A Real Estate Pulse Check for Boomers: Collingwood, The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands

Monday Mar 14th, 2022

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Boomers continue to look at Collingwood, The Blue Mountains and the Grey Highlands as a place to retire or spend a good portion of their time.  It’s no surprise.  The area offers year round living with great shopping, restaurants and outdoor activities on the Escarpment and Georgian Bay.

Most importantly for home buyers, it has some beautiful homes in great communities and unique settings.  This article is written to provide you with an overview of what you can expect to find on small and large parcels of land. 

Global Turmoil and Economic Uncertainty

What’s happening in Ukraine is dreadful.  I was originally ready to publish this article the day the invasion commenced, and I became consumed with this unfathomable horror.  This crisis, combined with inflation, labour shortages and supply chain issues will have an effect on housing. 

As someone who focuses on working with Buyers - I believe there will be a dip in the market.  It’s too early to compile any meaningful data from listings (such as Days on Market, Median Prices, % of List), but there are other indicators worth referencing as follows:

  • The VIX (stock market volatility index) is spiking - at time of writing this article it’s over 34.
  • The inflation rate in Canada is over 5% and over 7% in the US.
  • Interest rates are rising.  For every ½% increase on a $500,000 mortgage the monthly payment rises by $135. 
  • Oil prices are now over $120 per barrel.  Spikes in oil often precede a recession.

Over the past year average single family home prices have gone up as follows:

  • Collingwood +48%
  • Grey Highlands +17.2%
  • The Blue Mountains +42.5%

I can’t see a repeat of this type of increase or even close in the foreseeable future. In fact, the tables may finally be turning and creating better opportunities for Buyer’s! 

For purposes of this article, I’ve looked at detached homes with a minimum of 3+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms.

Properties that would be of greater appeal to the boomer crowd are currently selling for more than $2 million.  Although there are some exceptions, at less than $2 million you are looking primarily at smaller homes in the city of Collingwood and newer developments and subdivisions.  About 55% of homes are on parcels of land that are less than ½ acre and generally have lots with frontage in the 50’ range. 

On less than ½ acre and in the $2 to $3 million range you can get a beautiful home that has the following characteristics:

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 4 bathrooms
  • 3,000 AG square feet
  • Finished basement
  • Extras like a sauna, hot tub, swimming pool and radiant heat

These homes are generally recent builds or renovated.  The interiors are well finished, many have a main floor bedroom, and the floor plans are suitable to our lifestyle offering well-appointed kitchens and an open plan layout. 

This home (MLS #40220618) is listed for $2.275 million and has been on the market for over 70 days.  It's on a cul-de-sac, backs onto a wooded area of Monterra Golf Course, and is 5 minutes to Blue Mountain.

2 Acre Properties and Larger

The majority of these properties are in the Grey Highlands, followed by The Blue Mountains and West Grey.  I love the Grey Highlands but finding a property that meets your objectives may take a little longer.  Furthermore, you may be into renovations and/or additions as some of these homes are older and need some updating.

Having said that, being in the country surrounded by nature and open spaces offers privacy and a lifestyle that can be highly appealing.  So for some Buyers, being patient and ready to pounce when the right property is listed offers a huge payoff.

Averages for these properties are less meaningful because they are all so different!  Below are the ranges you can expect:

Price Range:                                       $1.2 M - $4.0M+
Median Price:                                      $2.3 M
Median Property Size:                        50 acres

This property (MLS #40202412) is listed for $2.3M and sits on 53 acres of hardwood forest just outside of Maxwell.  It’s a 90 minute drive to Toronto and 25 minute drive to Collingwood and Thornbury.  At time of writing this article it’s been on the market for 26 days.

Finally, there are always unique situations that may merit a look.  For example, the following property is just over ½ acre but it backs onto the Grey Sauble Conservation area with mature trees.  This property (MLS #40206431) is only a 10 minute drive to Thornbury and has been on the market for 32 days.

Let me know if I can help you, I love working with Buyers to find their dream home or seasonal property in Southern Georgian Bay.

 

 

About the Author
Craig Rennick is a Sales Representative of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage, and a member of The Toyne Team. He lives in Collingwood and recently renovated their family cottage on Good Cheer Island in the Sans Souci area of Georgian Bay.  His focus is on selling and buying homes and seasonal residences for Buyers in Southern Georgian Bay.