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How far your dollar will take you in Manitoba’s most popular cottage communities

Jessica Lake in the Whiteshell is shown in a 2015 file image. (Peggy Nicholls) Jessica Lake in the Whiteshell is shown in a 2015 file image. (Peggy Nicholls)
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Manitobans not looking forward to another summer in the city may have their sights set on buying a cottage.

Be it Gimli or Falcon Lake or Riding Mountain National Park, our province has no shortage of summer hotspots popular with buyers and sellers, alike.

But in the afterglow of a red-hot pandemic real estate boom, just how far will your dollar take you in our province’s cottage real estate market?

To find out, CTV News Winnipeg talked to four real estate experts to get the lay of the land on cottage prices across Manitoba.

Whiteshell

Broker Derrick Sigmar has been selling real estate for 40 years, and began focusing on Whiteshell properties about four years ago.

“Any waterfront property is a desirable commodity. There's a limited number of properties that, year in, year out, come up in the Whiteshell, which seems to hold the prices,” he said,

He says buyers can get a bigger bang for their buck in communities in the north Whiteshell, like Brereton, Jessica and Red Rock lakes.

While several factors affect price, Sigmar says lakefront cottages in these communities generally start at around $400,000.

“Somebody will pay more depending on the profile, like if there's not a lot of stairs, or access to the lake is easy.”

Caddy Lake is shown in a 2016 file image. (Robert Granke)

Non-lakefront cottages go for considerably less, Sigmar said, closer to $250,000.

Prices generally run higher in the south Whiteshell, but more affordable properties can be found, depending on their condition.

Similarly to the north Whiteshell, non-lakefront cottages in the south can start at around $250,000 but can go up to $800,000 if they have water access, like a dock or a boathouse.

Smaller communities, like Caddy Lake or Star Lake, generally have lakefront properties starting at around $400,000.

“Then they can go from there for as far as if it's a newer build resale, they can get into seven figures.”

Popular areas like West Hawk Lake and Falcon Lake will command a higher dollar, he says.

“If you start talking about cottages that are north of $2 million, they would have to be in that newer build resale market.”

West Hawk Lake is pictured in June 2023.

Interlake

Chris Neufeld has been selling real estate in the Interlake for 20 years.

He says sales are already up 50 per cent from this time last year.

“We’ve had a very busy 2024. In our area, it’s double what we had in 2023.”

In the Interlake region, he says Gimli continues to be the most sought-after market, thanks to its many townsite amenities.

Non-lakefront, seasonal cottages begin at around $150,000 to $200,000.

Year-round homes will run anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000.

“Some of those would also be homes, year-round properties or retirement properties. And then, of course, above $300,000, then most of those would be primary residences,” he said.

Winnipeg Beach properties fall within a similar range, he says. It is also a sought-after community for cottage buyers thanks to its convenience.

“Winnipeg Beach is always very attractive because it's only 45 minutes from the perimeter.”

The Gimli harbour is shown on a sunny June morning in 2019. (Deean and Ian Shanley)

Parkland

Realtor Colette Carefoot, who primarily lists properties in the Dauphin Lake region, says she’s had a slower start to the season compared to the last few years.

“Still lots of interest in "vacation" type properties, for sure. I think with interest rates and the general cost of living all being higher, it has slowed our buyers down a bit, but we see fairly regular movement in our lake properties until the end of summer/early fall, even,” she said in an email.

The most popular community in her region is Dauphin Beach, thanks in part to its 18-hole golf course, Ochre Beach, Crescent Grove and Old Town Harbour.

These communities on the southern shores of Dauphin Lake are only about 20 kilometres from Dauphin.

Vacant lakefront lots range from $75,000 to $100,000, she says.

Meantime, vacant inland lots on the Old Town Harbour can run anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000.

If you’re in search of a lakefront, seasonal cabin, those range from $130,000 to $200,000.

Seasonal use, inland cabins will run closer to $85,000 to $175,000.

There are also numerous year-round properties, she says, varying in price according to size and the year it was built. Currently, there are lakefront homes for sale ranging from $200,000 to $450,000.

A sunset on Ochre Beach on Dauphin Lake is pictured on June 2, 2024. (Judy Wolff)

Eastern Beaches

Shanna Karle, owner of Ateah Realty, has specialized in properties on the eastern beaches since she began selling real estate in 2009.

“It's quiet. It's natural. There are tall trees, and you can hear the birds singing. It's peaceful. I love everything about it,” she said.

She says all of the communities she serves are equally in demand.

Cottages in the restricted Victoria Beach area, for example, are popular with families thanks to the many amenities the closed community offers.

Karle says non-lakefront cabins start at around $300,000.

“They can go only up from there,” she said.

“A lot of the ones in there are more of what you'd call a classic cottage, so they were built in the ‘30s and ‘40s.”

A Victoria Beach sunset is pictured in 2019. (Bryan Swaykoski)

Naturally, newer builds will cost more.

Lakefront properties in restricted Victoria Beach rarely come up for sale, she said, and therefore, are more expensive.

“The last one that sold went for about $800,000 last year or the year before, and it was more of a house, a year-round property,” she said.

“When things kind of come up, they get scooped up on the lakefront, so they’ll go for a little higher.”

Unrestricted Victoria Beach properties can be a bit more inexpensive, Karle said, and there is a wider inventory.

Entry-level properties can start at around $200,000, depending on several factors like age, condition and their proximity to the lake.

Grand Beach also has a wider price range.

Lots are generally smaller in Grand Beach Park and Grand Marais, and many are older builds.

Turnkey cottages in this region are priced at around $300,000, while properties that require a bit more TLC can be priced upwards of $100,000.

“There's something out there for everybody, depending on what your ideal cottage experience is and what your budget and skill set are,” she said.

A Grand Beach sunset is pictured on a July day in 2021. (Jessica Bonni)

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