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Could Blind River be the new Muskoka?

Lake Huron’s North Shore is a “buyer’s market” for cottage properties
Blind River marina 2
Blind River marina

There are bargain cottage properties to be had on the North Shore of Lake Huron, according to Royal LePage in its annual Canadian recreational property report.

The demand for recreational property is heating up across Ontario, but the Blind River area remains virtually untouched.

“Unlike other areas in Ontario, the recreational property market in Blind River is currently in the midst of a buyer’s market, with both cottages and undeveloped shoreline available,” said Catherine Green, a sales rep for Royal LePage Northern Advantage in a June 20 news release.

“Lakes in the region have a high proportion of American owners, as the strong U.S. dollar continues to attract buyers from Canada as well as the Indiana – Ohio – Michigan corridor and from as far away as Florida and California. With prices continuing to grow elsewhere within the province, we have also seen increased interest from the areas south and east of Sudbury, as well as west of Sault Ste Marie.”

The average price for a lakefront property in Blind River is $250,000 with a riverside property going for $175,000. Island lots are in the $200,000 range with a woodland cabin (non-waterfront) averaging $125,000. On St. Joseph Island, a half-hour drive east of Sault Ste. Marie, you can snag a lakefront lot facing Lake Huron for $160,000.

“Market conditions on St. Joseph Island and Lake Huron have not changed since last year,” said Carl Thomas, a local broker at Royal LePage Northern Advantage.

“Neither prices nor sales activity have increased, as unemployment, particularly as it relates to the steel industry in Sault. Ste. Marie, is high, affecting not only steel workers, but also businesses that rely on the industry’s health to prosper.”

Toward Sudbury, sales activity is picking up.

“Both prices and sales activity for recreational properties in Sudbury have increased slightly this year,” said Alex R. Dumas, broker at Royal LePage North Heritage Realty.

“While low interest rates have certainly helped, it has been the expansion of Highway 69 that has really attracted buyers to the area.”

Lakefront lots in Sudbury average $275,000 while a riverside property can be fetched at $250,000. Island property goes for $200,000. Woodland cabins come in at $150,000.

Provincially, Royal LePage said the aggregate recreational property price has climbed year-over-year to $413,000 as of May 2017. Inventory levels in Ontario have also declined when compared to last year. The highest demand for vacation properties is within a two- to three-hour drive of the GTA with a growing number of Toronto-area retirees cashing in their homes for cottage properties to renovate them into permanent abodes.

“Significant interest within many markets across Ontario has been driven by retirees looking to either benefit from the sale of a business, or unlock the value of a home in Toronto and reinvest their money into a property outside of the city,” said Bob Clarke, president, Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty – Clarke Muskoka Realty. “Demand for recreational property across Ontario is extremely high.”