Lake Erie Waterfront Cottage Inventory

This is a follow-up to a post from last week that made the case for Leamington, Kingsville and Colchester as an alternative destination for those in the GTA or parts inbetween looking for a cottage or recreational property.   The north shore of Lake Erie has a distinct geographic advantage that combines a beautiful lakefront with a favorable climate and a generally longer summer than most areas of the province.

Perhaps the biggest advantage however is the region’s position in the provincial real estate market.  Overall, the area has some of the most reasonably priced homes meaning your recreational dollar goes a lot further here compared to some of the more established cottage markets in Ontario.  To  illustrate this, it is useful to dive a little deeper into the available waterfront inventory (as of May 29, 2012) to see exactly what we mean.

Currently, between Kingsville, Leamington, Essex and Wheatley, there are 70 waterfront homes being marketed on  The average price of these properties is $372,121.  Of this number, there are 17 homes that are listed under $200,000 and 2 that are listed at $1.5 million and above.

Below is a breakdown of listings by area.

  • In Leamington, there are 34 listings with an average price of $318,190.
  • In Kingsville there are 20 properties available.  The averagle list price is $499,380, driven by the large number of luxury waterfront homes as there are 9 properties listed in excess of $500,000.
  • In Essex/Colchester there are 11 properties available with an average price of $340,172.
  • In Wheatley there are 5 properties with an average list price of $252,096.

In sum, it’s apparent that there is a good supply of waterfront property available in the area.  The buy-in price is under $100,00 (3 below this price) and there are many properties available under $200,000.  The data further shows that there is a good supply of luxury waterfront properties in which you get amenities not seen at this price point in most other places in the province.  Considering a moneyville article from last May which suggested the averagle Lake Muskoka cottage was $1.2 Million this area may in fact be a greal alternative as a cottage destination.*

For access to information about the listings that have been mentioned or for more detailed information about the area, please fill out the contact form below.  Better still, contact Sales Representative Brad Reiter at 519-326-6154 to arrange a personal tour of the area.



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4 New Listings!

It might have been the Victoria Day holiday but we had a busy weekend here.  We have 5 new listings.  We can only show 4 of them here though because we’ve already sold one of them!

60 Marlborough is a super starter or would make a nice rental property and is listed for $87,500.

888 County Road 37 is a country home on a nice lot with a farm sized kitchen.  Listed for $199,000.

20 Countess Street gives  you a lot of bang for the buck.  Listed for $137,900

2328 County Road 20 features country living only 25 minutes from Windsor.  Listed at $245,000.

Call us today for more information on any of these properties or to schedule a personal viewing.

The Case For Windsor-Essex as a Cottage Destination

There was a great article in the Globe and Mail this weekend (  Being as it was Victoria Day Weekend, they ran a story on perils of cottage commuting for GTA residents. The article suggests alternative means to get to cottage country including rediscovering the lost of art of map reading and backroad driving, using the train and even chartering a small jet.  But here’s another suggestion – why not re-think the notion of a cottage destination all together. The Leamington and Windsor-Essex region has a lot to offer those looking to get away from the congestion and you don’t need a plane to get here!  Here are just a few reasons to consider this area as an alternative to Muskoka, Barrie, Kingston and the Kawarthas as a place to spend your recreational time.

Geographic Location;

  • Windsor-Essex is the southernmost region in Canada and shares the same latitude as Girona Spain, The Island of Corsica in France and Cape Cod Massachusetts in the United States.
  • The region is completely surrounded by the temperature moderating influences of Lake Erie, leading to the region’s designation as the 100 mile peninsula.  The area enjoys not only great boating but also some of the best perch and pickerel fishing around.
  • Every spring, travellers from all around the globe flock to the region and Point Pelee Nation Park in particular to experience some of the best birding in North America. Many return in the fall to catch the monarch butterfly migration.
  • The region has seen an explosion in agri-tourism over the last few years.  Essex County has the largest concentration of greenhouses in North America.  Fruit stands dominate the rural landscape here and as such it is tough to find fresher tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers anywhere.  Vineyards are also a big part of this industry as wineries of the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) are gaining a global reputation.
  • At 350km from Toronto, the region is closer than you think.  As you might soon discover, the traffic volume is much lighter the further west you get from the GTA meaning you spend more time driving rather versus getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Real Estate Market;

  • Simply put, your recreation dollar goes a lot further here as the region has some of the most affordable housing in the entire country.  A study by a local retirement recruitment group shows has put together a nice comparison on where the region ranks in terms of affordability. (
  • Waterfront properties cost a fraction of what they do in more traditionally defined cottage locations.  For the price of a small condominium in Toronto you can own a waterfront property with views that rival some of the nicest in the province.
  • Treed lots and hobby farms are also in strong supply meaning you can own a piece of the country for less.

In summary, if you’re from the GTA or places in between and are looking for a cottage retreat but are unwilling to pay the price of Muskoka real estate or to fight the traffic to cottage country, why not consider the Windsor-Essex region?  Give our office a call at 519-326-6154 or fill out the contact form below.  We’d love to host you on a tour of the area to show you why we think it is an undiscovered gem.

The boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park.

A Scarlet Tanager perched on branch.


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Backyard Birding

Birding season is upon us and by just spending a relaxing lunch in the backyard, it becomes quickly evident why so many people from around the world flock to Leamington and Point Pelee this time of year.  Here’s a quick example of some of the birds you might encounter … if you’re quiet enough.

A cardinal perched in a maple tree.

An Oriel sitting on a fence.  Wonder if he’s headed to Baltimore…..


A Red-Winged Blackbird enjoying a snack.

For more information about birding in the Leamington area, please visit .

April Real Estate Market Data

Market data for the month of April from the Windsor Essex County Real Estate Board was released on Tuesday.   It shows a continued momentum from the gains made in the first quarter of 2012.  Total inventory remains relatively flat with YTD listings down only 0.50%.  As of the end of April, there were 3195 listings compared to 3211 in 2011.  YTD sales tho ugh are up 12.38% and YTD average price is up 8.26% at $170,839.  In sum, we see a slightly declining inventory coupled with increased sales and higher average price.  This is a positive indicator for those considering placing thier home on the market.

Delving a little deeper into the figures, it is worth noting what type of home buyers have been looking for.   YTD, the highest number of homes have sold between $140,000-$179,999.  In the month of April, more buyers looked to ranches and raised ranches than other design types.  However, the sale of 2 storey homes increased 76% from April of last year.  This type of home also brought with it the highest average sale price in  April 2012 at $254,411 which is a 24% increase over the same period in 2011.

To view the interactive data provided by the Windsor Essex County Real Estate Board please click the link provided.  To view some of the more detailed data the board provides us or to discuss what this data means for your propery, please fill out the contact us form provided or call our office at 519-326-6154.


New Listing! 38 Erie Street Kingsville

Located close to Lake Erie and Lakeside Park this house is perfect for a growing family.  With an inground pool and generous backyard deck, you might not want leave!  Call today for your personal viewing.


Mortgage Wars Follow-up

Here’s a good article reflecting on the benefits of the current mortgage market to consumers.


Mortgage war means good news for homeowners
By Gordon Pape | Moneyville – Sun, 18 Mar, 2012 7:00 PM EDT.. .

Good news! The mortgage wars are back. Bad news! The mortgage wars are back. It all depends on your perspective.

If you’re an aspiring homeowner or you want to refinance to pay off back-breaking credit card debt, the latest battle of the banks for market share is a terrific opportunity.

If you’re Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, it’s a slap in the face. You’re the most influential financial person in the country and you’ve been spending a lot of time during the past two years warning Canadians about the dangers of their ever-increasing debt levels. And what is the banking oligarchy doing in response? Thumbing their collective noses at you by encouraging people to take on even more debt!

The latest cat fight for mortgage market share couldn’t have come at a better time for prospective borrowers. The spring housing season is just starting to heat up and prices stubbornly continue at record highs despite alarm bells that the bubble could burst any time soon. In this climate, any break on mortgage rates that makes your dream home more affordable is welcome.

The mortgage market is a Wild West show right now. The banks are aggressively undercutting one another to build their business before the low-interest window closes. Bank of Montreal kicked off the latest round of rate-cutting by offering a five-year closed mortgage at 2.99 per cent and an even more eye-popping 10-year rate of 3.99 per cent.

Royal Bank has countered with an “all the frills” four-year fixed rate of 2.99 per cent with amortizations up to 30 years. That translates into a monthly payment of $1,260 on a $300,000 loan. By comparison, at 5 per cent the monthly carrying cost would be just over $1,600. Royal even offers to pay the switching costs if you move your business from another financial institution. Talk about dog-eat-dog!

Most other banks are offering similar deals just to stay in the game. For the moment, this is a true buyer’s market for borrowers but it may not last long. Some of the deals have fixed termination dates (e.g. March 28 for BMO’s 10-year 3.99 per cent rate). Others could be pulled at any time.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Carney must be seething. The last thing he wants to see is Canadians jacking up their household debt to income ratios even more. But short of intervening directly in the private sector, which he would be reluctant to do except under extreme circumstances, his hands are pretty much tied.

He’d love to raise the key overnight target rate from its current level of 1 per cent but for the moment he’s a prisoner of the domestic economy and international forces. The recovery is still fragile and the high loonie continues to hurt our export markets. Still, you can bet he’ll make a move at the first possible opportunity.

Do you remember in high school when your English teacher would make you parse lines from Shakespeare? That’s what economists do when the Bank of Canada issues its interest rate statements. They dissect every line, looking for clues that indicate any subtle shifts in position that might suggest a move up or down in the near future. They found several such clues in the March 8 announcement that the overnight rate would remain unchanged for now.

“The heightened uncertainty around the global economic outlook has decreased in the weeks since the Bank released its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR),” the statement said. “With tentative signs of stabilization in European bank funding and sovereign debt markets, conditions in global financial markets have improved and risk aversion has decreased.”

Reduced global uncertainty. Signs of stability in Europe. Global financial markets looking better. Less risk aversion. Hmm.

The statement went on: “Canadian household spending is expected to remain high relative to GDP as households add to their debt burden, which remains the biggest domestic risk.”

It doesn’t take an economist to read between the lines here. With the global economy improving and household debt “the biggest domestic risk” interest rate increases are on the way sooner rather than later.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s pledge to hold its rates at record lows until 2014 is a problem because it means a Canadian rate increase will probably push the loonie even higher. But Carney may be prepared to live with that to try to shake the country out of its debt spiral.

So if you are thinking about borrowing money, my advice is to act now. The window may be closing faster than you think. And here’s another tip. Take the longest low-rate option you can find. You may not see anything like it again in your lifetime.

Gordon Pape is editor and publisher of the Internet Wealth Builder newsletter. His website is
Image: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star file photo.

Money Sense Magazine – Canada’s Best Places to Live 2012

Money Sense Magazine has just released it’s annual list of what it thinks are Canada’s best places to live. To determine their rankings, the publication “weighs and ranks 190 cities and towns in Canada by 22 separate categories, for a comprehensive data-driven snapshot of the benefits and drawbacks of our urban communities in Canada”.

In 2006, Leamington gained a bit of notoriety by being ranked number 1 on this list. The methodology used has changed over the years though. More communities have been added to the list and the criteria for determining the ranking has been altered. This year, Leamington ranks 111th while Windsor ranks 84th. Areas Leamington scored lower on were doctors/1,000 residents and culture.

There were several categories in which Leamington scored very highly on however. In terms of being a safe community to live in, Leamington was ranked 15th overall. Also, in terms of weather, Leamington was ranked 13th overall. It also landed in the top 50 for housing affordability and the ability to walk/bike to work.

At the end of the day, this list is an interesting exercise designed to compare and contrast a number of municipalities across Canada based on what Money Sense Magazine feels are a broad range of empirical variables. These numbers though should be taken with a large grain of salt. Have things changed that much in Leamington relative to other municipalities that our ranking should fall to 111th? Probably not. Does it show that there are areas we can improve upon?  For sure.  We’d all like to see more doctors in the area. We can though take solace in the fact that it’s March 20th and it might hit 24 degrees today. We really do have great weather!