Port Carling wall is a local icon. I recommend grabbing a coffee at Beveragino before walking over to the wall. From there you can enjoy the sun and views on the docks, or walk downtown to do some shopping.

Don’t forget to find the blue and red Muskoka chair while you’re there – the wall is part of the View the Lakes tour, said to showcase the best views in Muskoka.

The Port Carling Wall, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Visiting the Muskoka Lakes Museum

The Muskoka Lakes Museum is set on James Bartleman island, between the locks. It houses a collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits showcasing the way life was in Muskoka. I’ve been to a lot of museums around the world, and believe me when I say this is a special one.

Lunch on the Waterfront Patio at Turtle Jack’s

You can walk or drive there of course, but the best way to go is by boat! Turtle Jacks is a classic choice, but there are a few great waterfront restaurants to check out. Or, grab takeout from York & Mason, Portside Fusion, or one of the many other choices in Port Carling and bring it down to the docks for a picnic.

Turtle Jack’s and Duke’s at sunset, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Going out for ice cream

Check out Mooskokas right in Port Carling, or go by boat to Silver Streams Market on Lake Rosseau. It’s located right across from Port Sandfield Marina. Pro tip: they make amazing sandwiches.

Visit Stone Cottage Antiques (Little Red Barn Antiques)

Or visit one of the many antique stores in the area – there is another along Hwy. 118 that opened this year – just look for the red, white, & blue ”antiques” sign (before you hit Windermere nursery on your way into Port Carling).

Visit the LCBO by boat

The LCBO in downtown Port Carling is located right at the water – park your boat outside and head in for some drinks. This is a unique Muskoka experience and a definite must! Just remember the golden rule – water on the water, and beer on the pier!

My favourite? Jumping off the boat a few minutes before we dock at home, so I can swim in for a drink. Passengers only, of course…

Boating through the locks and up to Lake Rosseau and Lake Joe

Boat from Lake Muskoka up the Indian River to the Port Carling locks, then through to Lake Rosseau. From there you can head toward Port Sandfield, and under the bridge to Lake Joe. Interested in checking out some interesting builds in the area? Message us and we’ll give you a list of must sees!

Taking a friend and her pup out to see Lake Joe, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario.

Visit the Sherwood Inn on Lake Joseph

Visit the spa, have a few drinks, have dinner, or do all 3! I highly recommend having dinner out on the patio – watching the colours change with the sunset over Lake Joe while surrounded by all those big tall trees is just lovely. And the food is amazing, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Catch a Sunset at Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is one of the absolute best places to catch a sunset in Muskoka. Watch closely for the white marks on the rocks to follow the trail up to the lookout point – some of the oldest rock in the world at well over a billion years old. The exposed rock dotted with lichens and moss is gorgeous to begin with, but the view is out of this world. You can see right across Lake Muskoka.

This is a favourite of mine year round, but I think fall is the best time to visit (link to fall in Muskoka blog post). Be warned – there is a small portion of the trail which is steep, and the trail can be very icy in the winter.

Just after a Fall sunset at Huckleberry Rock, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

So there you have it – lots of things to do in Port Carling and Muskoka Lakes! If you need a few more (or ideas for an area we haven’t covered yet), give me a shout at Len@cottageinmuskoka.ca!

Face to Face and Bumper to Bumper – The Gravenhurst Car Show 2022

The 29th annual Gravenhurst Car Show was held on June 18, 2022 at Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst. It’s been a couple of years since the show could be held in person, and everyone seemed pretty excited to be back together in person again! Here are a few of my favourite pics from the show.

Catharine Inniss at the Gravenhurst Car Show, Gull Lake Rotary Park, Gravenhurst. June 18, 2022.
A Chrysler DeSoto at the Gravenhurst Car Show, Gull Lake Rotary Park, Gravenhurst. June 18, 2022.
A couple of friends really getting a good look at a Ferrari at the Gravenhurst Car Show, Gull Lake Rotary Park, Gravenhurst. June 18, 2022.
OYAABABY! The Gravenhurst Car Show, Gull Lake Rotary Park, Gravenhurst. June 18, 2022.

If you went to the show, did you vote for a favourite? Let us know which!

Muskoka History – The Port Carling Wall

A couple checking out the Port Carling Wall, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. Fall 2021.

The Port Carling is 9,028 pictures pieced together into a 111ft. x 45ft. mosaic of the RMS Sagamo passing through the Port Carling Locks in 1922.

There are 906 individual photographs, which depict life in Muskoka Lakes between 1860 and 1960. They can be viewed in the nine foot lower portion of the mural – from there up the photos are replicated.

Don’t forget to find the red and blue Muskoka chair while you’re there – the wall is part of the View the Lakes chair tour, said to showcase the best views in Muskoka.

Happy exploring!

Wearied Buyers, Your Time Has Arrived – Muskoka Spring Real Estate Report

We are starting to see the Muskoka real estate market shift. From the frantic 2021 cottage market season right up until recently, holding offers until a specific date has been a popular strategy for sellers to drive up competition for listings. Listings were seeing a large number of offers and disappearing from the market quickly. Now we’re seeing more of a mix – some listings are seeing multiple offers, and some are quietly removing their request for offers when the day comes and passes with nothing.

One factor in the shifting market we’re experiencing is the Bank of Canada raising policy interest rates by 0.5% in April, one of the major goals of which was to bring inflation levels back to their target 2% (vs. the 6.7% reported in March). This is the first time it has raised rates by more than 25 basis points in more than two decades. Higher interest rates mean higher borrowing costs, which lowers demand. We expect interest rates will continue to be increased until borrowing costs are back to pre-pandemic levels of 3%. The next announcement is on June 1, 2022.

The 2022 Federal Budget also puts a few factors into play that could effect Muskoka’s real estate market moving forward. It focused heavily on housing initiatives, including (among others):

  • A foreign ban on buyers for two years
  • An anti-flipping tax that removes the principal residence exemption for properties that were purchased and sold within the same 12-month period (with some exceptions). The proposed anti-flipping measure would apply to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023.
  • Sales tax on all assignment sales. Starting May 7, 2022, anyone selling their agreement of purchase and sale to a new buyer will be subject to a tax of up to 26%

Does this mean the bottom will fall out and prices will go way down? Highly unlikely. Historically, we still have quite low inventory. It’s gone up from 2021, but properties are limited – especially waterfront. Plus, the already strong desirability of living in Muskoka has only increased after the pandemic. On top of that, there is still a large portion of the population approaching retirement age, who are looking to relocate to somewhere like Muskoka for their golden years.

If you’re a buyer, it’s time to shake off the fatigue of last season and get back to your cottage search – with less competition.

I have posted the relevant stats for overall waterfront market activity and waterfront market activity by location below, for our more analytically minded friends.

If you’re looking for non-waterfront stats or anything else that I haven’t included please email me at len@cottageinmuskoka.ca. I’d be happy to send it to you!

Overall MLS Waterfront Market Activity

Muskoka Real Estate Market information on waterfront properties for all of Lakelands North, which includes Muskoka and surrounding areas. Real estate sales activity, dollar volume, months of inventory both actual and year-to-date.
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Muskoka Waterfront Market Activity by Location

Muskoka Lakes

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Huntsville

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Bracebridge

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Gravenhurst

Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors
Source: The Lakelands Association of Realtors

Muskoka Lakes History – Moving Heart’s Content by Barge

My parents live in Port Carling, in an old house now known as ‘Caledonia House’ (formerly Heart’s Content). It has spent portions of it’s life as a: private home, resort, music venue (more on that soon), and who knows what else. But the coolest part? It didn’t start out where it lives today – it was moved across Indian River and Mirror Lake by barge! Here is an excerpt from the 1995 book Indian River Tales by Ann Duke Judd.

The Vedette and Heart’s Content, Indian River and Mirror Lake, Port Carling. From Indian River Tales by Anne Duke Judd.
The Moving of Heart’s Content

“The old Heart’s Content was built around 1916 at Indian Point. In early spring, around 1928 it was put onto two scows, using horses and the high water to help.

Cribwork on the scows kept it level at the old elevation; the scows were borrowed from one of the lumber companies, and Allan Dixon was in charge of the operation. One scow sprang a leak, and since there was no electrical power at the point, it had to be hand-pumped all night. Art Duke and others took turns keeping the pump going.

The next day, they set off across the river, but about half way across Mirror Lake, the steering mechanism on the Vedette broke, and she had to be taken up to Port for repairs. The wind blew the scows and house down to Arcadia point. The centre timber caught on trees along the riverbank and pulled out – fortunately, the two outside timbers stayed secure and the house remained level.

A second time, the men attached the scows to the Vedette, and pulled their cargo close to its new site on the eastern shore – but because the boat could not tow it in from the front, the lines had to be untied while the Vedette manoeuvred to the stern to push it in.

Again, the house got away, the wind blowing it ashore at the Schreibers’. By the time it was securely tied at the proper place on the shore, daylight was gone. There was electricity on this side, but it was not very reliable then, so an electric pump was left running overnight.

The next morning, Heart’s Content was moved ashore, and lowered – one crib timber at a time – onto its site at the bottom of Silver Creek Hill.

Here it remained the home of Arthur and ‘Did’ Duke (née Elizabeth McCulley) and their sons Thomas and Reay until 1948, when the couple’s retirement home was built. The sign still identifies that home, now the residence of Rev. Tom Duke and his wife Charlotte. Tom’s main memory of the house moving is the disappointment he felt at having to go to school, and miss the excitement of the move.”

Modern day Caledonia House on Mirror Lake, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, ON.
Modern day Caledonia House, Mirror Lake, Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, ON.
Caledonia House sign – located on Mirror Lake in Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, ON.

Ontario Real Estate Regulations Changing to Offer Alternative to Blind Bidding

Under the current blind bidding system, potential buyers submit offers without knowing the contents of competing offers. The seller’s agent must disclose the number of offers received to all other parties who have submitted an offer, but none of the details – whether price or conditions.

The new regulations coming into effect April 1, 2023 would allow sellers the option of an open bidding process. Blind bidding will still be allowed, but it will depend on what the seller wants. Should they chose to opt for open bidding, the brokerages who represent them would disclose details of competing offers.

The Ontario government says these new regulations will help to make the home buying process more transparent, bringing down the rapidly inflating cost of homes. Blind bidding does create an opportunity for sellers to drive up prices by signing back offers for a higher price, with the potential buyer left guessing how much (if any) improvement would actually be needed to beat out the other offers on the table. With that said, it’s hard to see why the majority of sellers would chose to have open bidding with blind bidding still an option. 

If this new open bidding process proves to be a popular option, it may increase trust between buyers and their agents  – there seems to be a common misconception that agents are the driving force behind not disclosing the details of other offers, when in reality it is the current law. A more transparent process would ease that mistrust – as well as the huge amount of fatigue buyers are feeling in the current market.

I personally don’t think this move will change much – blind bidding benefits sellers, not buyers – so putting the choice in the hands of the seller seems to point to an obvious outcome. 

There will be other changes to the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) coming into effect in April 2023 as well: simpler standardized forms, and more disciplinary powers to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the body in charge of enforcing rules for real estate salespeople and brokers.

Muskoka Watershed council launches new stewardship recognition program

The Doug Cross Stewardship Recognition Program, named for a late member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, aims to help local community and lake organizations across Muskoka’s watersheds recognize residents who protect the local watershed.

Each year from January 1-31, eligible organizations can register to receive a free recognition package from Muskoka Watershed Council. That organization will select a winner as they see fit. Each recognition package contains a Certificate of Recognition and a $50 gift card to Hidden Habitat native plant Nursery in Kilworthy – who happen to be the local expert we recommend when it comes to advice on naturalizing your shoreline!

Doug Cross, via www.muskokawatershed.org

Here is what the Muskoka Watershed Council has to say about Doug Cross:

“Doug Cross sat on the Muskoka Watershed Council from 2004 to 2008 as a representative for the Bracebridge Community. During his time on MWC, he used his extensive background and expertise in media communications to help get MWC’s messages out to the community. As Chair of MWC’s Communications Committee, he spearheaded the development of the Best Practices Program and secured a number of PSAs on local radio stations in support of the program.

Even after stepping down from MWC in 2008, Doug was a frequent visitor to the MWC office and attended many MWC events. He was a great advocate for MWC in the community and he continued his support with a generous donation to MWC upon his passing on January 25, 2020 at the age of 76. MWC is proud to name the Stewardship Recognition Program after Doug Cross as a way to encourage members of our communities to keep our watersheds beautiful.”

We love this idea – keep up the great work, MWC!

Click here for more details

The Year of the fresh start – 2022!

We hope that there were lots of good highlights for you in 2021 and that you were able to enjoy a rich holiday season. 


Winter is historically a slower time in real estate. Comparatively speaking, this has been a strong late fall/winter season so far. Overall sales volume is down somewhat, but that is due to few sales, which we attribute to lack of inventory. Individual sale prices are up from last year and continue to trend upwards.


Please see the individual charts for Muskoka and please feel free to contact me at 705-801-2304 for more details on anything you have a particular interest in. We have the stats at our fingertips and our job is to help you decipher them.

Muskoka Lakes:

Huntsville:

Bracebridge:

Gravenhurst:


Have a wonderful start to what promises to be a wonderful year – Happy 2022 Everybody!

Pigs in blankets, chocolate orange, and sprouts

I’ve just spent my first Christmas away from my family – because I’m in the UK! You can find more info on that in my last post, but long story short, I was on an extended trip and didn’t want to travel home for Christmas and help spread Omicron to Muskoka. Since I’ve just experienced my first British Christmas, I thought I would write about a few differences between Canadian Christmas and Christmas in the UK.

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

Every year, the Queen delivers a Christmas message reflecting on current issues and concerns the UK faces, and what Christmas means to her and her followers. More than 9 million viewers tuned in for her address this year. Though this isn’t a tradition in every household, it is in many, and even families who don’t watch every year seem to tune in from time to time.

For some, it is a very serious occasion – my dad Steve remembers visiting his Great Grandmother (born in England) every year on Christmas morning. She would be dressed up for the occasion, and he and his brother Chris would be kicked out of the room for the Queen’s Christmas message. You are also supposed to stand for the National anthem (God Save the Queen). Or maybe for the entire speech… it’s been different depending on who I’ve asked. This investigative reporter has been inundated with sherry and pigs in blankets, so I’ll settle on reporting that some standing is certainly involved.

Obsession with Chocolate Orange

As kids, we would often get a Terry’s chocolate orange in our Christmas stocking. I know many families enjoy chocolate oranges at Christmas, but England takes it to another level entirely. I pointed this out to my friend when Christmas items started appearing in stores at the beginning of November. My friend responded with “well, we definitely have a few but I don’t think there’s that many?” And so my quest to find as many chocolate orange items as possible began.

I made an instagram post the other day where I counted through 49 of them (forgetting about the chocolate orange milk in our fridge, and the chocolate orange subway cookie we had picked up). This also doesn’t include a few items that we had seen in November but could no longer find, like yorkies and lion bars. Cookies, chocolate, even diet bars – if you like chocolate orange, England is the place for you.

I wasn’t kidding when I said OBSESSED!
Christmas Day Foods

Many of the traditional Christmas dinner items in Canada are the same as in the UK – some sort of fowl as the main, stuffing, potatoes, sprouts, green beans, gravy, and cranberry sauce. The stuffing is different – it does use breadcrumbs, but it seems much heavier on the sausage and has the addition of chestnuts. British Christmas dinner includes a few things that the Canadian version doesn’t – Christmas pudding (except for in some families), and pigs in blankets (an absolute must here).

It’s also traditional to have mincemeat pies on Christmas Day and at Christmas celebrations here – something I’ve never known anyone to do in Canada (but let us know if your family does!).

White Christmas

In recent years, this has changed a little… but growing up you could pretty much always expect to have a white Christmas! In England this is a rarity. We actually ended up having snow on Christmas night this year… and at home in Port Carling there was none! Notwithstanding this role reversal, generally you can expect snow in Muskoka and a green (no, really!) Christmas in England… well, and grey. Grey skies always.

Brussels Sprouts Products

Okay, so we may have sprouts at Christmas… but we don’t love them nearly as much as the Brits do. I was amazed when Christmas season hit and they started popping up everywhere – I’ve seen Brussels Sprouts:

  • Ornaments
  • Socks (I bought these – Brussels ‘pouts,’ and all the sprouts had big red lips!)
  • Stress balls
  • Truffles
  • Milk Chocolates
  • Gift bags
  • Wrapping paper
  • Gin
  • A suit (seriously, yes – I’ll include a picture)
  • Sauce
  • Cards
Source: amazon.co.uk
Boxing Day

Boxing Day is one of the biggest shopping days in Canada – that’s not much of a thing in England. I found most shops closed, aside from grocery stores. There is a different tradition though – a boxing day dip! The friend I’m staying with has parents who live near the coast, where people run into the ocean on Boxing Day – sometimes for charity, sometimes just for fun. Sounds a little less cushy than our tradition!

Source: thenorthernecho.co.uk

My friend’s mum also told me about her grandparents, who were married on Boxing Day. A lot of people struggled for money back then, so they would get married on Boxing Day to take advantage of the Christmas leftovers. Smart!

And that’s it – all the differences between Christmas in England and Canada that I’ve found so far. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know! And Happy New Year to all!

Muskoka cottage life & real estate