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October 5, 2016

Ontario Buyers Actively Looking for Cottages in Fall 2016, New Research Shows

The fall may not be as busy as spring for cottage buying, but it still brings out the buyers shows new research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). In a survey conducted with its recreational property experts, OREA found that nearly 7 out of 10 Ontario Realtors (67%) say cottage buyers are more likely to be actively looking to buy cottages in the fall, versus 32 per cent who say buyers are shopping around but not necessarily in the market to buy yet.

Based on their experience in cottage/recreational real estate, nearly 8 in 10 Ontario Realtors said that the market trend for buying 4-season cottages is increasing. Only two in ten (19%) say the market is staying the same. A majority of Ontario Realtors say that the fall is a popular time of year for buying a 4-season cottage (59%).

“Fall is typically associated with closing up the cottage for the colder months, however more and more cottage owners want to extend their cottaging season by getting into all season homes,” said Ray Ferris, president, OREA. “For those actively looking to buy a cottage, the fall is a wonderful time to view properties. It’s still warm enough to see the exterior, the boat may still be in the lake, and the colours create an absolutely spectacular backdrop.”

View the Cottage Trends infographic

‘Cottage’ is simply defined as a recreational house, typically in a rural or semi-rural location, near a lake or beach. A 4-season cottage on the other hand, is a winterized cottage that is accessible year-round.

“If you live in Ontario, no matter the type, a cottage is best known for what it offers: rest, relaxation and quality family time,” said Ferris. “The benefit of owning a 4-season cottage is that you can enjoy these benefits all year long, because you still have running water, your roads are cleared in the winter and your cottage is insulated.”

The reasons for purchasing a 4-season cottage vary according to Ontario Realtors. Nearly all Ontario Realtors (96%) say that buyers of 4-season cottages are looking for a vacation home to enjoy with family and friends. Three quarters (74%) say buyers are purchasing 4-season cottages to serve as their retirement home. Other reasons include, ‘to get away from it all’ (56%), ‘for rental purposes’ (45%), ‘for the outdoor lifestyle’ (42%) and ‘for investment purposes’ (37%).

According to Ontario Realtors, the trend toward 4-season cottages is most visible in Muskoka (27%), Georgian Bay (23%) and the Kawarthas (23%), followed by Haliburton Highlands/Algonquin (17%), Northern Ontario (13%) and Lake Huron shores (11%) and areas within driving distance of the GTA.

All of this cottage buying activity means a number of Ontario Realtors will be working this Thanksgiving weekend, shows the research. Three quarters (74%) of Ontario Realtors say they have worked at least one Thanksgiving weekend in the past 5 years, and a quarter (27%) have worked the holiday weekend all five years, either showing a cottage property or working with a buyer to purchase a cottage.


An online survey was conducted among members of OREA Research’s online panel from August 22 – September 7, 2016. A total of 178 surveys were completed, for a 4% response rate. The margin of error is +/- 7.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level – this is shown for directional guidance only and cannot be strictly applied as this was not a randomly-selected sample.

    Survey participants were screened based on:
  • Must practice cottage/recreational real estate
  • Were involved in the sale of a recreational property/cottage within the past five years
  • Sold five or more cottages in the past five years

About the Ontario Real Estate Association
The Ontario Real Estate Association represents over 66,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 40 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA serves its REALTOR® members through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy, and other services. www.OREA.com

For more information contact:

Katarina Markovinovic

Ontario Real Estate Association

(416) 445-9910 ext. 615

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