Over the first 11 months of this year, waterfront Muskoka property sales have seen an increase of 45.2% over the same period in 2019, totalling 2,311 units.

This is according to sales activity recorded through the MLS System for the Lakelands, which shows November data broke records, yet again, across the board for the region.

Waterfront property sales saw the same increase -- 45.2% -- year-over-year for November specifically, reaching a total of 150 units and setting a new record for the month. Meanwhile, residential non-waterfront sales totalled 282 units in November, rising 33% from the same month last year and, again, setting a new sales record.

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On a year-to-date basis, residential non-waterfront sales reached 3,206 units from January through November of 2020, increasing 16.4% from the same period last year.

READ: Pre-Booked Cottage Rentals Still Permitted Amid Ontario-Wide Lockdown

"Not only do both segments of the market continue to set records in each respective month, but non-waterfront residential and waterfront properties are also both on track to set new annual records in 2020," said Chuck Murney, President of the Lakelands Association of Realtors.

"Looking at the supply side there just aren’t enough new listings to keep up with this unprecedented level of demand, even this late into the fall. With overall supply levels at records lows and still dropping it’s no surprise that prices continue to post very strong gains."

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The MLS Home Price Index -- which tracks price trends far more accurately than is possible using average or median price measures -- shows the overall single-family benchmark price was $463,500 last month, 28.6% over November 2019's pricing.

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The median price for residential non-waterfront property sales advanced too, 35.6% over last November's median, reaching a record $493,500 last month. The total dollar value for this segment of property sales totalled $152.4 million; that's a whopping 86.6% above what was recorded for November 2019.

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Meanwhile, the median price for waterfront property sales was $697,000, up 30.3% year-over-year, and the total dollar value for this segment skyrocketed 128.2% year-over-year, hitting $146.1 million. Here, again, a new record was set for the month.

READ: Toronto Storeys’ Real Estate Issue of the Year 2020: The Rush to Cottage Country

All-in-all, it would appear that a cool-down of the weather is not translating to a cool-down in activity for Ontario's coveted cottage country. Indeed, continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are carrying through the fall season, meaning sales, prices and, of course, competition, are all experiencing highs.

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“Ordinarily, by this time, it has slowed down. Traditionally, we consider our season over after Thanksgiving weekend — that is simply not the case this year," says Maryrose Coleman, an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty in Muskoka. "By now, we’d usually go away to recover from a busy summer, but we’re not going away at all this year, not just because of the pandemic, but simply because there are too many listings still coming in, too much work left to do.”

And just as quickly as the listings come in, they're getting snatched up by eager buyers.

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“Properties are going quickly and selling for asking prices, if not close to asking, within weeks of hitting the market. That’s just not normal for this time of year. It feels closer to a Toronto market right now, this level of frenzy,” Coleman says.

While the competitive listed market, as well as pocket listings, are always available to those looking for a permanent relocation, those who were hoping to spend some of the winter season in Muskoka may now be out of luck. On Boxing Day, Ontario will enter a Provincewide Shutdown in an effort to slow COVID-19 transmission, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday.

The new measures will prohibit social gatherings, amongst other activities, and while pre-booked cottage and vacation-home rentals have been given the green light, no new reservations will be allowed through the 28-day lockdown.

That said, take heart: even though the chill of winter has barely settled in, it’s not too early to start making summer plans in cottage country. In fact, as cottage country becomes, under provincial order, essentially "unattainable," you may want to log on to book your warm-weather vacation sooner.

We're no fortune tellers, but there's reason to believe the competition for snagging a rental could only increase through this new lockdown. People tend to want what they can't have, after all.