Our Top 5 Muskoka Hikes

With the weather cooling off in the morning hours, the hiking weather is just about perfect right now! Although there too many beautiful hikes in Muskoka to name in one post, we have chosen our favourite five, descriptions and photos courtesy of the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

We hope you enjoy!







Waterfalls in Muskoka

Waterfalls in Muskoka
Town of Bracebridge

By Discover Muskoka

Muskoka is renowned for its spectacular waterfalls carved into the granite rock of the Canadian Shield. We have accumulated info on 17 waterfalls in the Muskoka region for you to seek out and enjoy. With hiking trails available at most locations to create access, ‘chasing waterfalls’ can be a great activity in the summer and fall. Bracebridge is at the heart of the waterfalls in Muskoka, boasting more than any other township, most notably High Falls, Wilson Falls, and Bracebridge Falls. One of the region’s most spectacular cascades is Ragged Falls, located east of Huntsville on Hwy 60, at Ragged Falls Provincial Park. This was voted one of the 10 best waterfalls in Ontario!

Although it is a fun way to spend an afternoon, getting great pictures and great recreation, it is important to note the danger that exists near waterfalls. Always be attentive and careful near waterfalls, as rocks can be slippery and a fall could be fatal.

Find the locations of Muskoka’s waterfalls by clicking the map below:

Muskoka’s Top 10 Food Trucks

In a world where dinners out are just a sweet memory and you have just made so so many breakfasts lunches and dinners with all the family at home, the Muskoka Food truck is a treat. It’s a break on a drive or a reward at the end of one.  Maybe it’s just a quick snack while you are in town grabbing supplies or getting out for a bit. The iconic food truck is always there for you.  We have selected a few of our favourite road-side food trucks and stands around Muskoka, for your sampling pleasure.


Where: 118 Muskoka District Road 118 W, Port Carling
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TownandCountryMuskoka/

Ok, so the first one isn’t a food truck. But it’s in a parking lot and serves up hot delicious food in minutes, so close enough.

Pete’s Links


Where: 106 Maple St, Port Carling
Facebook: Pete is old school. He doesn’t have a Facebook Page.  But he does have a friendly smile and hearty greeting for all his customers.

Pete cooks up sausage, hotdogs and burgers, and fries up some onions to go on top if you like. My favourite is the Cheddar Sausage and he remembers that, even if I haven’t seen him in months.


Terry’s BBQ & Grill

Where: 3142 Muskoka District Road 118, Port Carling
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrysBBQGrill/


Port Carling’s newest eatery! Serving: Burgers, Fish & Chips, Fresh Cut Fries, Donairs, Poutines, Salads, Wraps & so much more! Ample amount of parking. Come out and experience the high-quality food for yourself! cash, credit & debit accepted!

The Banger

Where: 1695 Emsdale Road, Emsdale
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebanger2

Make sure you note the new location because you don’t want to miss this place. A cult classic – Banger Bob’s legendary sausage and sauce on a hearty loaf of bread, re-incarnated with a twist.


Tristan’s Tasty Eats

Where: 2222 HWY 60
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Tristans-Tasty-Eatz

Near the Tally Ho public beach at Hillside; Very informational & friendly, tons of food for the price and so delicious!

The Muskoka Dog House

Where: 304 Ravenscliffe Road, Huntsville
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/muskokadoghouse/


Beside the Police Station, these dogs are hot! Deceptively simple yet delicious menu items.

The Huntsville 4!

Conveniently located right beside Canvas Brewery, there is sure to be something at these four fine food trucks to satisfy any palate!

 The Taco Stop

Where: 7 John St, Huntsville
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tacoheaven/

Authentic tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, carne asada fries or funky fries ( fries with all the delicious toppings found on a burrito).



The Thai Hut

Where: 96 Main St E, Huntsville
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thethaihuthuntsville

The delicious smells of this food truck! Deep-fried spring rolls make a yummy snack.  The spicy beef with mint was the favourite but the chicken curry and pad thai were great!


Muskoka Poutine. Merci, Eh.

Where: 7 John St, Huntsville

Best fries in Muskoka! Real curds from Quebec! Don’t want to miss it!


Algonquin Cafe and Deli

Where: 96 Main St E, Huntsville

Don’t let their lack of internet presence throw you. They are too busy smoking delicious brisket, melt off the bone ribs, even baking rich saucy beans.

Cheesus Murphy and the Grateful Bread

Where:2611 Muskoka Rd Hwy 117, Baysville
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheesusmurphy/

Excited to see this back for another season. An original irreverent take on a gourmet grilled cheese and many other comforting cheesy delights, such as poutine and burgers.


Shelby’s Chipwagon

Where: Beside the Bike Shop, 191 Sharpe Street East, Gravenhurst 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shelbyschipwagon/


This one is on several best-loved lists. Sweet potato fries, burgers, steak on a bun, and of course fries! Generous portions too.

My Neighbours Kitchen

Where: 825 Muskoka Road South, Gravenhurst
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mnkgravenhurst/

My Neighbour’s Kitchen & Grill is the red food truck located in Gravenhurst, Muskoka. Visit us to try some Filipino food, also available are Canadian classics like burgers and poutines. Discover Muskoka and Filipino cuisine!


Runners Up

These tasty options deserve honourable mention although we didn’t have room for them here:

Fork On The Road -Emsdale Chip Truck

Katrine Chip Truck

3 GUYS And A Stove “On Foccacia” Food Truck



Thoughts on Dock building

As a cottage owner in Muskoka, there is a good chance you have had to have your dock repaired or replaced. If a new dock, or repairs to your current dock are in your plans for the future, there are a number of aspects to the project we would suggest you research and consider before committing to this expensive undertaking.

  • There are no Ontario Building Code (OBC) specifications for docks. Buyer beware!


  • Plans for a new dock or major repairs to an existing dock must be approved by the local Building Department. Most likely, a building permit will have to be obtained.


  • Before deciding on where to put your new dock, you will need to check with the local municipal Building Department regarding setbacks, permitted size, etc. You will also need to check on how your shoreline is designated by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans regarding fish habitat. Your shoreline may need a special study to be undertaken by a specialist to determine what can and cannot be built.


  • If your proposed dock is intended to support a boathouse, single-storey or two-storey, you will need to have technical design and construction drawings, stamped by a Professional Engineer. The same Engineer that stamped the drawings is also required to physically inspect the finished constructed dock and certify that it was built according to the plans. This is required before the Building Department will issue a building permit for a boathouse. Use a Professional Engineer who has experience with designing docks in Muskoka.


  • Specifications for a dock can vary widely, as there are no OBC specifications. Some design elements (type of piling, grade and thickness of steel for pilings, cross-bracing, method of fastening dock decking to the underlying steel structure, etc.) are inherently stronger, and longer-lasting, than others. The stronger, the better, in order to withstand ice pressure and floatation effects during flooding.


  • The cost of a dock can vary widely, depending on the dock builder and the design specifications. Cheaper is usually not better. Obtain a few quotes, based on the same technical specifications. Check references.


  • Unless you are using stainless steel dock piles (or wood cribs), the steel piles will rust over time. The thicker the steel and the higher quality of steel, the longer the dock piles will last before requiring repair or replacement.


  • Floating docks are always an option, even with a two-storey boathouse on top of them. A floating dock will go a long way towards solving the potential damage issues associated with spring flooding. Note that floating docks also require a building permit from the Building Department.


  • If you are going to finish the inside of the lower level of your boathouse, you will want to consider installing air vents in the interior perimeter walls to allow the walls to more quickly dry out in the event they are submerged during flooding. This reduces the risk of mould and rot developing inside the wall cavity.


  • We strongly suggest using ceramic coated deck screws to fasten the dock deck boards (wood or composite) so that individual boards can more easily be lifted up for repair or inspection, without damaging the surrounding boards.


Muskoka’s Winter Carnivals

Small town old fashioned fun times: Events Schedules are still being drawn up so check back to see the fun stuff being planned!

Still working on the events, so stay tuned.

Muskoka Winter Carnivals

taken in part from Discover Muskoka

It is Winter Carnival Season in Muskoka! Gather the Family for a Genuine Winter Experience

Our winter carnivals give us a chance to enjoy the fun and excitement that winter has to offer before it is all over. These exciting weekends are a time to put on your winter gear, bundle up, and venture outside for a bright and cheerful winter afternoon, followed by a crisp and star-filled winter night!

Winter carnivals bring out the best in people and truly epitomize the quaint charm of Muskoka’s smaller towns. Come see for yourself how these events will keep you smiling throughout the day and leave you with lasting memories!

Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival: January 25, 2020

The Fire & Ice Festival is set to return to Downtown Bracebridge on January 25th 2020! The festival offers a unique approach to a traditional winter carnival. “FIRE” features will include fire artist as well as fire pits throughout the Downtown. “ICE” features will include interactive ice displays, a downtown tube run and a skating trail, located in Memorial Park. In addition, there will be Winter activities, birds of prey demonstrations, a road hockey tournament and traditional carnival activities to complement the event.  A a day pass will be your ticket to fun. $5 per adult/children, and free for kids 5 and under.

53th Annual Port Carling Winterfest: February 7-9th, 2020

Still working on a great line up of fun events for everyone. Stay tuned!

Click here for schedule info

Image result for dwight winter carnival

50th Annual Dwight Winter Carnival: February 27-28th, 2020

Dwight Winter Carnival is a family-friendly weekend event. Join us for two days of laughter, speed, fun, food, and friends!Dwight Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast, Axe Throwing, Fatbiking, Skating, Snowshoeing, Archery, Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, Cookie Decorating, Carnival Games, Speaking of Wildlife Exhibits & Show, H.O.L.D. Chili Cook Off, and so much more!

30th Annual Dorset Snowball Winter Carnival: February 14 & 15, 2020

Dorset brings the community together for two days of family fun, and you’re invited! Families unite for a weekend of winter excitement that includes a pancake breakfast, the annual Dorset Snowball Parade, pony rides, cardboard toboggan races, hockey shoot-out, kids vs adult hockey game, a polar plunge, a family skating party (or dance party pending conditions).




Image result for baysville winterfestBaysville Winterfest: February 17, 2020


Taking place on Monday of the Family Day weekend, this one day festival in Baysville has tons of fun activities for the kids. The day starts with a pancake breakfast followed by kid’s crafts, free skating, chain saw carving, entertainment, outdoor games & activities and much more!

50th Annual Gravenhurst Winter Carnival: February 14-17, 2020

Once again Gravenhurst welcomes you for one of Muskoka’s most anticipated winter events. This year, the carnival is expanding its excitement to last the entire week, giving you even more reasons to check it out! This longstanding Gravenhurst carnival features super-fun events including snowmobile radar runs, puddle jumps, kids’ events, Skokie’s pizza and birthday parties, polar bear dip, pancake breakfast, demolition derby, live entertainment and much more!

Muskoka’s Farmer’s Markets – Where and When

Bala Farmers Market

  • When: Every Monday from 9am-2pm,
    June 24 to September 2, 2019.
  • Where: Jaspen Park 
  • Website: www.balafarmersmarket.com
  • From fresh produce to unique handcrafted collectables, we have something for everyone! Be sure to drop by the Bala Farmers’ Market, to take home your own piece of Muskoka.

    Dwight Farmers Market

  • When: Every Tuesday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, late June to Labour Day
    June 25th to August 27th, 20189
  • Where: 1009 Dwight Bay Road, the old Township Building site
  • Website: www.dwightfarmersmarket.ca
  • We aim to create inviting environment for residents and guests of Dwight and the surrounding area to experience wholesome food, arts and education by bringing together farmers, artisans, educators, entertainers and service providers from the Muskoka/Haliburton area.

    Gravenhurst Farmers Market

  • When: Every Wednesday from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Victoria Day to Thanksgiving
    May 15 to October 30, 2019<
  • Where: In the special events field at Muskoka Wharf
  • Website: www.gravenhurstfarmersmarket.com
  • Come Savour the Flavour of Muskoka. Established in 1992 in the heart of Ontario’s scenic cottage country, the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market has become one of the region’s most popular attractions.

    Huntsville Farmers Market – NEW LOCATION!

  • When: Thursdays, 9am – 2pm
    May 16 – October 3, 2019
  • Where: 407 Ravenscliffe Rd, Huntsville, Ontario

    Port Carling Farmers Market

  • When: Every Thursday from late June until the end of August, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    June 27 to August 29, 2019
  • Where: Hanna Park (40 Bailey St.) on the Indian River
    Website: www.portcarlingfarmersmarket.com
  • Offering a fantastic selection of locally grown produce, delicious fine foods and handcrafted artistry! Come to shop and stay to play, Hanna Park offers an amazing beach and playground. Come by boat or by car, parking is available for both.

    Rosseau Market

  • When: Every Friday in gorgeous Rosseau from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
    June 28 – Aug 30, 2019
  • Where: Lake Rosseau waterfront park, just down the hill from the historic village of Rosseau
  • Website: www.rosseaumarket.com
  • Come discover those special delights that will tease your taste buds and compliment your table. Experience our fresh produce, smoked meats, superb baking, juried work by artists & artisans, and much more, all prepared with pride and attention to detail, and with the highest standards.

    Baysville Farmers Market – NEW LOCATION

  • When: Every Friday afternoon from late June until Labour Day, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    June 29 – August 30, 2019
  • Where: 2849 Muskoka District Road 117, Baysville, ON
  • Website: https://www.baysvillecommunitygroup.ca/baysville-farmers-market
  • This lively market boasts a nice array of vendors selling fruit and vegetables, organic produce, honey, fish and seafood, baking, arts and crafts and Thai food.
  • Bracebridge Farmers Market

  • When: Every Saturday from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm, Victoria Day to Thanksgiving
    May 18 – October 12, 2019
  • Where: Memorial Park, Manitoba St. Bracebridge
  • Website: www.thebracebridgefarmersmarket.com
  • The Bracebridge Farmers Market runs every Saturday from the Victoria Day long weekend in May, until the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Come and visit us in beautiful downtown Bracebridge. We are located in Memorial Park on Manitoba Street, next to the Norwood Theatre.

Leaky Basement?

Basement leakage is the most common problem found in houses and cottages, and over 90% of all basements are found to leak and suffer damage at one time or another. Evidence of moisture penetration can be found in almost every house. A house or cottage with water problems does not necessarily mean it was poorly constructed. Water can appear in even the best-built home.

Not all basement leakage problems are easily solvable, but the majority of leakage problems can be solved by directing surface water away from the building, re-grading around the foundation and/or using downspout extension to force rainwater to flow away from the house or cottage.

Warning signs of water leakage:
• Mould and mildew: Fungus that grows in damp dark areas and causes discoloration and odours.
• Musty odours: This could be the result of the decay process from mould and dry rot.
• Peeling paint: Water may leak behind a wall.
• Damp spots on walls: Water has absorbed through your walls.
• White substance on basement walls: This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. The white substance is a sign of possible structural deterioration.
• Cracked walls: Should need to be inspected to determine the exact cause.
• Rust on appliances or furnaces: Check behind for signs of pooling or leaking water.
• Dry rot: Black fungus grows mostly on walls or wooden surfaces, causing wood to decay.

Why is waterproofing important?
A wet basement dramatically reduces the value of your home or cottage. Studies show that many people won’t even consider buying a property with water leakage.

Check our People We Trust page to find contractors recommended by our clients or friends

(taken from Pillar to Post blog)

Why you need a REALTOR® more than ever in the internet age

These days, there are more options than ever when it comes to buying or selling a home or cottage. It seems a new website or sale-by-owner service is popping up every week. And while there is most certainly room for technology, progress, and a fresh approach within the real estate industry, this inevitably creates a lot of noise out there cluttering up your decision-making process.

Now may be one of the most important times to look to a professional Realtor(R) to cut through all of that noise and make the business of buying or selling your home a stress-free proposition. Our mission at Chestnut Park is to guide you through this process with the least interruption to you and your family’s daily life; this is the value and service a Realtor(R) can provide that the internet simply cannot.

Data Analysis:
The internet has revolutionized the real estate industry, and we certainly are thankful for all that it has provided from sharing listing information quickly and easily with our clients, to communicating with the office from the road. But with all of this free-flowing information, there becomes an endless well of data. Average home prices, inventory per neighbourhood, lake rankings, etc. Sure, the information is all out there, but are you reading and analyzing it properly? A professional Realtor(R) is trained to know exactly what data is relevant to your purchase or sale, and exactly how it applies to you.

Local Knowledge:
The web is in fact, a fantastic place to begin research when wanting more information on a particular neighbourhood; from lakes, to demographics, to walkability and lifestyle. And while there is a wealth of knowledge to be found online, including local forums and message boards, there is no substitute for a Realtor(R) who has worked (and in many cases lived) in a particular area for their entire career. Not only will they have the inside scoop on all the neighbourhood quirks, but they will be able to share hard facts about the local real estate market specifically.

If you are a home or cottage owner, chances are you have a fairly good idea of what your property is (or should be worth) based on things like what you bought the home for, how long you’ve owned it, how much (if any) work you have put into it, how much your next door neighbour just sold for, etc. But when it comes to selling your home, timing (and what the market will bear at that exact timing) is everything. A qualified Realtor will guide you through the pricing process by analyzing myriad variables such as comparable home prices, current interest rates, level of inventory, interest in your neighbourhood and/or school district and much more.

Hunting & Gathering:
If you are looking to buy a new home, the hunting and gathering stage is where a Realtor will save you the most time and energy. Instead of trolling online daily looking for a property that will suit your needs, your Realtor(R) will take this step off your plate, comparing and contrasting what’s out there, and sending you only what they know will work for your needs. A Realtor also has access within their own network to homes that may not yet be on the market. As for selling, a professional Realtor will come up with creative solutions to lure qualified buyers to your property. Which brings us to

When it comes to selling your home, marketing is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the process. How will you maximize the best offers if people don’t even know that your home is for sale? A Realtor will work night and day to market your home in the right way, from open houses to online and print ads, to wild and creative options to showcase your property in the right light.

Dispelling Myths:
Much like planning a wedding, or having a baby, buying or selling a home or cottage brings unsolicited advice and personal anecdotes out of the woodwork. Your neighbour may be convinced that home values in your area have gone up 10% since you bought, and your cousin may be insisting that you hold out until spring to list your home, but only a Realtor(R) will be able to give you the inside info on what will or won’t work for your particular circumstances.

When it comes down to the transaction of buying and/or selling your home or cottage, there can tend to be a lot of moving parts. From real estate lawyers to home inspectors, and stagers to contractors, your Realtor(R) is plugged into a community of other professionals who support and enhance the real estate industry.

5 Selling Tips for a Hot Spring Market


If you are preparing to sell your home or cottage, you’ve likely been reading about (or at least thinking about) the impending flurry of activity in the real estate market in the spring. There’s something about a long, cold winter indoors that makes owners crave a change when the ground thaws and the trees bloom. If you are one of the many sellers preparing to put their home or cottage on the market this spring, here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you enter the selling process.



1. Find the Right Realtor(R)

This step is undoubtedly the most important, and should be one you are thinking about long before the time comes to put your home or cottage on the market. The perfect Realtor(R) for you should be trust-worthy, easy to talk to, and should understand your needs. Your Realtor(R) should help you with the following 4 steps (including pricing and marketing your home of course!). Don’t know where to begin with finding a realtor? Have a look at Our Approach to see if selling with the Gardiner Team is right for you. Think you can go it alone? Here are 7 reasons why you need a Realtor now more than ever.


2. Scout the Competition

What people often don’t realize is that the viability of their home or cottage sale tends to have more to do with what else is currently offered on the market than what they feel their property is worth. Buyers and their realtors will be quick to compare your property and its price against others of similar size, age, and location to determine a fair buying price. Do some research (along with your realtor) and be aware of your competition. Being able to highlight your property’s advantages in comparison to the rest of the listings out there will give you an edge in negotiations.


3. Prepare Your Property

Do not underestimate the value of a new coat of paint, a spotless garage, or an entirely staged home or cottage. A buyer’s vision tends to be limited when it comes to seeing themselves in your home or cottage, and even small details like smell, decor, or light could put them off right away. Work with your realtor or a staging company to place your home or cottage in its best light, feeling bright, fresh, and free of clutter.


4. Don’t Lurk

The selling process can, at times, be intrusive to your daily schedule. Buyers will want to come back for a first, second, or third look at a moments notice and you may find it bothersome to rearrange your plans to accommodate them. Although it may seem reasonable to want to hang around during an open house or a showing, do your best to leave during this time. Go over to a neighbours place or go for a walk. Buyers will feel less pressure and more freedom to look in closets, ask questions, and really get a feel for the place without a lurking owner.


5. Don’t Get Emotional

Buying and selling real estate is unlike any other business transaction in that it is undoubtedly an emotional one. Your home or cottage is your retreat from the world outside, where you’ve shared happy memories with friends and family so it makes sense that you see it in its most romantic light. It is tough not to place a heightened value on your home or cottage, but it is important not to take negotiations personally or to sneer at any incoming offers.



Feature image via Explorer’s Edge

Real Estate Market Update | Muskoka January- December 2018

Cottages in Muskoka

It became obvious as 2018 wound down that the recreational market place was not immune to what was happening on the broader economic front. Throughout 2018 borrowers in the Toronto and area market place were reluctantly pulling in their horns, forced to do so by rising interest rates and borrowing costs, mortgage stress testing, and a 15 percent foreign buyers tax. By the end of the year Toronto and area sales had (on a year-over-year basis) declined by approximately 15 percent and average sale prices were off by more than 4 percent. It is anticipated that 2019 will be a year of sluggish sales and some moderation in average sale prices, particularly for higher priced homes. The same market scenario will likely play out in recreational property markets as well.


Interestingly, sales volumes will to some extent be impacted by declining inventory levels. For example, in 2018, 1110 waterfront properties came to market in the combined Townships of Muskoka Lakes, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Lake of Bays and Huntsville, almost a 10 percent decline from the 1224 properties that became available in these regions in 2017. It is even more concerning when 2018 inventory levels are compared to 2016 and 2015. During these years 1419 and 1594 recreational properties respectively came to market. Between 2015 and 2018 inventory levels have decreased by more than 30 percent.


On Muskoka’s big Lakes (Lakes Joseph, Rosseau and Muskoka) the same pattern has emerged. In 2015 there were 515 properties listed for sale on the big Lakes. This year that number tumbled to 332, a decline of over 35 percent. The same is true for Lake of Bays and the big Huntsville Lakes, although that decline has not been as dramatic.


It is not surprising that with declining inventories, sales have also declined. Combined in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Lake of Bays and Huntsville there were 684 recreational properties reported sold in 2017. In 2018 that number dropped to 565, a decline of more than 17 percent.


There was a similar decline in sales on Muskoka’s big Lakes. In 2017 there were 220 recreational properties reported sold, a number that declined to 165 in 2018. This represents a 25 percent drop in sales, which is consistent with the decline in inventory over the same period. On the basis of percentages, the decline in sales of properties having a sale price of $3,000,000 or more was greater than properties having sale prices lower than that.


It is interesting to note that not only were there fewer higher priced properties that sold in 2018, but it took longer for these properties to sell in 2018. In 2018 all properties in this category sold, on average, in 66 days. In 2017, which was a record year for the market, all recreation properties sold, on average, in only 59 days. Between 2014 and 2016, recreational properties in this price point sold, on average, in 73 days. Days on market in 2018, therefore, were consistent with historical norms. Although days on market increased between 2017 and 2018, there was no difference in the ratio between sale price and list price. In both 2017 and 2018 all properties sold on average at 78 percent of their original list price, and at 95 percent of their final list price.



The Muskoka and area recreational market place is varied and not homogeneous. As a result, it is difficult to determine what happened to average sale prices in 2018 with any accuracy, especially given the categories of properties that have sold and the numerous recreational locations. But evidence indicates that the average sale price for properties reported sold on Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph declined by 6.5 percent, from $2,211,372 in 2017 to $2,069,142 in 2018. If we include sales of properties (over $500,000) in the Lake of Bays and Huntsville region, the decline in the average sale price is approximately 7.5 percent, from $1,994,810 in 2017 to $1,843,627. Interestingly, sales data of all recreational properties combined, which includes lower priced properties, indicates a substantial increase in the average sale price year-over-year. In 2017 the average sale price was $450,000. In 2018 the average sale price climbed to $650,000, an eye-opening increase of 38 percent.


What does all this market information tell us? It appears to be giving us the same signals that the market is projecting in the greater Toronto area. Lower priced properties are very much in demand and when available are selling briskly, putting upward pressure on prices in this segment. The urban equivalent would be condominium apartments. In the greater Toronto area, average sale prices for condominium apartments increased by 11 percent. They are in demand primarily because they are affordable, even with the market pressures of increased borrowing costs and mortgage stress testing.


Under the prevailing economic landscape, the upper end of the market in the greater Toronto area has seen a considerable pull back, both in terms of sales volumes and average prices. The most recent data indicates a considerable decline in the sale of properties having a sale price of $2 million or more. In 2017, 3,435 properties were reported sold in this category. In 2018 only 2077 properties sold at this price point, a decline of almost 40 percent. Average sale prices for this category of properties declined by 8%. Although property sales in recreational markets in this price point are discretional to a greater degree than urban markets, they will not be entirely immune to these market pressures.


Notwithstanding these turbulent conditions, Chestnut Park’s Port Carling office managed to beat market expectations by exceeding the next closest competitor brokerage office by more than 50 percent in dollar volume sales. Chestnut Park’s sales representatives were responsible for more than $250 Million in recreational property sales. Given the lack of inventory and the market pressures that have been discussed in this Report, this is a sterling performance.


As we go forward in 2019 the market challenges that have been discussed will continue to be at play. 2019 will be a transitional year when less foreign capital, increased borrowing costs and stricter financing qualifications will impact the decision making of buyers and sellers. Added to these factors is the lack of inventory and supply in all price points, but especially properties having a value of less than $1.5 Million. As the year unfolds pricing will be the key to sales in the new normal that buyers and sellers of recreational properties will be adjusting to.


Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker — with tweaks by Jim Gardiner, Broker