Rush for recreational properties in Ottawa Valley and across Ontario fading, report finds

After a mad rush to leave large cities at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the allure of the cottage is no longer there.

A new report from Royal LePage predicts the number of sales and prices for recreational properties, such as cottages, will fall in 2023 amid waning activity.

“The shininess, newness of that has worn off,” Ottawa Valley realtor Denise Johnston says.

“Although there is Internet, people I don’t think realized that there was going to be travel. When you needed to go get milk or groceries, it was sometimes a 30-minute drive in some cases.”

The report says in 2022, the price of a recreational property in Ontario rose by 7.3 per cent to $634,800. Royal LePage says the average cost of a waterfront property in the Ottawa Valley increased 12.5 per cent in 2022, while the cost of a waterfront property in Rideau Lakes jumped 23.3 per cent.

It is predicted that in 2023, recreational property prices will fall five per cent across Ontario to an average of $603,060.

“Plus companies are calling employees back to work,” Johnston tells CTV News Ottawa.

“So the commuting, even if it is only two to three days a week when the weather is not so great is not working out for so well for some people so they’re giving up on that.”

There is also an expectation that some who made the decision to move away from the city will reconsider that choice.

“Within the next year or 18 months I think you are going to start see some people starting to sell their cottages and head back towards the city a little bit closer.”

Johnston says this could be seen as a positive for some as life continues to move back to normal.

“I personally have three clients that I’m working with trying to find waterfront properties and we have been looking, for some of them, up to two years.”

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