As the weather cools, things appear to be heating up in Muskoka -- particularly where the supply of new-home listings is concerned.

According to new data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded through the MLS System for the Lakelands region totalled 376 units in October, a 32.3% decrease from that same period in 2021. This count comes in 32.4% below the five-year average -- and 29.4% lower than the 10-year average -- for the month of October.

Comparably, waterfront property sales totalled 93 units last month, dropping 43.6% from October 2021, and hovering 40.7% below both the five- and 10-year average for the month.

"Sales of both waterfront and non-waterfront homes are still running well below typical levels for this time of year, a trend we expect will continue into next year as buyers and sellers play catch-up on rising interest rates and figuring out where to meet on pricing,” said Chuck Murney, President of the Lakelands Association of Realtors.

READ: Rising Rates Spurring the Return of Vendor Take-Back Mortgages

“The good news is on the supply side, where new listings have not dropped off but are actually holding up fairly well. This is giving a long-awaited boost to overall inventories, helping them rise from rock-bottom and unsustainable levels seen right up until earlier this year. Once buyers feel ready to return to the market and sellers have adjusted their pricing expectations there should be more ample availability for buyers than there has been through the frenzy of the past two years.”

On a year-to-date basis, residential non-waterfront sales totalled 4,123 units over a 10-month period; that’s a 34.3% decrease from the same timeframe in 2021. Waterfront sales experienced an even greater downward trend with a 46.1% decrease from 2021 -- that’s 1,088 units sold over those 10 months.

Last month, the median price for non-waterfront properties hit $650,000, down 5.8% from October 2021. Furthermore, the year-to-date median price was $725,000, up 11.5% increase from the first 10 months of last year. 

Comparably, waterfront properties saw their median price down 1.8% from October of 2021, hitting $859,000. The year-to-date median price was $1,000,000 -- an 8.9% increase from January through October of last year. 

"Waterfront prices seem to be holding (down modestly 1.8% versus 2021), despite a 39.7% year-over-year drop in number of individual unit sales," explains Ross Halloran, Broker and Senior VP Sales, Halloran & Associates, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. "This anomaly is likely a result of continued historic lower than normal inventory levels, which tend to maintain buyer demand and result in competitive offer pricing against a limited inventory of individual units."

"The latest CREA report also suggests, however, that waterfront unit inventory is slowly increasing, which will increase the number of unit sales at more competitive, lower pricing," Halloran continues. "Buyers will finally have the leverage they have been waiting for since 2017."

The total dollar value of all non-waterfront sales totaled $274.6 M in October of 2022, a 39% decline from the previous year. Dropping a sharp 43.9% from 2021, the total dollar value of waterfront sales was $109M in October of this year.

The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) -- which tracks price trends more accurately than can be done using average or median price measures -- highlights the benchmark price for single-family homes was $727,700 an increase of 2.3% year-over-year. Townhouses/row units experienced a gain of 11.7%, putting prices at $645,600. Apartments also showed an increase, up 8.8% from this time last year; the benchmark was $484,600.

For those who've been eyeing a cottage country getaway, it may soon be prime time to strike.

This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.