The pandemic boom in Ontario’s cottage country has fizzled out for many, according to a realtor in the Muskoka region.
John Fincham, broker at RE/MAX Parry Sound Muskoka Realty, said properties listed under $1.5 million are now struggling to find buyers, as are those on less popular waterways.
“It’s tough sledding out there right now, that pandemic surge is really starting to dissipate quick,” he told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview on Monday.
“The listing numbers are going up every day and the buyers are really skittish, for good reason.”
During the pandemic, people flocked to cottage country as remote work allowed people to live further from their city offices. Low interest rates and excess savings from periods of pandemic restrictions made purchases more possible for buyers.
Now, Fincham said some of those people are realizing cottage life isn’t for them and are trying to sell, but high interest rates are making it hard for others to enter the market.
“A lot of people bought on lines of credit and it’s really, really difficult for them now,” he said.
LUXURY MARKET UNAFFECTED
The apparent downturn has not hurt the luxury cottage market, Fincham noted.
“Anything north of $3 million, it’s a robust market still, but I think it’s because those buyers don’t go hat in hand to the bank, they just write a cheque,” he said.
Canada’s ban on foreign homebuyers has also helped keep the luxury market afloat, Fincham said. The law, which came into effect on Jan. 1, bans non-Canadians from purchasing property in certain areas of Canada for two years, but it does not include the northern reaches of cottage country.
“If they can’t invest in the big centres, they’re going to come north, but they’re not looking for the $800,000 cottage on a small lake,” Fincham said.