Otter Lake
Photo by Emily Walker

5 cottage regions to watch in 2012

Share This Story!

3. Sudbury

With more than 300 lakes and rivers carved out of the Canadian Shield, the Sudbury region offers a wide range of year-round recreational activities for cottagers. And with ongoing upgrades to Hwy. 69, the area is attracting more and more cottagers from beyond its immediate vicinity. “I’d say our cottagers here are about fifty per cent local and fifty per cent from outside the area, particularly from southern Ontario,” says broker Alex Dumas with Royal LePage North Heritage Realty in Sudbury.

What are those cottagers getting for their recreational-property dollars? “A seasonal, drive-to, 1,000-square-foot cottage on a nice lake will cost you $225,000 to $275,000,” says Dumas. You can get a year-round place in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, all within a 60- to 90-minute commute from Sudbury. Cottages on the French River, Lake Nipissing, Trout Lake, Lake Panache, and Wanapitei Lake are particularly sought-after, with properties on smaller lakes typically available at five to 10 per cent less. Boat-access cottages are also available for $175,000 to $250,000. “You can get some nice private spots in more remote locations, and that appeals to a lot of people,” says Dumas. And the good news for buyers is that prices are stable, “so you’re not under a whole bunch of pressure to buy quickly.”

Try Sudbury out before you buy—try renting a property in the area.

4. Lanark Highlands

Ottawa Valley–based cottagers know the scenic value of Lanark Highlands and its sought-after lakes, including Robertson, Dalhousie, Clayton, and Palmerston, as well as the Clyde and Mississippi rivers. The village of Lanark is the main settlement in the area, with a number of smaller hamlets such as Hopetown, Flower Station, Elphin, and Watson’s Corners all contributing to the year-round population of approximately 5,000. County Road 511 bisects the area, connecting Perth
to Calabogie, and links up with County Roads 8, 9, 12, and 16.

Seasonal waterfront properties in the area can be had for around $230,000, according to Kerri Keeney, a broker with Lanark Living Realty in Lanark Village. Four-season properties are priced closer to $275,000. Riverfront properties are typically less costly, available for about $200,000, and backlot or water-view properties sell for about $225,000. “If you’re a buyer in Ottawa willing to drive a bit farther, the prices drop,” says Keeney, “but most people are not willing to drive three hours from home for a cheaper price.” There is room to negotiate, however: Prices in the area have softened. “People certainly do not want to be overpaying for property,” says Keeney, citing one listed at $420,000 in 2010 that attracted two offers. Both fell through because of financing issues, and the property went back on the market in 2011 at $399,000. “And I’ve still got people saying, ‘The price is too high,’ so we’re thinking of reducing it again,” says Keeney.

Visit the Lanark Highlands.

5. Kawarthas

Sitting a two-hour drive from Toronto, the Kawarthas region offers a range of cottaging options, from properties on the Trent-Severn Waterway to landlocked lakes and riverfront lots. Not surprisingly, properties on the Trent-Severn typically command the highest prices because of their appeal to boaters interested in accessing the waterway between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay, and buyers can expect to pay $375,000 to $400,000 for properties with 80 to 100 feet of waterfront. Cottagers who want smaller, less-connected lakes can expect to pay around $300,000. “We’re on the cusp of the Canadian Shield, and we have nice, clear lakes with limestone bottoms,” says broker Mike Barkwell of Re/Max County Town Realty Inc. Brokerage in Fenelon Falls. “But that limestone will also give you some cliffs.” So while you may have clear lakes, you may have steps to get down to the water.

If a riverfront property is your desire, the prices will come in significantly lower: “A three-bedroom cottage on the Burnt River with eighty to a hundred feet of waterfront will run you $200,000, plus or minus, depending on the quality of the cottage,” says Barkwell. And if you’re really squeezed for cash? Cottages on leased land on Pigeon Lake, backlot cottages, and properties on dredged lagoons are options.

Get to know the Kawarthas and enjoy a break from the city. Book a vacation property now.