Economic Snapshops - Spring 2017

The building industry in the Township of Muskoka Lakes is important to all of us.  It is collectively the largest employer in the Township.  In order to better appreciate all of the activity in the building industry and what it means to you, we analysed the situation here in our Township.  According to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (2013) the Township of Muskoka Lakes has the largest assessment base and issues the highest building permit value in the District of Muskoka.  That’s more than Gravenhurst, more than Bracebridge, more than Huntsville.  First lets look at the number of building permits issued by the Township over the past 3 years.


  Number of Building Permits Issued (New Builds Only)
  2014 2015 % Change 2016 % Change
Single Family House 29 25 -14% 24 -4%
Cottage 78 75 -4% 71 -5%
Commercial 12 8 -33% 34 325%
Accessory Building 85 92 8% 99 8%
Docks 249 192 -23% 193 1%
Boathouse 78 62 -21% 70 13%
Sewage / Septic 224 190 -15% 234 23%
Total 755 644 -15% 725 13%


Single Family Houses are non-waterfront properties.  The number of house and cottage builds was very consistent from year to year with new cottages being built at a much higher rate (almost 3 times as many) than non-cottage houses.  Thirty-four commercial building permits were issued last year, a big jump over both of the previous years.  This may be a good omen for the local economy.  Businesses only invest in new buildings if they foresee a return on their investment.  Until this spike, our commercial buildings continued to age in place. 

Growth in the commercial sector will mean higher employment, retail, and restaurant sales.  As they say, if you build it, they will come!  As our commercial establishments make themselves more attractive, people tend to buy more locally.  Increased commercial activity leads to a more vibrant economy.  Commercial growth should be encouraged in the Township.

Also impressive are the permit numbers for boathouses, docks and sewage systems.  All of these construction projects mean more jobs, more activity and more people spending money.  Construction jobs are vital as builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. contribute to the local economy by living and spending locally.

This next chart shows the dollar values behind the issued permits. 


  Total Permit Declared Value ($) (New Builds Only)
  2014 2015 % Change 2016 % Change
Single Family House $12,361,514 $8,594,000 -30% $7,940,640 -8%
Cottage 47,273,544 45,404,830 -4% 42,037,250 -7%
Commercial 2,172,225 2,274,440 5% 22,334,087 882%
Accessory Building 7,057,471 5,777,428 -18% 9,063,900 57%
Docks 11,066,440 9,338,401 -16% 10,423,060 12%
Boathouse 12,284,641 11,050,950 -10% 14,162,800 28%
Sewage / Septic 4,042,973 3,634,900 -10% 4,935,520 23%
Total $96,258,808 $86,074,949 -11% $110,987,257 29%


These numbers show us the dollar value of the properties being built.  When the value of permits for renovations and additions to existing structures (not shown) are added to the total for new builds (above), the total value of permits issued by the Township totalled almost $122,000,000 in 2016.  Once again, the Township of Muskoka Lakes led the District of Muskoka as our new build values surpassed those of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville.  That’s a lot of economic activity!  Building permit fees collected by the Township last year totalled $1,547,962. 

This last chart shows the average amount we are spending on our building projects.


  Average (Mean) Value (New Builds Only)
  2014 2015 % Change 2016 % Change
Single Family House $426,259 $343,760 -19% $330,860 -4%
Cottage 606,071 605,398 0% 592,074 -2%
Commercial 181,019 284,305 57% 656,885 131%
Accessory Building 83,029 62,798 -24% 91,555 46%
Docks 44,444 48,638 9% 54,062 11%
Boathouse 157,495 178,241 13% 202,326 14%
Sewage / Septic 18,049 19,131 6% 21,092 10%


From this chart we can see that the average cost of a new house being built in 2016 was about $331,000 versus close to $600,000 for a cottage.  Note: these figures do not include land value.  The average cost of a commercial building was up significantly, which could be a sign of better quality or simply bigger buildings.  Several local summer camps are going through major renovations this year adding greatly to the commercial building totals. 

In summary, the building industry in our Township is active, creates good paying jobs, and seems to be thriving.  That is good news for all of us.

If you would like to print this report, we suggest that you click on the following and print that document -  Economic Snapshots - Spring 2017 Economic Snapshots - Spring 2017


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Dec 15, 2017 9:00am to 12:00pm
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