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The best way to sum up the Muskoka and area recreational marketplace at the end of May is as follows: the number of sales is increasing, while the volume of available inventory is decreasing. This is clearly not an ideal market scenario, particularly for hopeful buyers.

 
The story on the inventory side unfolds as follows. Generally, both for recreational and residential properties, the numbers are down. The Muskoka – Haliburton Association of Realtors reports that year to date it has processed 3,964 listings in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia. That compares to 4,365 during the same period last year, a decline of 10 percent. The decline in available recreational properties is even more severe.
 
At the end of May there were only 726 properties available for sale across the entire region. Last year there were 1,123, a staggering decline of 35 percent. At the end of May 2015 there were 1,348 recreational properties available for sale. The same is happening in the three major regions in which Chestnut Park is active.
 
In the Haliburton Highlands there were only 154 properties available for sale, a decline of 39 percent compared to the 253 that were listed for sale in 2016. In 2015 there were 337 recreational properties available for potential buyers to purchase. Supply in the Haliburton Highlands has dwindled by about 55 percent in two years.
 
Lake of Bays is following the pattern of the Haliburton Highlands. At the end of May listings of recreational properties were down to a mere 75, a sharp 30 percent decline compared to the 105 available last year. In 2015 there were 132 available properties.
 
Although there are more properties available on Muskoka’s big lakes, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka, on a percentage basis the decline in available inventory is the same as that in Lake of Bays. At the end of May there were 273 properties listed for sale, a 30 percent decline compared to the 337 available last year. In 2015 there were 382 available recreational properties.
 
Notwithstanding these declines in available inventory, sales of recreational properties are on the rise in all regions. Over all the Association reports that 400 properties have been reported sold year-to-date. That represents an increase of almost 12 percent compared to the 359 properties sold in 2016. In 2015 only 278 recreational properties were reported sold at this time of year.
 
The region showing the greatest increase in sales year-over-year is Lake of Bays. Last year at this time a paltry 27 recreational properties had been reported sold. This year that number has jumped to 45, an increase of 66 percent.
 
Sales on Muskoka’s big lakes are also up. Last year 91 properties were reported sold. At the end of May 2017, that number has climbed to 108, an increase of almost 19 percent.
 
The only region showing a decline in sales is the Haliburton Highlands. I suspect that that decline is due to a supply shortage rather than a lack of buyer demand. It must be remembered that inventory decline in the Haliburton Highlands was greater than any other region. Last year 111 recreational properties were reported sold, this year only 101, a decline of approximately 10 percent.
 
A decline in supply in conjunction with rising sales usually means rising average sale prices. A look at sales and average sale prices for all reported sales on Muskoka’s big indicates that year-over-year prices are rising. In fact prices have been rising since 2010, with, of course, fluctuations on the various lakes depending on the volume of very high priced properties that have been reported sold.
 
In May the average sale price for all properties reported sold on Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph, and Lake Muskoka was $2,139,214. Last year the average sale price for all recreational properties reported sold on the big lakes was $1,962,797. This represents a year-over-year increase of 9 percent. Compared to the average list price for all properties sold on the big lakes the sale-to-list ratio is approximately 95 percent, only slightly better than the 94 percent achieved in 2016.
Chestnut Park’s number year-to-date have been very strong, notwithstanding the dramatic decline in inventory. Chestnut Park continues to be the dominant brokerage in the Port Carling area, outdistancing the next nearest competitor office by more than 33 percent in dollar volume of reported sales. Chestnut Park’s sales representatives were responsible for approximately 27 percent of the dollar volume of all reported sales. Chestnut Park’s sales have totaled more than $98 Million to the end of May.
 
At this stage it is difficult to forecast how the latter half of 2017 will unfold. The Provincial Government announced measures to cool the red hot Toronto and area residential resale market on April 20, 2017. For the most part those measures do not apply to the Muskoka and area market, yet the psychological affect of those measures may in infiltrate the Muskoka market and cause and cause buyers to be more deliberate and patient. Most of the measures announced in April should have had no impact on the Toronto market - only 4 to 5 percent of all buyers were foreign buyers – yet the market in the greater Toronto area is o by approximately 20 percent year over year.
 
Prepared by:Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker
 

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