Cottage country faced a crunch like almost every other sector during the recession. Still, there are pockets where real-estate investors can expect a return -- like the Land O'Lakes region near Napanee.

Gord Carswell is in the market for a cottage, ready to make an investment.

"It's a great place to relax, take the kids, spend time with family," he says, noting he's watched prices rise "unbelievably" in the past few years.

Even though other areas have seen a 50 per cent drop in sales, broker Chris Winney says he's had some banner years.

"We have had the best two years in the last two years," he says. "I anticipate things will be good this year, mainly because people will be anxious to sell or buy before the (Harmonized Sales Tax) comes in."

Down-payment rule applies

This sets the stage for a potential investment property. If you buy a cottage and rent it out, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. considers it a rental property. That means the new 20 per cent down payment rule will apply.

On a $300,000 property, that will run you a $60,000 deposit. Not that it's stopping people from buying, says Winney.

"A lot of people are using their lines of credit because they have equity in their home, or they're borrowing from parents or they saved up."

Not so for Bill Colbert, who says he'd love a cottage but doesn't feel it is the right time for him right now.

"It's a little unstable right now with the interest rates, and . . . I don't like to leverage that much," he says.

Counters Winney, "If you can add it to your portfolio, it's another investment that will pay back."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman