The coldest winter in decades has taken its toll on the price of cottages in Ontario. With the snow and ice only recently melting, some docks are still under water, making lakefront property a tough sell so far this year.

Cottage prices are down five or 10 per cent from the high-water levels set in 2006 and 2007, but are slowly creeping up, say industry watchers.

Spring has taken its sweet time to arrive with real estate agents saying it could be June or July until the yearly lakefront buying and selling spree gets going.

By and large, prices for waterfront cottages are still below pre-recessionary levels. Although there has been some early, high-end sales in highly sought-after areas like Muskoka, the weather has had a definite dampening effect on the cottage sales, realtors say.

The ice finally melted on some lakes in late April, but water levels remain so high for many cottage-country areas where docks are submerged in water. The snowy, wet spring has made it difficult to simply view some cottages.

We had an old-fashioned winter this year and, while it was beautiful, there weren’t too many people who wanted to look at waterfront properties under six feet of snow,” says Lake Simcoe-area realtor Rick Laferriere.

“Activity has been picking up, but there aren’t a lot of properties for sale yet, and that’s making it tough.”

This week cottage buyers have finally started calling, with the season delayed, largely because of the weather, by close to a month, says Roger Kolbuc, a realtor in the Muskoka, Parry Sound and Georgian Bay area.

Prices still remain down about five or 10 per cent from the high-water levels set in 2006 and 2007, but are slowly creeping up, says Don Evans, another Muskoka-area realtor.

“Things have been very slow to kick into gear this year,” says Evans. “Until the snow is gone and the leaves out, the phones just don’t ring.”

Published Date: Oct 13 2014