The beautiful Haliburton Highlands, one of the highest points on the Canadian Shield, boasts more than 600 lakes and rivers. It offers great hiking, boating, canoeing and even horseback riding. Bordering on Algonquin Park to the north and the Muskoka region to the west, this area contains the village of Minden as well as the smaller communities of Gooderham and Irondale. “Most people buying a recreational property in this area are looking to use their cottage extensively on weekends,” says Anthony vanLieshout, a broker with Royal LePage/Lakes of Haliburton.
The area is a top choice for Toronto cottage seekers, which may explain why prices are up about 5% over last spring. Some of the larger lakes, like Balsam Lake, Little Cameron Lake and Sturgeon Lake, are prohibitively expensive, with luxury waterfront cottages ranging from $500,000 to $2.2 million. To find the bargains, concentrate your search on the dozens of smaller lakes, such as Raven, Fairy, Red Pine, Kushog, Kennisis, Trooper and Little Hawk. (For instance, a small, three-bedroom waterfront cottage on Trooper Lake was recently listed for $217,000.) “There are some good deals out there,” says Ken Hale Sr., a real estate agent with Sutton Group Future Realty. “Just stay away from the big three lakes.”