Posted in: Lakeshore, Buying a home

Dreaming of a lakeshore home? You’re not alone.

sunrise calm lake

Key insights

  • Lake homes across Minnesota and western Wisconsin are showing upward trends in pricing and fewer days on market before closing.
  • Waterfront home buyers won’t face super-stiff competition in most markets, but that doesn’t mean they should underbid on lake homes and cabins.
  • Lake home buyers may want to connect early with a waterfront property specialist who can help them buy in time to enjoy the short-but-sweet Midwestern summer.

How hot is the lakeshore market?

You may be wondering if winter will ever end, but if you’re considering buying a lakeshore home before summer begins in earnest, you may be facing some competition. While the lakeshore market doesn’t have the same inventory shortage we are seeing in the lower- to mid-tiered housing market, waterfront home prices are rising and the lake home market is still competitive across most areas of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Two key indications of this are stats showing the:

  • Falling number of “days on market,” or how long waterfront homes are taking to sell.
  • Rising median home prices of waterfront homes across key lakeshore regions in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

While not every lakeshore market is showing this exact pattern, several of the larger markets are. Here are a few examples:

City or market

Days on market (DOM)

DOM change from 2017

Median home price

Median home price change from 2017

City of Brainerd, MN

107 days




City of Spooner, WI

93 days




City of Hayward, WI

171 days




City of St. Croix Falls, WI

58 days




13-county Twin Cities area

47 days




Based on information from the REGIONAL MUTLIPLE LISTING SERVICE OF MINNESOTA, INC. for single-family waterfront homes in April 2018 and April 2017.

What do these stats mean for me?

In general, stats are showing that Minnesota and western Wisconsin waterfront buyers may have to move quicker than usual — especially if they are looking at lake homes closer to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro, which are selling in under two months. Outstate buyers have a bit more time to make their decision; stats show that lake homes in northern Minnesota and western Wisconsin are selling (on average) in three to six months.

As for pricing, lake home buyers shouldn’t underbid by too much, if at all. Waterfront sellers seem to be pricing homes fairly for the market; most lakeshore buyers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin are paying more than 94 percent of the original list price of a home.

Based on information from the REGIONAL MUTLIPLE LISTING SERVICE OF MINNESOTA, INC. for single-family waterfront homes in key lakeshore markets, April 2018 and April 2017.

When is the best time to buy a lakeshore home?

Your decision to buy a waterfront home shouldn’t simply be determined by the local market stats. You’ll also want to consider your own personal finances and possibly secure a home loan from a mortgage lender in order to buy your dream home on the water.

However, if you’re hoping to buy a lake home this year, then you don’t want to wait too long before you start your search. Our Midwestern summers are all-too-short already, and by purchasing earlier in the spring, you can take advantage of time on the water before fall arrives. (We won’t talk about what happens after fall ends.)

Start searching lakeshore homes in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Ready to speak with an agent about buying a waterfront home?

Whether you’re hoping for a small weekend retreat or a luxury lakefront property where you can entertain friends and family year-round, we have an agent who can help.

Reach out now to get matched up with a lakeshore expert in your desired area.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings