We have had a long cold winter and while I like many enjoy skiing, snowshoeing and other outdoor activities this time of year, I am now looking forward and I am ready for the warmer weather and especially the start of another cottage season.
Waterfront properties in the southern Georgian Bay area make up a significant part of our real estate market. In 2018 the sale of waterfront homes and condominium properties in Collingwood and surrounding municipalities totalled 111 properties with a combined value of just over $85 million. These sales ranged anywhere from modest cabins priced in the low $200,000 range to luxury high end homes over $2 million.
Growing up as a kid I was introduced to the cottage lifestyle on Manitoulin Island where my mother was born. My grandfather, a farmer on Manitoulin built a small cottage on the water and every Saturday after the farm chores were done we would make the three mile or so drive to the cottage to spend the balance of the weekend swimming and fishing with evening campfires. Not everyone is attracted to those activities but many are and owing a waterfront property is a dream for countless Canadians especially for those living in urban centres like Toronto that long for a cottage property to escape to.
As stated above, owning a waterfront property is not for everyone nor can a real estate transaction involving the purchase or sale of a vacant waterfront lot, a modest seasonal dwelling or a full time home or cottage on the water be treated the same as buying a residential home in a typical urban subdivision. Having owned my own cottage for over 45 years I am well versed in what owning a waterfront property entails including added operating expenses and maintenance above your full time residence. Is it worth it? In my opinion absolutely. In addition I have listed and sold many waterfront properties in our market area several of which we well over $1 million. This is one segment of the real estate market when the value of waterfront properties has increased significantly over the years. As the saying goes when it comes to waterfront, “they are not making any more” so that along with the increased demand of consumers looking for their piece of paradise has and will no doubt continue to drive up prices higher.
Thinking about where we want to be five to ten years from now, my wife and I started to look two years ago at waterfront homes that were for sale on Mantoulin Island. My cottage is just that, a cottage (Bottom photo) versus a full time home and it will be left to my kids. Having not seen an existing property for sale that we liked, we started top contemplate building from scratch. Last summer we found the perfect property listed for sale which was an estate sale. A 1.5 acre waterfront lot nicely treed situated on the largest lake on Manitoulin, Lake Manitou and just 20 minutes from the cottage and other amenities. Not only was the property exactly what we wanted but it had some added benefits. The driveway and hydro was already installed along with a large 24′ X 32′ garage all of which would be $100,000 or more to replace. See accompanying photos.
As a REALTOR® I quickly did my own due diligence with the municipality and others which allowed us to go in with a cash offer, no conditions and a short closing date. The offer was accepted so we now own not one but two piece of waterfront real estate on Manitoulin Island.
This coming weekend March 21st to 24th is the Cottage Life Show in Toronto. My wife and I will be attending both days and have lined up a number of exhibitors we want to meet with to gather information on building. In my next post I will share the details that you need to be aware of when buying waterfront property. In the meantime take a lot at Royal LePAGE’S Annual Recreational Property Report for a breakdown of the recreational property market across Canada.
If buying a waterfront or other recreational property is on you wish list, please feel free to Contact Me and I will be delighted to share my experience as a cottage owner and real estate Broker to help you find you piece of paradise in southern Georgian Bay.