COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with one another, how we live, and how we work. From remote working to social distancing, thousands of individuals have changed their priorities in favour of simplified living. With a boom in the real estate market outside of Toronto, some wonder if this is the beginning of a mass exodus out of the city. As a real estate agent and broker with decades of experience, Michelle Kam is keeping her eye on the potential cottage boom. Michelle Kam outlines how the urban and cottage market is changing as a result of COVID-19.
The Current State of the Real Estate Landscape
Real estate took a major hit at the beginning of the pandemic. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reported that sales in the Greater Toronto Area were down 69% in the first 17 days of April compared with a year ago. However, there may be evidence that the market is picking back up, and that there is a boom in home sales outside of the city.
With urban dwellers seeking refuge from cities and craving personal retreats for their families, cottage sales could be on the upswing. In seven municipalities outside of Toronto, home sales were up as much as 40%. Michelle Kam explains that in light of difficulty or crisis, many people feel the need to refocus their lives and reprioritize, and this may be the case with suburban homes and cottages. In addition, the inability to travel during lockdown restrictions has caused many to consider alternatives—like owning a cottage.
Cottage sales have surged by as much as 25% over the past couple of months as many Torontonians flee the city. However, cottage prices are unlikely to budge, as many sellers are holding off on listing their properties due to the economic uncertainty, causing a decrease in supply. But that does not mean that people are not buying. The Muskoka region and other parts of Ontario’s cottage country have seen an uptick in demand. Micelle Kam explains that factors like high-speed internet have been a major driver for this change, as individuals working digitally or online now have the flexibility to live where ever they want.
It seems that the heavy restrictions on cottage access during the first few months of COVID-19 have not deterred people from purchasing. The cottage market in the province has sped up and surpassed every other year. With a major surge in May, Michelle Kam explained that as public health officials urged people to stay away from their recreational properties, it seems that the restrictions did not stop people from buying.
If you are looking to follow this emerging trend towards cottage living, Michelle Kam suggests that potential buyers work with a realtor in the area. Local realtors who know the area can share their expertise in helping you meet your requirements and budget.