It's said that what goes around, comes around. And according to insider commentary on recent market stats, that's the trope currently playing out in Muskoka's real estate market, especially where waterfront listings are concerned.

According to new data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded through the MLS System for Ontario's Lakelands region totalled 88 units in July — a 1.1% decrease from the same period in 2022. Waterfront property sales, meanwhile, numbered 79 units, or a 28.8% decrease from last July.

On a year-to-date basis, non-waterfront sales totaled 547 units over the first seven months of the year — a 24.7% decrease from the same timeframe in 2022. Waterfront sales saw a 15.1% decrease year-over-year, with 451 units sold.

Last month, the median price for non-waterfront properties hit $592,000, up 2.1% from July of 2022. Furthermore, the year-to-date median price was $629,900, a 3.2% decrease from the year-to-date median this time last year.

For waterfront properties, the median price came in at $980,000 in July, up 20.2% year-over-year. From January through July 2023, the median price of a waterfront property in the Lakelands Region was $940,000, a 4.1% decrease from the same period last year.

The total dollar value of all non-waterfront sales was $62,270,439 in July, dropping 3.9% from the previous year. And, lowering 1.2% from 2022, the total dollar value of waterfront sales was $120,152,707.

For non-waterfront properties, months of inventory jumped from 3.5 last July to 4.8 this July. The sale-to-list-price ratio was 97.4, down from last July's 98.0.

Months of waterfront property inventory in July of 2023 almost doubled, however, jumping from 4.1 months in July of 2022 to 8.1 by the end of last month. The sale-to-list-price ratio was down to 95.8%, which is a small decrease of 1.6% from July of 2022, but represents the lowest level since 2015.

Finally, median days on market for non-waterfront properties reached 22.5, up from last July's 21. For waterfront properties, median days on market increased to 27, a full 10 days over July 2022's 17-day average.

READ: Benefits Abound: Water Access-Only Cottages Serve Space, Privacy, and Value

"We are still seeing evidence of a lingering correction trending on the basis of year-of-year unit sales, dollar volume, median price levels, sales-to-list-price ratios, increasing months of inventory, and longer days on market statistics, as we inexorably move toward a more balanced market," says Ross Halloran, Broker and Senior VP of Sales for Halloran & Associates, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

"That being said, average unit prices have increased, and the sales-to-list-price ratios (while dropping to almost match 2019 levels) [are] still encouraging for both sellers and buyers, as [the overall number of transactions is] only down 15% year over year."

In the months to come, Halloran predicts the current trajectory will continue, resulting in — ultimately — increased stability.

"Looking ahead [...] I expect sales [trends] to continue to stabilize, [building] upon the increased sales activity witnessed from last two weeks of May through the end of July of 2023," he says. "For now, it looks like we have an inverted version of the movie Back to the Future, where year-to-date sales results and sales trends witnessed until the end of July 2023 actually mirrored results previously identified in 2019. Indeed, to understand and respond to the 'present' Lakelands North waterfront cottage country market, we must go 'back to the past,' [circa] 2019, to see our likely 'future' [for] late summer [and] fall of 2023."