A mild winter and lack of snow in parts of Ontario seems to have had a positive effect on vacation property sales, real estate agents say.
With the exception of this weekend, there's virtually no snow in the Greater Toronto Area and that appears to have people thinking about summer and a getaway north of the city.
Huntsville real estate agent Susan Brown said she's sold four cottages in the last two months at a time when many in her industry are heading south to Florida to escape the cold and slow times.
"I've been busier now than I have been in 22 years in the winter," she told CTV News Saturday. "Usually, it's very quiet."
Even in cottage country this year the snow is below normal, meaning easier access to listed properties.
Rural roads that are typically covered in snow are passable and that appears to be attracting buyers to market earlier than usual, Brown said.
"I was showing a young couple a few weeks ago, and normally we would have to have snowshoes on . . . we would have been up to our hips in snow without them, and we just walked in (this year)," she said.
The warm weather is also encouraging sellers to list their cottages earlier this year, Brown said.
"I think there's a pent-up demand for both buyers and sellers to look at property and maybe list their property. They've been holding off since the peak of the market in 2007," she said.
A large parcel of land with a private lake near Huntsville recently sold to an investor for $5.4 million, even with the global economy still in turmoil, a factor that has slowed the cottage market since 2008.
But there are more affordable properties on the market like a four-season cottage on the Long and Miskwabi lake system in Haliburton with deeded lake access listed at $224,000.
The news isn't all rosy, however, cottage sales in the Peterborough area are reported to be down slightly from last year in January, but residential home sales are up, according to data released by the Peterborough and Kawarthas Association of Realtors.