Buying Oakville waterfront property? Here’s what you need to know

Waterfront property in Oakville, particularly the town’s south-east, is something that many dream of and few call their own. To better understand the need-to-knows and nice-to-haves for Oakville waterfront buyers, we sat down with waterfront real estate experts and Oakville specialists Cindy Avis and Alex Irish of RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty. Here’s what we learned.

“What’s so special about the Oakville waterfront?”

Alex: Go out your back door and it’s like you’re in Muskoka. Go out your front door and you’re steps from great restaurants, shops, theatre and services. You can live in both worlds from one location—and you can’t easily find that anywhere else.

Cindy: Oakville has no huge developments on the waterfront, which is pretty special. We’re so lucky in Oakville because of the way the waterfront is oriented, we get both sunrises and sunsets.

“Who is buying Oakville waterfront property?”

Alex: Local buyers understand how unique and exclusive it is to live on the water in Oakville and have dreamed of having a waterfront property. We also have wise international investors who understand the rarity of owning Oakville waterfront.

“Tell us more about the investment side of Oakville waterfront property.”

Alex: Investors know Oakville waterfront is an excellent long-term holding because of its limited supply. Limited supply ensures there’s always demand. It’s a safe haven for an investor looking for security and longevity. Oakville waterfront property is always marketable and always saleable. Even when the rest of the real estate market is a bit soft, Oakville waterfront holds its value—in a softer market more people think they’ll be able to afford a waterfront home and that demand pushes the prices right back up.

“What does it cost to buy waterfront in Oakville?”

Alex: Getting into waterfront property in south-east Oakville usually starts around $4 million. There are some exceptions in the $3s, and you can maybe get a building lot between $3 and $4 million. DiCenzo Homes’ The Gardens of Edgemere project is the only opportunity to get waterfront property in south-east Oakville below $3 million.

“What’s the difference between riparian and non-riparian rights?”

Cindy: Riparian rights means you own to the water’s edge. Non-riparian means it’s town-owned property at the water’s edge. The town has reserved the right-of-way, owns the seawall, the paths and parkland. Some people prefer non-riparian because they have no financial obligations or risks, only the benefits of living on the water. Maintaining a seawall can be very expensive.

“What questions should Oakville waterfront home buyers ask their real estate agent?”

Cindy: Your agent should know whether the property has riparian or non-riparian rights and should confirm it on a survey. Are you on the south-east waterfront? That’s more expensive than the south-west waterfront, although that’s starting to change.

Alex: I’d add: Can you build on the property? What can you build? Can you put in a pool? Are there conservation rules? These are things people need to ask about when they buy waterfront.

“What are some things to look for in a waterfront home?”

Cindy: Definitely the views. How many rooms can you see the waterfront from and how clear are the views? Also think about exposure—all of Oakville is southern exposure to the water, but you could be turned more to the east or west. There’s nothing wrong with either, it’s just personal preference.

“What is the Oakville waterfront’s best-kept secret?”

Cindy: I live on the water myself and I can walk almost the whole way downtown along the waterfront and enjoy a leisurely dinner—with a bottle of wine—and walk back home.

Alex: It’s the ever-changing view. Some days it’s like glass with swans and sailboats and kayakers and other days it’s stunning waves with white peaks. Your view is always different. It’s like changing the artwork daily.

“How would you describe south-east Oakville?”

Alex: It’s a little like a storybook. There are luxurious homes, great shops and restaurants but it’s still very family-oriented and comfortable. Everything’s a stone’s throw away and you’ll always run into someone you know. It’s got a small town feel but it’s also upbeat and progressive. It’s rare to get both, and south-east Oakville does.

“What gets you excited about The Gardens of Edgemere?”

Cindy: People will be lucky to get in there. You’ll have your own waterfront townhome with panoramic views from all sides plus access to 11 acres of walking trails and restored heritage buildings on the property. We walked it the other day. There’s a grotto, a tea house, a rose garden, a greenhouse plus conservatory and more. So you’ve got both waterfront and gardens.

Alex: There’s nothing else in south-east Oakville like it. There’s very little waterfront development and very few townhome options in south-east Oakville period. And I’m going to say there’s almost nothing at this price point. It will be wonderful upscale living with an understated tone.

“What’s it like to work with DiCenzo Homes?”

Cindy: Anthony is a well-regarded builder here in Oakville with many successful projects. His attention to detail is just, oh my gosh, incredible. He’s a gentlemen and an extremely smart man. This isn’t a tiler who decided he wanted to be a builder yesterday. This is an experienced company.

Alex: Anthony has an excellent reputation in the community and it’s our first opportunity to work hand-in-hand with him. He does an incredible amount of legwork, preparation, creative process, strategizing—more than any other developer we’ve worked with. We’ve spent months listening to input and getting together a project people will love.