We talk to some local experts about what makes people want to live and cottage here.
Stacey Harron moved to Lac du Bonnet in 2006 to work as a graphic designer for a local newspaper. Her dream was to sell real estate in one of the province’s most beautiful regions, a dream she soon realized when she was hired by an area real estate firm. Her mom Nancy was a realtor in Steinbach, which is what got her interested.
“Lac du Bonnet has a very diverse real estate market. You’ll find something for everyone in all budgets from the $15,000 vacant lots to the million-dollar waterfront homes. Many subdivisions also have private amenities such as beaches, boat launches and marinas,” she says.
“Over the years the local government has done a great job documenting and placing signage at the public areas and boat launches. Visitors can come to the area and experience Lac du Bonnet with a great deal of ease.”
Lac du Bonnet becomes a cottaging mecca in the summer months, when its population swells from around 4,000 into the tens of thousands. Overall, 2016 was a great year for the Lac du Bonnet real estate market, Harron says, with a 10 per cent increase in sales from the previous year. Prices remain steady while still affordable in many of the submarkets, she says.
According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), in 2016 there were 144 recorded sales in the Lac du Bonnet area (R28). That’s the highest number of recorded sales in the past four years. The lowest price was $12,000 and highest at $674,900, according to the stats.
“I’m often asked the question, ‘How is the real estate market?’ This is a very complex question. For example, waterfront properties $350,000 and under sell very well, retain value and are very desirable. On the flip side, a vacant back lot can take longer to sell and may not gain in value as quickly,” Harron says.
John Angus can speak to the waterfront property market in Lac du Bonnet — his specialty. The former Winnipeg city councillor and Manitoba MLA has a storied history in the real estate business.
“Back in the early 1970s I was doing workshops and public speaking engagements throughout Western Canada. I worked with chambers of commerce, community colleges, boards of trade, and various corporations giving seminars on sales skills and interpersonal communication. I was only busy for six months of the year, so I decided to take a real estate course,” he says.
“When I went to get my licence, the registrar at the time told me that I had to work with a broker and I had to be full time. I told him that was impossible because of my lecture circuit engagements. He suggested that I become a broker, as they did not have the same restrictions, and so I did.”
Upon being elected as a Winnipeg city councillor in the 1970s, he put his real estate career on hold, but revived it upon his retirement. He’s become quite the authority on the Lac du Bonnet waterfront real estate scene.
“There are three categories of buyers — retirees, children of current cottage owners, and investors. One of the reasons people love this area is its proximity to their home in Winnipeg. We are about 90 minutes to Winnipeg, and do not have to fight the weekend traffic that people do going to the Whiteshell or Kenora,” he says.
“We attract a lot of people from Steinbach as well as Selkirk and Lockport. Generally, the LdB area is very affordable, which is a huge attraction to people. And, finally, there’s the amenities — fishing, hiking, annual events, and the thriving town of Lac du Bonnet are attractive.”