Grand Bend real estate was once considered a sleepy, quiet market compared to its urban counterparts, but all that changed in the past year, with buyer preferences shifting in favour of smaller communities offering more home and property, at a lower price. But that too, is starting to change. As interest and activity in Canada’s recreational property markets continues to rise in the wake of the global pandemic, prices are following suit. This is a key trend identified in the 2021 RE/MAX Recreational Property Report.
The Grand Bend real estate market is currently experiencing seller’s market conditions, with low listing inventory across all property types including waterfront, non-waterfront, water access and condo apartments. It seems that, regardless of the type of home, buyers are charmed by this small town. Average days on market (DOM) has fallen to just six. (DOM is a key metric that gauges how long it will take to liquidate the region’s active listings at the current rate of sales.) And competition is high for what listings are available, with multiple offers being a regular occurrence.
This migration of homebuyers to the Grand Bend area is largely coming from large, urban markets, including Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and London, Ontario, according to Mark Pedlar, real estate agent and manager at RE/MAX Bluewater Realty Inc., a brokerage servicing the Grand Bend, Bayfield, Hay Township and Port Franks area of southwestern Ontario. Pedlar confirms that many buyers have indeed expanded their search area, thanks to work-from-home allowances, while others are also buying cottages with investment in mind, to be rented weekly as the Airbnb and short-term rental market here expands.
Aside from putting upward pressure on the supply of listings and prices, the trend of “move-over” buyers has also forced some locals to step back from the market after being priced out.
“As the prices continue to rise, you’re going to start seeing more sellers take advantage of the market, but with limited inventory for the near future, prices and demand are going to continue to be high,” Pedlar said.
Pedlar reports that average prices in the Grand Bend real estate market have risen across the board in 2021 (January 1-April 30):
- Detached waterfront properties: $1,292,877
- Detached non-waterfront properties: $756,557
- Water access properties: $780,521
- Condominiums: $567,000
The price of detached waterfront properties in the area increased 40% from 2019 to 2021, and they are expected to increase another 10 per cent through the end of the year, to approximately $1,422,164.
The other property types saw more significant price gains between 2019 and 2021, with non-waterfront detached properties increasing 53%, water-access properties rose 49%, and condos increased a whopping 69%.
“There’s a lot of demand for recreational properties and you can’t just develop more lakeside properties in our region. So, demand will continue and supply is limited,” Pedlar says.
What exactly are buyers looking for? Pedlar says access and proximity to good beaches, a large property and nature. “If people are leaving the city, they want the feeling of more space and nature.”
And where are buyers be looking right now? “There’s a lot of new development happening on Main Street in Grand Bend, which is going to give a new outlook on downtown with new restaurants, shops and attractions.”