A new report from Lake Homes Realty in Hoover, Alabama, reveals that the market for lake homes and lots has seen a significant increase, with listings totaling $5.9 billion since February of this year. The report, titled the Summer 2023 Lake Real Estate Market Report, highlights the growing popularity of lake properties, with nearly 74,000 currently for sale in 34 states across the nation. The $39.781 billion inventory represents a substantial increase of $5.9 billion since the end of February.
The report further indicates that the average listing price for homes and lots combined has risen to $538,131, compared to $479,586 in the spring. The data for the report was compiled from 126 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) areas, covering all 34 states analyzed. Out of these states, all experienced increased listings, with the exception of Massachusetts and Montana.
One of the most surprising findings of the report is that Texas has taken the lead in lakefront property listings, surpassing popular states like Florida. With almost 14,699 unique waterfront listings, Texas boasts nearly 6,000 more listings than Florida. Tennessee follows closely behind with 5,906 listings. North Carolina and Georgia complete the top five states with over 4,000 listings each. Other notable locations with just over 3,200 listings include Minnesota, Alabama, Michigan, Washington, and Missouri.
Commenting on the report, Glenn S. Phillips, CEO and chief economic analyst at Lake Homes Realty, explains that the market is still recovering from historically low levels of lake homes for sale in 2021 and 2022. He notes that the selection of appropriately priced lake homes still needs improvement, making it a seller’s market for lake real estate.
Phillips expresses surprise at Texas taking the number-one spot for lake properties, highlighting that the state is often associated with dry, dusty landscapes and cattle ranches. However, Texas boasts thousands of lakes throughout its territory, making it an attractive destination for lakefront properties. Phillips describes the Texas lake real estate market as “red hot,” noting that 1,344 homes are listed for over $1 million.
The report also delves into the demographics and preferences of lake property buyers. It reveals that 45% of those searching for Texas lake property are between the ages of 45 and 64, with 62% of them conducting their searches on smartphones. The majority of searches for lake homes and lots are made by males, and potential buyers originate from cities like Chicago, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.
While Florida is known for its numerous lakes, Phillips points out that some of them are not suitable for swimming due to the presence of alligators. Nevertheless, people are drawn to the beauty of a lake on their property, leading to demand for lakefront homes.
The report also includes a list of the most expensive areas for lake real estate. Florida’s Lake Butler tops the list, with an average price of $3.9 million for a lake home. Lake Down in Florida follows closely behind at $3.7 million, with Heron Lagoon at $3.4 million. Montana’s Flathead Lake properties typically have an average price of $3.8 million, while Lake Washington in Washington state sees prices around $3.4 million.
However, the report notes that southern states like Tennessee and Florida tend to offer more affordable lake property listings. Many buyers are looking for their dream homes by the lake but still want to be in proximity to major cities. Retirees often have the means to offer cash for these properties, as do second-home buyers from the Northeast or California. These buyers are not as concerned about mortgage interest rates, making cash deals preferable.
Nicole Anderson, a broker associate with The Anderson Team at Ramsey Realty Group in Lake Cypress Springs, Texas, explains that Texas topping the nation’s lead in waterfront listings is not surprising. With its extensive lake offerings and proximity to major cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas is an attractive destination for second-home buyers. Lake Cypress Springs, for example, covers 3,500 acres and has around 1,200 homes on the lake. It offers recreational activities like swimming, water sports, and fishing, making it a popular weekend escape.
Despite the popularity of lakefront properties in Texas, some areas still offer more affordable options. Lake Cypress Springs, for instance, has an average price of $1.6 million for a single-family home. However, prices have increased significantly due to low inventory levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also highlights other popular lake destinations. Lake Michigan in Illinois leads the list with 1,209 home listings, followed by Lewisville Lake in Texas. Washington’s Puget Sound, Lake Norman in North Carolina, and the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri round out the top five in terms of current home listings.
Matt Schrimpf of Berkshire Hathaway’s Lake Ozark Realty in Missouri emphasizes the appeal of Lake Ozark as a vacation destination. Buyers from cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Omaha, Des Moines, and other surrounding areas are drawn to the area, with some referring to it as “the Hamptons of the Midwest.” While smaller, more affordable homes are available, the average single-family home there is listed at $600,000, with prices reaching over $6 million.
The report concludes by predicting that the transaction count for lake properties in 2023 is expected to surpass 2022 by 10-15%, thanks to the increasing inventory of lake properties across the country. As buyers become more informed about their options, the demand for lake homes is likely to continue growing.