How to pull off your dream of owning a cottage

It's here: the first long weekend of summer.

If you're lucky enough, you might be heading to a cottage. Maybe you scored a coveted invitation to a friend's place or you've rented a cottage for the weekend.

Todd C. Slater, real estate expert and host of NEWSTALK 1010's Simply Real Estate says there are still plenty of people looking to buy a cottage. He expects the cottage market to grow by 10% this year after 20% growth in 2017.

Slater says Muskoka and the Kawarthas remain Ontario's hottest cottage markets, though there is some price discrepancy between them.

The average cost of a cottage in Muskoka is between $1.2 million and $1.6 million, while in the Kawarthas the range is more like $500,000 to $800,000.

Slater swears there are still reasonably affordable retreats to be found in the Kawarthas, around Georgian Bay and in up-and-coming markets around Lake Erie and Lake Huron.

But the dream of running out the door and cannonballing off your dock could cost you big.

Slater says you could pay as much as much as half a million dollars to be lakefront.

"If you don't have to water frontage, if you're just one street back but you have access to the beach or access to the water, you can get something very affordable in a lot of very popular areas."

But with the average cost of a home in the Greater Toronto Area at about $805,000 in April, who can afford a second address?

Slater says a lot of baby boomers are taking a staged approach to retirement.

"(They) sell their properties that they had in the GTA, they downsize to more of a condominium and they take the money and take it up into the cottage properties and buy something in the range of 2,500 to 5,000 square feet. It really becomes their primary residence."

Slater says for these buyers it's important to have space to invite their grown children and be active with their grandchildren.