Ontario's cottage country market may not be sitting quite as low as it was in the middle of the 2022 market downturn, but the agents in the area are "still waiting on the next phase of growth and recovery," says Matthew Lidbetter, President of the Lakelands Association of Realtors.

New sales data from the Lakelands Association of Realtors, which covers more than two dozen municipalities including Muskoka, Collingwood, Orillia, Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, The Blue Mountains, and Collingwood, revealed that sales of both waterfront and non-waterfront residential properties remained down across the Lakelands region in April.

Non-waterfront sales totalled 442 in April -- a sizeable 17.5% drop from the same time last year. It's also 11.2% below April's five-year average and 18% below its 10-year average. April's sales bring the year-to-date total up to 1,270, which is down a whopping 30.5% from one year ago.

Waterfront sales were down even more, sitting 30% below the five-year average and 36.5% below the 10-year average for April. So far this year, there have been just 218 waterfront homes sold in the Lakelands, which is a 32.9% drop from the same period in 2022.

READ: Despite Sales Slump, Prices are Stabilizing for Muskoka’s Waterfront Properties

Although sales are down on an annual basis, Lidbetter says they are stabilizing at a higher level than was seen in mid-2022, as interest rates rose and sales plummeted. But the chance of sales growth in the near future could be limited by the small number of new listings.

"New supply is not only remaining at subdued levels but is actually declining on a month-over-month basis looking through the seasonality," Lidbetter said. "As a result, sales are being restricted by the lack of new listings coming onto the market and this has caused overall inventories to stall and begin to decline again. The market is continuing to tighten and prices for both waterfront and non-waterfront properties are rising steadily; in the absence of a considerable influx of new supply we expect these trends to persist and strengthen.”

Indeed, prices are rising, but are still down compared to the same time last year. The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price reached $685,000 in April, which is down 16.5% annually. The benchmark price for single-family homes, specifically, was $708,800 -- down 17% year over year. Townhouses and row units came in with a benchmark price of $567,600 (down 12% annually) and apartments had a benchmark price of $475,100 (down 8.5% annually).

The 218 waterfront sales had a combined value of $117.2M, which is a 34.5% drop compared to April 2022, while all non-waterfront sales totalled $342M -- a 26.1% year-over-year decline.