407 ETR: Another reason to bet on the Kawarthas

Kawartha Region offers beauty, accessibility and strong investment potential thanks to rising property values.

The prettiest patches of fresh water you’ll ever see. The soothing call of the loon. Nothing but relaxation for miles around. Summer vacations in cottage country are the best. But, actually getting to a lakeside retreat can be a different story.

If you’ve ever hit the road on a Friday afternoon during cottage season, you know the misery that is Highway 400. For years, cottage owners craving the luxury lifestyle and social scene of the Muskokas have paid the price of crawling through a bumper-to-bumper procession for hours on end. (For Americans not familiar with the area, Muskoka is the Canadian equivalent of the Hamptons or Cape Cod.)

For many prospective owners looking to purchase a recreational property outside the GTA, the traffic snarls into the Muskokas have become a deal breaker—and one of the reasons why the Kawarthas are now the lakeside destination of choice whether you’re building your cottage dream house or settling into one of the new, luxury retirement homes in the area.

It’s no secret that the relative ease of heading into the Kawarthas has long made the area a better bet. But, now, an expanded road network is set to make the jaunt from the city to the cottage of your dreams — or the drive into the city from your retirement paradise in the Kawarthas — even better. That’s right, mind-numbing standstills are nearly a thing of the past. (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.)

You’ll be going from desk to dock in record time

The Highway 407 project is responsible for the area’s improved accessibility. From downtown Toronto or the west end, soon you’ll be able to hop on the 407 and forget about traffic jams. Even with only the Highway 412 extension linking Highways 401 and 407 currently open, the escape from desk to dock (or back into the city) is already much improved. It’s a painless two-hour jaunt to or from the GTA. The impending connection of Highway 407 to Highway 115/35 (a four-lane highway) that is set to debut in the fall of 2019 will be another boon to the local commute.

(Note: While you can expect tolls on the new network of roads, if you’re located in Pickering and East-of-Toronto, you’ll benefit from lower tolls on the the provincially-owned 412 (and portions of the 407), as compared to the privately-owned 407 Express Toll Route.)

Not surprisingly, there is a clear correlation between the Kawarthas’ improved accessibility and rising property values. During the economic downturn of the last decade, it wasn’t unusual for properties to sit through a season or two. Today, the market is thriving, and the ease of access is just one factor behind the rising interest. Young families and retirees alike are being drawn in from Toronto and surrounding areas by the promise of lower costs of living combined with excellent services and a relaxed lifestyle. Likewise, Americans coming in to take advantage of the strong U.S. dollar and purchase recreational properties are also driving up demand.

And, it’s no wonder why the area is seeing a spike in popularity. Gorgeous scenery, a friendly vibe and an abundance of activities are the ideal trifecta for those searching for a vacation destination or year-round living. While the Kawartha region still maintains the simple feel of small-town life, it has just enough of a big city edge to stay interesting. In growing hotspots like Bobcaygeon, you’ll find shops and restaurants embracing the artisanal movement, along with entertaining options like festivals, fairs and concerts. Of course, opportunity for rural pursuits, like farmers’ markets, boating, fishing and snowmobiling area are always in abundance.

The Kawarthas’ intrinsic allure and improving accessibility make now the time to move—literally and figuratively.

If you’re looking at the Kawarthas as a place to build your next home or cottage, there are two opportunities you should know about:

Encore at Port 32

Thinking about retiring to the Kawarthas? Set on the shores of Pigeon Lake amidst one the Kawartha’s favourite towns — Bobcaygeon, we will be building 33 well appointed and impeccably finished homes in a park-like setting and an established community of happy, welcoming people that make for fast friends. We expect these homes to sell quickly so we advise signing up to get updates.

 

Find out more about Encore

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The Millennial Housing Dilemma, Buy for Fun or Buy for the Future?

You’ve made up your mind, it’s time to buy your first home, but where do you start? Purchasing your first property can be a daunting task. The first step should be a visit to your bank to see what you can realistically afford. You’ve likely been dreaming of your first home for several years, but be realistic, you won’t get everything you want the first time around, don’t be this guy:

Setting your budget will help you narrow your search, but the next big consideration is location. Do you want a skyline view or a backyard?

Let’s take a closer look at Option A: The Downtown Condo

Downtown Toronto may sound appealing, with its array of bars, nightclubs, and trendy shops, but a new condominium in the Entertainment District will run you $500,000 for just 500 square feet. Add in a parking spot at $75,000, a locker at $7,000, two land transfer taxes, and a hefty monthly maintenance fee. You’ll be paying a lot for the “fun” of downtown living and that high-rise view, assuming you can afford the additional $1,000 per floor premium and clear the neighbouring towers. When deciding where and what to buy, you should not only think about your current needs, but your future needs as well.

It won’t be long before you find that tiny condo is a little too crowded, that elevator ride is a little too long, and that spiral underground parking ramp extremely annoying. You’ll find yourself looking for a bigger, hassle-free home. You might think that moving isn’t expensive because you’ll just buy your uncle a case a beer to hall all of your stuff for you, but there are a lot more costs. A Realtor’s commission can cost you over $10,000, you will need a lawyer to review your sales contract, and you may have to pay to break your existing mortgage.

You might not be thinking about starting a family now, but things can change quickly. If you think housing is expensive, take a look at downtown daycare costs. If you survive those years, you might not be able find you’re a school for junior anywhere near your high-rise.

Option B: The Financial Benefits of Being Flexible

A key consideration that will save you a lot of money when buying your first home is flexibility. Perhaps a larger townhouse with a short commute is a better choice. You may not get the gimmicky condo amenities like a golf simulator, a bowling alley, a zen spa, or super high-end appliances, but you don’t really need the first three, and you can always upgrade your countertop, backsplash and refrigerator a couple years down the road. If you have a second child, need to park another car, a townhouse provides you with that level of flexibility.

As we’ve witnessed in 2017, market conditions can change quickly, and right when you want to move-up from your downtown condominium, prices might be down and the market slow. Skip a step, and make an affordable move-up now.

Marshall Homes has launched a brand new community in west Pickering, a collection of family-friendly townhouses from 1,617 square feet to 1,927 square feet. The Altona Towns may cost you more than a tiny condominium in downtown Toronto, but you’ll get two parking spaces, a backyard, three bedrooms and up to four times the space. There is only one land transfer tax in Pickering (you’ll save $8,000 to $10,000 dollars — think of what you can do with that) and you won’t have to shell out for that constantly-rising condo fee.

And importantly, you won’t need to move again next year meaning another round of legal, real estate and moving expenses to add to the tally.

Add it all up and a smart purchase today could end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars.

It’s possible to get more for your money and we can help you with that.

A home at The Altona Towns will not only give you peace of mind by offering a new home warranty, you’ll have the flexibility to grow into it, and you might just have have more fun in Pickering anyway.

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Building a Custom Cottage: 4 Reasons Why New Beats Old

Life is better at the cottage. No one knows this better than folks lucky enough to escape to the Kawartha Lakes. Whether you’re gathering with family and friends for a weekend of fun or escaping for a quiet respite where relaxation is the only thing on your agenda, this idyllic region, with its abundance of lakes and natural beauty, is the ideal getaway.If renting or borrowing a cottage is your usual go-to getaway plan when you head to the Kawarthas, there is one thing guaranteed to make your vacations even better: having a home away from home of your very own. But buying an existing cottage can come with a slew of issues, because, let’s be honest, old cottages come with old problems. That’s the bad news. The good news? You can create your own, new cottage with all of the benefits of a custom build and none of the hassle, stress and expense that typically comes with designing a home from scratch. Really.For more proof that building a new Marshall Homes cottage beats buying a pre-existing cottage every time, check out these the four realities of old vs. new cottages:

1. Older cottages need updating.

It’s true that an aging cottage can possess a certain charm, but even if the architecture appeals to you, old plumbing, electrical and heating systems probably don’t. In addition to the costly job of bringing these older systems up to date, replacing other worn out building features (think: insulation, roofing, and windows) can result in high, out-of-pocket expenses.

Besides the cost, let’s be real, you want to spend time enjoying your cottage, not fixing it. The last thing you want to be worrying about during a weekend getaway is replacing leaky pipes or old wiring. When you build new, you’re guaranteed quality, up-to-date materials; the only thing you’ll have to think about is whether to put up your feet and relax or seek out some family fun.

Besides the cost, let’s be real, you want to spend time enjoying your cottage, not fixing it. The last thing you want to be worrying about during a weekend getaway is replacing leaky pipes or old wiring. When you build new, you’re guaranteed quality, up-to-date materials; the only thing you’ll have to think about is whether to put up your feet and relax or seek out some family fun.

2. Newer cottages are more comfortable.

Because older cottages weren’t constructed with modern, energy efficient building techniques, they (and their inhabitants) are at the mercy of our challenging local climate where temperatures swing drastically from sweltering to freezing. The result? An uncomfortable living environment and sky-high energy bills. Relying on the latest in building innovations, Marshall Homes creates quality-built homes that respond efficiently to local climate challenges, thereby keeping you (and your wallet) comfortable, no matter the temperature.

3. Older cottages can’t be customized the way a new one can.

When you choose a pre-built cottage, it is what it is, unless you’re willing to take on expensive and time-consuming renovations. But when you build with Marshall Homes, you are in control. You’ll have the opportunity to add your own custom touches to one of our modern, livable floor plans up front. Love to cook and have a custom kitchen with specific features and finishes on your wish list? Need a basement to ensure plenty of space for family and friends? Want plenty of windows to usher in natural light and gorgeous views? Check, check and check. At Marshall Homes, we will work with you to create a custom cottage suited to fit your family, lifestyle, and budget without the hassle, stress, and cost of designing from the ground up.

4. Newer cottages can be built at your perfect location.

Whether your happy place is a stone’s throw from the lake’s edge or perched high on a hill overlooking a forest of pines, Marshall Homes can place your custom home there. No more need to compromise between the ideal property and a cottage that fits your family’s needs. When you build a new cottage, you can have your perfect property and your perfect cottage, too.Ready to start building memories? Let us help you create a cottage or home that you’ll be proud to own and share with friends and family for years to come.

 

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