Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cottage market a mixed bag of opportunities

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THE long, cold winter cast a chill over the spring cottage-buying season in Manitoba, and how much the market heats up over the summer could depend on where the cottage is located, local Realtors say.

Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate's Jim Muir, who specializes in sales of cottages along the west side of Lake Winnipeg, said Thursday it should still be a pretty good year for sales, even though the spring market was about two months late in getting underway.

"It has really picked up now, and we are actually quite short of supply," Muir said in interview. "So I think it's going to be a solid year. I think what does come (onto the market) is going to sell fairly well."

But it's a different story in the Lac du Bonnet area, said Tammy Novakoski, a sales associate with Royal LePage Top Producers.

Unlike the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Novakoski said it's a buyers market in the Lac du Bonnet area, with the supply of available cottages far outnumbering the supply of prospective buyers. And she doesn't see that changing much over the summer.

"As far as I can tell, it's going to be similar to last year," she said, and 2013 wasn't a great year for the same reasons -- too much supply and not enough buyers.

She said there are some properties that have been on the market for up to three years because the sellers couldn't, or wouldn't, drop their asking price. And market-savvy buyers know they can find a better deal elsewhere because there are so many other properties available.

"So if you're looking for a deal on a cottage, this is the time to buy. Everybody is open to offers."

Muir and Novakoski were commenting after Royal LePage released its 2014 Recreational Properties Report. It said after a slow start to the year, sales activity in Canada's recreational property market is finally starting to pick up.

"In many areas, snow remained well into the spring, hampering efforts to open and list summer properties, but sellers and buyers returned following the Victoria Day long weekend," the report states.

However, "(real estate) advisers across the country are reporting a significant increase in buyer interest and are anticipating the return of a healthy market for the remainder of the spring and summer," it adds.

The only two cottage regions in Manitoba the Royal LePage report examined were the east side of Lake Winnipeg and the Lac du Bonnet area.

It pegs the average selling price this year for a land-accessible waterfront cottage in the Lac du Bonnet area at $350,000 to $400,000. For inland properties, it's $150,000, and for waterfront cottages accessible only by water it's $200,000.

On the west side of Lake Winnipeg, the report puts the average selling price for a land-accessible waterfront cottage at $260,000 and for an inland cottage its $100,000. But there are also upper-end cottages in the region that sell for as high as $800,000 to $1 million, it adds.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2014 B6

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