Canal Lake Real Estate ~ Market Value Update


Whether you are an owner of a cottage who is considering selling, or a prospective buyer, it is important to be as informed as possible on local market conditions. In my previous career as a managing director at a major Canadian financial institution, I developed a deep appreciation for the importance of sound analytics, and have applied these concepts to glean insights on broader market trends as well as individual property valuation. In an effort to promote greater transparency and efficiency in our local markets, I am pleased to provide statistics and commentary on each of the major lakes in our core service area. If you are interested in a more precise valuation of your property, please contact me at (705) 438-3000 or email me and I would be happy to provide a value estimate at no cost.
~ David Donais, Broker of Record/Owner


2023 Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Summary

    The 12 major western Kawartha waterbodies include Balsam, Cameron, Canal, Crystal, Dalrymple, Four Mile, Head, Mitchell, Pigeon and Sturgeon lakes as well as the Shadow Lake System and the Burnt River.

  • The metric I use to track price trends is the Sale Price-to-MPAC Assessed Value Ratio, which is simply the ratio of the sale price of an individual property to its MPAC assessed value. I calculate this ratio for each sale recorded, as well as an average ratio for all sales in each time period.
  • The chart above summarizes the average Sale Price-to-Assessed Value Ratios for the almost 1,100 waterfront sales across the 12 major waterbodies in the western Kawarthas since January 2020. This chart effectively tells the story of the pandemic market and its aftermath.
  • Prices were choppy in 2023, rising early in the year, falling with the onset of the banking crisis in March, and weakening further in the summer and early fall after the resumption of interest rate increases by the Bank of Canada. Prices rebounded late in the year once fears of additional rate increases receded.
  • Notwithstanding the unwinding of the pandemic-induced bubble, price levels remain 67% above 2019 levels.
  • Consistent with most of the western Kawarthas, sales continued to be subdued on Canal Lake/Talbot River in 2023 with only 13 sales, down from 17 sales in 2022 and 42 sales in 2021.
  • The average sale price of the 13 sales in 2023 was $859,000, down 11% from $965,000 in 2022. Sale prices ranged from $460,000 to $1,521,000.
  • The average Sale Price-to-Assessed Value ratio for the 13 sales in 2023 was 2.66, down 13% from the 3.04 ratio realized from 2022 Canal Lake/Talbot River sales but moderately higher than the average ratio of 2.39 for waterfront sales across the western Kawarthas in 2023.
  • Looking forward, I am cautiously optimistic that prices will improve in 2024 as my sense is that many buyers feel ready to re-enter the market now that the interest rate increase cycle appears to have ended.


2022 Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Summary

(including sales on the TSW from the Kirkfield Lift Lock to the Simcoe County border)

    Western Kawartha waterbodies include Balsam, Cameron, Sturgeon, Pigeon, Canal, Mitchell, Dalrymple, Head, Four Mile and Crystal lakes as well as the Shadow Lake System and the Burnt River.

  • The chart above summarizes the monthly average Sale Price-to-Assessed Value Ratios in 2022 for the 12 major waterbodies in the western Kawarthas as well as across the entirety of cottage country. I have included the broader cottage country metric as the larger number of sales in this database adds credibility to the trends. For example, there were only three sales in the western Kawarthas in December 2022 so I would not put much faith in the 2.14 metric for that month.
  • Prices reached an all-time high in the early months of 2022 as buyers with pre-approved financing at very low rates chased the few waterfront listings on the market. The result was fierce bidding wars and sale prices substantially over asking. Buyers became extremely cautious once interest rates started to increase in late spring, and prices fell materially throughout the summer months before stabilizing in the autumn. Notwithstanding this retrenchment, price levels in December 2022 remained 62% above pre-pandemic levels.
  • There were only 17 waterfront sales on Canal Lake in 2022, down substantially from 42 in 2021.
  • While almost every Canal Lake property listed prior to May 31st sold quickly, only 8 of the 28 Canal Lake listings that were active after May 31st sold.
  • Sale prices on Canal Lake outperformed the broader market in 2022. The average sale price-to-assessed value multiple for the 17 sales was 3.04, substantially higher than the 2.65 average multiple realized across cottage country and the 2.75 average multiple for the 12 major waterbodies in the western Kawarthas in 2022.
  • The average sale price of the 17 Canal Lake sales was $965,000, up 15% from $837,000 in 2021. Sale prices ranged from $649,000 to $1,600,000.
  • It is difficult to predict how prices will evolve over the next 12 months but my sense is that we will return to normal market conditions with relatively stable prices once the rate increase cycle ceases.


2021 Canal Lake*/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Summary

    * Includes waterfront sales on the Trent-Severn Waterway between the Kirkfield Lift Lock and the Simcoe County border.
    ** Incorporates sales on Balsam, Cameron, Sturgeon, Canal, Mitchell, Dalrymple, Head, Shadow and Four Mile lakes as well as the Burnt River.

  • The chart above summarizes the average Sale Price-to-Assessed Value Ratio for the 570 waterfront sales across the key waterbodies in the western Kawarthas since January 2020. This chart is the most effective measure of waterfront price trends due to the large number of data points and the fact that average sale price-to-assessed value ratios tend to be quite consistent across the major waterbodies in the western Kawarthas.
  • Waterfront prices continued to trend higher through 2021 and ended the year at historic highs and almost double 2019 levels as pandemic-induced demand reached unprecedented levels. The only interruption in this upward trend occurred in July and August of 2021 when buyer demand receded in the expectation that the pandemic would soon be over following the wide vaccination rollout. Demand and prices quickly bounced back once the Delta and Omicron variants emerged.
  • Market activity was very high on Canal Lake in 2021, with 42 properties sold versus 29 in 2020 and 19 in 2019. This is in sharp contrast to most other lakes in the western Kawarthas where 2021 listing volumes were lower than normal.
  • The average sale price on Canal Lake (excluding building lots) was $837,000, up 34% from $624,000 in 2020. Sale prices ranged from $471,000 to $1,599,000, which was an all-time high sale price for a waterfront property on Canal Lake.
  • 26 of the 42 sales sold at or above the asking price, reflective of the dominant strategy of setting an attractive list price and holding back offers in the hope of receiving multiple offers.
  • Looking forward, it is difficult to foresee any material reduction in buyer demand and prices in the coming year unless we see the cessation of the pandemic and a return to pre-Covid living conditions and/or materially higher interest rates.


2020 Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Summary


  • Waterfront market activity on Canal Lake and across the western Kawarthas was especially volatile throughout 2020. It is therefore necessary to analyze the sales data on a monthly basis in order to understand the underlying price trends.
  • The metric I use to track price trends is the Sale Price-to-MPAC Assessed Value Ratio, which is simply the ratio of the sale price of an individual property to its MPAC assessed value. I calculate this ratio for each sale recorded, as well as an average ratio for all sales over a given time period. I consider the extent to which the average changes over time a good proxy for waterfront price trends.
  • The charts above summarize the average Sale Price-to-Assessed Value Ratios for each two-month period in 2020. I have included a chart for both Canal Lake and for waterfront sales across the western Kawarthas as the latter incorporates a larger number of sales and is therefore more statistically significant. You can see that for the western Kawarthas, prices were strong in the first two months of 2020, slumped somewhat during the lockdown months, and increased substantially thereafter. Most astounding are the post-September 1st results, which saw an additional upward surge in prices from the summer. The 1.88 ratio realized from November and December sales on Canal Lake is indicative of a 36% price increase from 2019, when prices were mostly flat throughout the year.
  • This increase in prices is attributable primarily to the tidal wave of new demand from buyers in the GTA who are eager for an escape from the pandemic-induced stresses of urban living.
  • The average sale price for Canal Lake properties (excluding building lot sales) in 2020 was $624,000, up 49% from $420,000 in 2019.
  • The 29 sales on Canal Lake in 2020 were up substantially from 19 sales in 2019.
  • Looking forward, I am optimistic that 2021 will continue to be positive for the waterfront market, supported by the apparent seismic shift in buyer demand towards waterfront properties, continued low interest rates and relatively strong real estate markets in the GTA.

Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ August 31, 2020

    Strong sales continued through August

  • August was another strong month on the lake with a total of four sales. The 14 sales so far in 2020 is in line with last year’s sales over the same period.
  • The average sale price of the 14 sales in 2020 is $548,000, up 30% from the average sale price of $420,000 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2020.
  • The average sale price-to-MPAC assessed value ratio of the 10 Canal Lake sales so far in 2020 is 1.72, up 25% from the 1.38 average for all Canal Lake sales in 2019. These higher prices are consistent with waterfront price trends across the western Kawarthas - refer to my "Western Kawarthas" analysis for more detail.
  • There were 10 active listings on the lake as at August 31, 2020.


Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ July 31, 2020

    Sales picked up in July

  • July was a strong month on the lake with a total of five sales. The 10 sales so far in 2020 is in line with last year’s sales over the same period.
  • The average sale price of the 10 sales in 2020 is $508,000, up 21% from the average sale price of $420,000 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2020.
  • The average sale price-to-MPAC assessed value ratio of the 10 Canal Lake sales so far in 2020 is 1.68, up 22% from the 1.38 average for all Canal Lake sales in 2019. These higher prices are consistent with waterfront price trends across the Wesetern Kawarthas -refer to my "Western Kawarthas" analysis for more detail.


Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ June 30, 2020

    Lower market activity so far in 2020.

  • There have been eight new listings and four sales on Canal Lake so far in 2020, a much slower start to the 2020 selling season than last year. This reduced activity is in stark contrast to activity across the western Kawarthas, where buyer demand and sales have been very strong and prices have been rising. Refer to my "Total Western Kawarthas" analysis for more detail of these trends.


Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ April 30, 2020

    No sales so far in 2020.

  • A much slower start to the 2020 selling season than last year.

  • The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a significant slowdown in both listings and sales across the western Kawarthas, leading to great uncertainty in the market going forward. At the present time there is no evidence of falling prices for waterfront properties and sellers are for the most part holding firm to their asking prices. The emerging trends of working from home and cottage vacationing as a replacement for air-travel vacations bode well for demand in the medium term, while the impending recession/depression represents a threat to short-to-medium term valuations.

2019 Canal Lake Market Value Summary


  • The data in this analysis captures waterfront real estate sales on Canal Lake and on the Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) from the Simcoe County boundary to the Kirkfield Lift Lock.
  • 34 waterfront properties were put on the market in 2019 and 19 (56%) sold. Seven (37%) of the sold properties required one or more price reductions. These proportions are largely consistent with trends across the key lakes and rivers in the western Kawarthas.
  • The average sale price for waterfront properties was $420,000 in 2019, down 11% from $472,000 in 2018. This decline is attributable primarily to fewer higher-end properties selling in 2019 – three properties sold for $750,000 or more in 2018, while the highest sale price in 2019 was $685,000.
  • One metric I track closely to provide insight into pricing trends is the Sale Price-to-MPAC Assessed Value Ratio. I calculate this ratio for each sale recorded, as well as an average ratio for all sales during the year. In 2019, the average ratio for the 19 Canal Lake/TSW sales was 1.38, up 3% from the 1.36 ratio in 2018.
  • The relative year-over-year stability of Canal Lake/TSW prices is consistent with sale price data across the key lakes and rivers in the western Kawarthas. The average sale price-to-assessed value ratio for the 185 waterfront sales in the region was 1.44, up 3% from 1.40 in 2018.
  • Looking forward, I am cautiously optimistic that 2020 will be a positive year for the waterfront market. I noticed strong momentum in the fall months – almost half of Kawartha Waterfront Realty’s 2019 sales took place after September 30th, and buyer inquiries to our office have remained strong in the early winter months. Real estate market conditions in the GTA also appear to be improving, which helps fuel demand for waterfront properties.

Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ October 15, 2019

Strong sales activity in 2019.

  • Sales are up materially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019, although there have been only five sales since early June.
  • The average sale price so far in 2019 of $435,000 is down from the $472,000 average sale price for all of 2018. However, the average sale price-to-assessed value for these sales is 1.38, slightly higher than the average of 1.36 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2018.
  • There were 11 listings on Canal Lake as at October 15, 2019.



Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ August 31, 2019

Strong sales activity in 2019.

  • Sales are up materially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019, although there have been only three sales since early June.
  • The average sale price so far in 2019 of $428,000 is down from the $472,000 average sale price for all of 2018. However, the average sale price-to-assessed value for these sales is 1.36, unchanged from the average of 1.36 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2018.
  • There were 13 active listings on Canal Lake as at August 31, 2019.



Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ July 31, 2019

Strong listing and sales activity so far in 2019.

  • New listing volumes and sales are up materially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019.
  • There have been 11 sales so far in 2019. The average sale price so far in 2019 of $430,000 is down from the $472,000 average sale price for all of 2018. However, the average sale price-to-assessed value for these sales is 1.35, in line with the average of 1.36 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2018.



Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ June 30, 2019

Strong listing and sales activity so far in 2019.

  • In contrast to almost every other lake in the western Kawarthas, new listing volumes and sales are up materially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019. Several of the new listings were also on the market in 2018 and expired unsold.
  • There have been 10 sales so far in 2019. The average sale price so far in 2019 of $405,000 is down significantly from the $472,000 average sale price for all of 2018. However, the average sale price-to-assessed value for these sales is 1.35, in line with the average of 1.36 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2018.



Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ May 31, 2019

Strong listing and sales activity so far in 2019.

  • In contrast to almost every other lake in the western Kawarthas, new listing volumes and sales are up substantially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019. Several of the new listings were also on the market in 2018 and expired unsold.
  • There have been eight sales so far in 2019. The average sale price-to-assessed value for these sales is 1.27, versus an average of 1.36 for all sales on Canal Lake in 2018. The average sale price so far in 2019 of $363,000 is also down considerably from the $472,000 average sale price for all of 2018.



Canal Lake/Trent Severn Waterway Market Value Update ~ May 15, 2019

Plenty of new listings so far in 2019.

  • In contrast to almost every other lake in the western Kawarthas, new listing volumes are up substantially on Canal Lake and nearby sections of the Trent Severn Waterway so far in 2019. Several of the new listings were also on the market in 2018 and expired unsold.
  • There have been three sales so far in 2019, versus two sales in the same period last year.


2018 Canal Lake Market Value Summary

  • The data in this analysis captures waterfront real estate sales on Canal Lake and on the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) from the Simcoe County boundary to the Kirkfield Lift Lock.
  • The average sale price for waterfront properties was $472,000 in 2018, down 6% from $500,000 in 2017, and up 23% from $384,000 in 2016. Sale prices in 2018 ranged from a low of $207,500 to a high of $825,000.
  • There were 17 sales in 2018, down from 24 in 2017.
  • One metric I track closely to provide insight into pricing trends is the Sale Price-to-MPAC Assessed Value Ratio. I calculate this ratio for each sale recorded, as well as an average ratio for all sales during the year. In 2018, the average ratio for the 17 Canal Lake/TSW sales was 1.36, up 5% from 1.30 in 2017 and 26% from 1.08 in 2016.
  • The relative year-over-year stability of Canal Lake/TSW prices is consistent with sale price data on most other key lakes in the western Kawarthas.
  • Other key takeaways from the 2018 market include:
    • In contrast to the relatively slow spring market, the fall market for waterfront properties was very strong across the western Kawarthas. On Canal Lake, four properties sold prior to June 1st while nine sold after September 1st.
    • Buyers almost uniformly desire to use their properties year-round – if you have a three-season property, it would be well worth your while to investigate the feasibility of enhancing it to four- season capability.
  • Looking forward, I am hoping that the strong momentum from the fall 2018 market will carry into 2019. However, while the prospect of higher interest rates in 2019 appears to be receding, the late-2018 correction in financial markets has the potential to dampen buyer demand for waterfront properties. As always, real estate market conditions in the GTA will heavily influence our market.

Contact Kawartha Waterfront Realty

Call: 1 (877) 992-9927 or Email


Kawartha Lakes Heritage Postcards

We have a great appreciation for the history of the lakes we service, and are pleased to share with you some of the heritage postcards we have collected.

Among the islands 1907 ~ Kawartha Lakes

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