Winter's winds are blowing through Ontario's cottage country, and still, competition in Muskoka's real estate scene remains hot.

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 reached 69 units in December, decreasing 15.9% from the same month the year prior.

Waterfront sales were down year-over-year as well, totalling 35 units last month.

For both property types, the continued slow-down in sales shows a classic seasonal calming of market activity that, during COVID's first year, was nowhere to be seen in the colder months.

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Where year-to-date data is concerned, residential non-waterfront sales hit a total of 1,815 units through 2021, increasing 9.4% from the same period last year. The same metric for waterfront sales hit 1,695 units between January's start and December's end, dropping 4.9% year-over-year.

Last month's median price for residential non-waterfront property sales was up 44.8% year-over-year, reaching $635,000. In the meantime, waterfront property sales saw their median price rise 25.7% to $1,050,000. For non-waterfront sales, the more comprehensive year-to-date median price soared 38.1% from the same period last year, reaching $580,000. And, for waterfront properties, the same metric climbed 25.8% to land at $861,500.

"In 2021, demand for waterfront properties was dramatically outpacing supply, resulting in fewer waterfront property transactions being sold above list price over a much shorter listing period," says Ross Halloran, Broker and Senior VP sales at Halloran & Associates of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

Total dollar values reached $49,256,499 and $46,830,514 for non-waterfront and waterfront properties, climbing 16.3% and declining 32.8% respectively, year-over-year.

Cottages to Remain in Hot Demand as Travel is Limited

The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) -- which tracks price trends more accurately than can be done using average or median price measures -- recorded the Muskoka Lakes single-family benchmark price to be $1,563,400 last month. This total rests 0.1% lower than the benchmark recorded the month prior, and 31.8% higher than December 2020.

"Looking forward to 2022, our Halloran & Associates team expect the current limited waterfront property supply-over-demand sales trend to continue, as this coveted market continues to grow among a new market of consumers who now view owning a cottage as [a] hassle-free alternative to the challenges and health risks of arranging international recreational travel," Halloran says, adding: "(especially for the 30-50 year old professional market, who are now encouraged -- and able -- to relocate to year-round waterfront homes and work remotely.)"

Cover Image: Leon Seibert/Unsplash