Luxury Real Estate Agent Steve Haid Introduces ‘The Hamptons Of The North’
“Muskoka, Canada is an incredible market for long-term capital appreciation and high rates of return for investors renting their waterfront properties.”
Presented by Luke Lintz
There are many different ways to describe a place, such as the Muskoka Lakes area in Ontario. It has been named one of the best places to visit in Canada by major publications such as National Geographic and Frommers. The geographically-minded will say the area is home to 1,600 freshwater lakes, including stunning landscapes, surreal forests, and picturesque nature.
The biggest and most popular lakes are Muskoka, Rousseau, and Joseph, where people enjoy endless activities in all seasons. Those interested in celebrity culture say that Muskoka is where one can see Mark Walberg hanging out with the Beckhams. It’s a piece of paradise where Stephen Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russel, and Tom Hanks, among many other celebrities and professional athletes, own stunning lake houses and cottages.
To Steve Haid, Muskoka is all of that – plus plenty more. This luxury real estate agent, who originally hails from Toronto, is fascinated by the area, not just because of its celebrity pull. Steve sees Muskoka as a very interesting and exciting real estate market with the potential to be an excellent investment for domestic and international buyers.
“Muskoka is an incredible market for long-term capital appreciation and high rates of return for investors renting their waterfront properties.”
However, when Steve talks about the area, it’s apparent what first drew him there. “Muskoka is just two hours north of Toronto, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in Ontario,” Steve Haid says. “It’s one of Canada’s most beautiful and interesting places, maybe even the world.” He explains how the area got its nickname, The Hamptons of the North, saying that it was due to the mix of natural beauties and the many famous people who like to visit it.
Steve, like many Torontonians, has been familiar with Ontario cottage country for most of his life. He’s been visiting Muskoka, cottage country’s biggest draw, for as long as he can remember. It wasn’t until he was six or seven years invested in his real estate career that he started to think about making a move permanently. Eventually, he did.
“My dream lifestyle started when I purchased my cottage on Lake Muskoka. Then the nature and lifestyle consume me; the incredible freshwater lakes, the forests, the wildlife, the endless activities, and the Muskoka lifestyle,” he explains. “A couple of years back, I relocated permanently. Now I manage a real estate brokerage in town, including several experienced realtors, and we sell tons of real estate, including and more specifically, luxurious waterfront properties.”
Besides the landscape and natural beauty, which are, as Steve Haid’s American acquaintances have attested, on par and even exceeding those of the Great Lakes in the United States, one of the more recognizable things about the Muskoka region is the real estate – the “cottages” themselves. The Muskoka style of building lake houses typically involves building an iconic boat house next to or on the water. As for the architectural style itself, it varies depending on the age of the house and the owner’s vision.
“There’s a huge variation of cottages, and it’s drastic, from the brand-new build including more modern or contemporary styles to traditional rustic lake houses, some built over a century ago,” he says. “My lake house was built in 1896, so it’s 126 years old. When I bought it, it hadn’t been renovated since the 1950s or 60s – I had to completely renovate the interior to achieve a modern farmhouse dream style.”
As a local – even a recent one – Steve Haid would say that the area sees the most visitors during the summer season. Bordered by two public holidays – Victoria day and Labor day – it encompasses the three months that are the perfect time to enjoy many of the activities on the lake. For those who wish to visit cottage country in other seasons, there is plenty of liveliness all year round.
“The fall season here runs from September until about November, and it gets busy, too,” Steve Haid explains. “There’s a lot of festivals that take place during that part of the year, and when the leaves start changing color, it’s stunning to be here. It’s a different world with reds, oranges, and browns. That’s my favorite part of the year here, and the activities are endless.”
After fall comes winter, and Muskoka’s got plenty to draw visitors during the coldest months, too. Whether skiing, snowmobiling, or ice fishing, people don’t lack reasons to come to cottage country. If for no other reason, Steve says, than to escape the cities for the weekend.
The area saw a lot of interest during the first couple of years of the pandemic when international travel was restricted, and people had a pressing need to get away. Steve Haid noted that real estate prices in the region shot up drastically, up to 70% in some cases and areas. With things calming down on that front, it seems that next year will finally bring a more balanced market with positive price increases. “This fall and winter, maybe even into the spring, looks like a great time to purchase property in the area,” he says.
“From then on, barring any disaster, it’s smooth sailing for years to come – Muskoka real estate tends to keep its value and appreciate substantially over time.”