Muskoka Real Estate Market 2015 Year In Review

August 13, 2018

2015 Year In Review

Good weather, a prolonged fall season and a growing demographic of retired people moving to Muskoka has made 2015 a year of continued growth. Residential unit sales up 11.8% and recreational unit sales up 10.4%, (figure 1). The average price for a home in Muskoka is now $267,987.09, up 4.5% from the year previous. The average sale price for a cottage is now $791,665.08, down 1.2% (figure 2).


We have experienced a number of firsts in 2015, the highest sale price recorded on the Lakelands Real Estate Board of $12,500,000 on Lake Joseph, a highest sale price recorded on Lake Muskoka of $10,500,000, and for the first time since before the recession in 2008 we are experiencing a seller’s residential market. The sale to list ratio for residential properties has moved above 55% (figure 3). This would indicate for the first time we are edging into a seller’s market in Muskoka for residential properties. Even though the recreational unit sales have increased, this market remains balanced, (figure 4).


We are often asked when is the best time to sell a Muskoka home or cottage. Included below is a graph, (figures 5 & 6) showing which month(s) has the highest number of listings and the highest amount of sales. With both residential and recreational properties, the spring market still tends to be the hottest market in Muskoka, with most sales occurring between May and October.

With residential unit sales up almost 12% (figure 1), the most significant growth is within the price range of $400,000 to $500,000 up an amazing 76% (figure 7). This can be attributed primarily to our increasing retirement age demographic moving to Muskoka. These individuals typically have sold a home in the GTA for considerably more money and are now moving to Muskoka and saving in the process. With people living longer than ever and their home being a considerable portion of their portfolio, a move to Muskoka allows them this luxury.


As mentioned previously Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka have seen the highest sales ever recorded in Muskoka, with sale prices of $12,500,000 and $10,500,000 respectively. The other notable here is the rise in the entry-level cottage pricing between $300,000 and $400,000, we can see an increase of 34.6% (figure 8). Hopefully this is a sign of a strengthening workforce in Toronto and surrounding areas, who are investing in the cottage market.


Residential average sale price for both Bracebridge and Huntsville has increased over 7.5% for 2015, bringing the average price around $282,000. Gravenhurst actually had a decrease in the average price down 1.7% to $242,481 (figure 9). We can only speculate that Bracebridge and Huntsville being larger communities and therefore more preferred for the amenities offered to people moving north from the GTA. The Gravenhurst market had an increase in unit sales of 29.4% (figure 10) but this increase was primarily with sales of lower priced homes.


There were two big jumps in the average sale price on the larger lakes in Muskoka, due mostly to the two big sales previously mentioned (figure 11). Lake Rosseau had a decrease in average price of 22% but this is coming off an impressive year in 2014 where 22 properties had sold over $2,000,000. This average price is more inline, with a slight increase over 2013 average price. 


The days on market residentially continues to decrease marginally as the demand for a Muskoka home increases (figure 13). The days on market for recreational properties is higher and we feel this is partially because of the unwarranted hype at the beginning of 2015, which in turn drove up listing prices. This meant that properties would go through a price reduction or multiple reductions, therefore adding days on market till finally sold or expired. This is why we believe the sale to list ratio remains lower at 41.3%. Another factor keeping the percentage lower would be the increasing number of listings year after year as the baby boomers retire and are selling their family cottages, which are too expensive to hand down.


The kick-off to the recreational market begins with the spring Cottage Life Show at the Toronto International Centre. This is a great opportunity to interview agents whether you are buying or selling Muskoka Real Estate. If you are selling – here are some questions you may want to ask:

What is your experience and education?
What is your marketing strategy?
What is the price range of most of the homes you have sold?
What sets you apart from other agents in Muskoka?
How many homes or cottages did you sell last year?
What’s your sale to list ratio?
What’s your average days on market?
Is this your full-time job?
What designations or certifications do you hold?


If you are buying, you need to work with an agent familiar with the Muskoka market, values vary dramatically in different areas of Muskoka. A luxury cottage on Lake Rosseau could be 4x the price of a luxury cottage on a small lake. It is important to make well educated decisions.

Whether you are buying or selling in Muskoka you need someone with experience, an agent that makes real estate their full time profession. When searching be sure to work with an agent who is knowledgeable and has a proven track record. The Aben Team has the expertise and experience – earning the prestigious 2015 National Chairman’s Club Award, which represents the top 1% sales of Royal LePage agents in Canada.

The Aben Team will be at the Spring Cottage Life show, April 1-3rd with our own booth and a team ready to answer any questions you may have.

If you require further statistics not covered here, such as condos or vacant land, please contact John via email at or call his direct line anytime at 705-788-4770.