Though the cities in Canada get a lot of attention when it comes to real estate, Canadians’ love for cottage country and the great outdoors has also created a pocket of ultra-valuable real estate in areas like Muskoka, about two and a half hours north of Toronto.
Due to its natural beauty and relative seclusion, many very wealthy people have decided to buy or build on property here, leading to many expensive luxury cottages. These homes go far beyond the traditional idea of cottages as a humble spot for weekend getaways, and instead, bear more resemblance to the residential mansions found in larger cities.
Let’s take a look at this market and see just how expensive and extravagant it can get.
Muskoka real estate stats
Muskoka is one of the most popular regions in Canada’s cottage country. Rather than the property types used in other regions, the most popular divisions in Muskoka are for waterfront and non-waterfront properties. In October of 2021, the average non-waterfront property cost $635,013 in Muskoka, while waterfront properties went for $1,015,501.
Non-waterfront properties saw a 20% increase in price year over year, while waterfront homes saw a more modest 13% increase. In 2020, homes soared , much like in other areas of the country due to many Canadians looking for new recreation options . Even before that, the average prices were lower but there were still many multi-million dollar cottages in the region that have since only gone up in value.
In general, the mega cottages of Muskoka are on the more desirable waterfront lots, explaining in some part the price disparity between the two categories.
Who is buying in cottage country?
According to data from Teranet, the largest number (30%) of properties in the Muskoka region are actually passed through families, while 26% of homes were bought by multiple property owners. In other regions, this would indicate property being bought for strictly investment or rental purposes, however, in Muskoka, this may not be the case as people often buy cottages for personal use after already owning their primary home.
Compared to other regions of the province, Muskoka has far fewer people buying to move there or first-time homebuyers. People are attracted to Muskoka for its vast amounts of outdoor space and numerous lakes lined with iconic Canadian shield rock, and opportunities for summer recreation.
When it comes to the most expensive cottages in the region, naturally they are being bought by very wealthy and sometimes famous people. Some people who are purported to have owned a Muskoka cottage include celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Justin Bieber, and Goldie Hawn. In addition, multiple business leaders, famous athletes, and powerful families have settled cottages in the area. The area includes hundreds of small lakes and bays, though the most popular include Lake Joseph, Lake Muskoka, and Lake Rosseau.
The most expensive cottages in Muskoka
The most expensive cottages in the Muskoka lakes make the $1 million average price in the region look like a small change. These cottages are usually on large waterfront lots, with large cottages built to the highest standard of luxury. Beyond the main house, another common feature is boathouses that often double as guesthouses. In these top-of-the-line properties, you may also find features like private tennis courts and swimming pools.
Most expensive cottages on the market now
1480 Acton Island Rd, Lake Muskoka
This cottage is the most expensive on sale now in Muskoka and is going for an asking price of $6,989,000. The beautiful modern styled home sits on almost 5-acres of land on lake Muskoka and features 4 bedrooms and tons of outdoor and wooded space. Down by the water, the property boasts a large dock and a three-bay boathouse in the same style as the main building.
1124 Island Park Rd, Port Carling
In comparison to the modern design of the previous property, this classic cottage was built all the way back in 1890. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks any modern luxuries. This property is ideal for the millionaire with more classic tastes. Set on 2.5 acres on the waterfront in Port Carling, the home has 5 bedrooms, antique wood interiors, a Muskoka room, a wraparound summer porch, and more. Outside, the home features beautiful landscaping and a boathouse with guest quarters.
Expensive cottages listed in previous years
306 Burgess Road, Lake Rosseau
This cottage was listed back in 2019 and at the time was on offer for $14,950,000, likely worth even more now given price increases. This cottage, if you can even call it that, features 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a three-car garage, a large great room with a stone fireplace, and more. In addition, the property features large amounts of outdoor space including a tennis court and a large boathouse with a guest suite.
155 Burgess Road, Lake Rosseau
Along the same road as the previous property, this cottage offers similarly extravagant accommodations. The home has 6700 square feet of living space on the waterfront, with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, and a large family room with views of the lake. Every aspect of the home was custom built by famous designer Ferris Rafauli, known for his luxury homes for the rich and famous. Outside the home: another tennis court (rich people love tennis), a swimming pool with plenty of deck space, and almost 500 feet of lake frontage. This property was on the market in 2017 for $14,950,000, but is no longer available (not that you were going to buy it anyway).