In Ontario, owning a cottage is more than just possessing a piece of property; it’s a sanctuary for creating precious moments with your loved ones and offers compelling financial advantages. While prices in major cities continue to soar, cottage country in Ontario provides an affordable gateway to property ownership without compromising on space. 

According to the RE/MAX Cottage Trends Report 2023, an increasing number of Canadians are gravitating towards the quality of life a cottage offers compared to urban or larger cities.  

With a vast expanse of cottage country to explore, from Muskoka’s pristine lakes to Haliburton’s rugged beauty and Kawarthas’s scenic shores, Ontario offers a diverse range of landscapes and communities to suit every preference. 

Exploring Ontario’s Best Cottage Country   

Prince Edward County 

Prince Edward County is a sought-after destination for craft beer lovers, food enthusiasts, and culture seekers. It is located between Ottawa and Toronto. But don’t be fooled by its small-town vibe; Prince Edward County boasts over 500km of shoreline with diverse geography and unique beaches. With seven communities to explore, Prince Edward County offers extensive recreational activities, scenic landscapes, art galleries, and culinary delights.  

As the area’s popularity soars, urban dwellers visit PEC for vacations, getaways, and, surprisingly, to purchase their dream property. The most in-demand areas in PEC for homebuyers are Bloomfield, Picton, and Wellington.  

Whether you’re looking for raw land, waterfront cottages, fully-managed cottages, or newly built homes with modern amenities, the county has it all. PEC’s real estate market truly caters to diverse needs, ensuring that whatever you’re searching for, you’ll find it within the county’s borders. 

Georgian Bay  

Georgian Bay is considered a cottager’s paradise with over 2,000 km of shoreline and 30,000 islands. It is a popular destination known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, renowned restaurants, 5-star spas, craft beer and cider community, and real estate opportunities.  

One of the best features of the Georgian Bay region is its access to winter activities, making it an attractive option for those interested in enjoying both water-related activities in the summer and winter sports from November to March. The area offers opportunities for downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, winter hiking, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. 

The average price in the Southern Georgian Bay cottage market experienced a significant decrease of 18.5 per cent year-over-year. In Q1 2022, the average price was $1,069,105, which dropped to $870,899 in Q1 2023. This decline in prices suggests a more favourable market for potential buyers. 

Muskoka 

Muskoka, located just two hours north of Toronto, is considered Canada’s crown jewel of cottage real estate. The region is renowned for its picturesque lakes, with 1,600 lakes to explore and enjoy various water activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Muskoka has exceptional dining options, craft beer, theatre, and an emerging distillery trend.  

It includes several communities, including Port Severn, Port Sydney, Gravenhurst, Midland, Huntsville, Honey Harbor, Penetang, Bracebridge, Lake of Bays, Hidden Valley, and more. Each community has its own unique charm and features, providing diverse options for those looking to purchase real estate in the area. 

The average price in the Muskoka region declined by 14 per cent, dropping from $978,950 in the first quarter of 2022 to $841,887 in the same period of 2023. Additionally, the average number of sales decreased by 34.5 per cent. 

Peterborough and Kawarthas  

Peterborough and the Kawarthas are some of the favourite destinations for cottagers and those looking for a quieter life all year long. It’s made up of two main regions, the City of Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes – which is comprised of several small neighbouring towns, hamlets and villages. 

Peterborough is the largest urban area in the Kawartha region. Though small, this city packs a big punch with a thriving live music scene and bustling arts community. This is likely due, in part, to the presence of both Flemming College and Trent University.  

Of course, let’s not forget the City of Kawartha Lakes, or “The Land of Shining Waters,” are a series of interconnected series of lakes of various sizes.  

For waterfront cottages in the Kawarthas, focus on properties located on rivers, inlets, or islands, as these tend to be more cost-effective than those on larger lakes. Another option is to purchase a basic cottage, starting around $400,000, as an entry point into the market. You can then renovate or rebuild the cottage later, according to your preferences. 

The average price in the Peterborough and the Kawarthas cottage market decreased by 31% from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023, while the average number of sales decreased by 48.3 per cent. 

The current state of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas cottage market is balanced, meaning there is a relatively equal number of buyers and sellers. As the warmer months approach, sidelined buyers are anticipated to return to the market, increasing demand for cottages in the region. 

Finding Your Property  

With a vast expanse of cottage country to explore, from Muskoka’s pristine lakes to Georgian Bay’s rugged beauty and the scenic shores of Kawarthas, Ontario offers a diverse range of landscapes and communities to suit every preference. 

Your RE/MAX agent can help you find the perfect sanctuary where memories will be cherished for years to come! 

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