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The Muskoka Lakes region has long been identified as quintessential Ontario cottage country, with its pink-granite shores, beautiful lakes and spectacular waterfront homes. Such lakefront luxury doesn’t come cheaply, though; entry prices for properties on any of the three big lakes in the region – Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph – start at more than $1-million.

While Muskoka still represents Ontario’s most exclusive vacation home market –the average cost of a waterfront property in the region was $1.65-million in 2018, according to RE/MAX – other recreational destinations in the province are appealing to sophisticated buyers.

According to a RE/MAX recreational property report last year, 36- to 51-year-old Generation Xers are the leading purchasers in Canada, followed by baby boomers at 40 per cent. Even millennials are eager to own a vacation home: A 2017 RE/MAX Leger poll found that 65 per cent in this age group would look to buy a recreational property first and continue to rent in the city.

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Most desirable are areas within a two- to three-hour commute of Toronto. They include Prince Edward County, south of Belleville, with its stunning beaches and vibrant arts, food and wine scene; and Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes, with its cottage-country feel, charming small towns, year-round activities and proximity to Toronto. Haliburton, south of Algonquin Park, has also enjoyed double-digit price increases and now boasts luxury $1-million waterfront homes.

Collingwood, too, has emerged as a leading contender in Ontario’s recreational-property market, thanks to its wealth of year-round activities, from skiing at Blue Mountain to boating, hiking, biking and golf. The town on the southern tip of Georgian Bay is attracting a large number of entrepreneurs drawn by the vibrant four-season lifestyle and sophisticated new amenities, such as a deluxe Scandinavian spa.

“Collingwood is one of the fastest-growing communities in the country and there’s a reason for that,” says Remo Niceforo of Stonebrook Developments, the developer behind Monaco, a boutique six-storey condominium in the heart of downtown Collingwood. “It offers a lifestyle where you can be at the ski slopes or on Nottawasaga Bay in five to 10 minutes.”

Site preparation for construction on the project has begun and last month Monaco presented a cheque to the town for the buiilding permit. Occupancy is planned for late 2021.

With a wealth of boutique retail shops, craft breweries, trendy restaurants and a busy cultural and festival calendar, the town is a magnet for Torontonians, from baby boomers who appreciate the charm and slower pace of life, to young families seeking a top-quality environment to raise their kids, Niceforo adds.

“Collingwood has so many wonderful resources it didn’t used to, but still has small-town charm,” Niceforo says. “The calibre of living is going to continue to increase.”

He says Monaco, inspired by the Beaux-Arts architecture of the downtown, will provide unobstructed views of the bay and will feature 28,000 square feet of retail space in the downtown core.

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“The location is perfect for those who want everything at their doorstep. I will be able to walk out my front door and experience all the great things that the downtown has to offer,” future Monaco resident Diane Young says.

About one-third of Monaco’s 126 suites are still available, Niceforo says, ranging from the $500,000s to $2.4-million.

“We have purchasers who own vacation-type properties and want a more permanent residence and those looking to use their condo as a weekend or second residence,” Niceforo says.

Monaco reflects the growing trend toward vacation properties that offer the same sophisticated design and quality as high-end urban condos – with the ability to enjoy a recreational lifestyle without maintenance hassles. “We have tried to develop a Yorkville-type lifestyle in Collingwood,” Niceforo says.

Highlights of the re/MAX recreational property report

  • 78% Of recreational property regions surveyed are showing growth.
  • 91% Of regions are seeing demand driven by retirees, up from 55 per cent in 2017.
  • 98% The median price increase of waterfront properties in Haliburton, Ont.
  • 24% Of Canadians would consider buying a recreational property in the future.
  • $1,027,000 The median price of a waterfront property in Muskoka in 2018, up from $850,000 in 2017

Source: RE/MAX 2018 Recreational Property Report

This content was produced by The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio, in consultation with an advertiser. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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