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Posted in: Lakeshore homes, Buying a home, Market insights

Why this year's lakefront market will be hot for buyers

Hot lakeshore market

As the nation adjusts to life after the downturn, some luxuries are becoming realities again. In the housing market, vacation homes saw a massive surge in sales, rising 57 percent in 2014 over the year before. This stat, from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), came from a bigger survey of vacation and investment home buyers.

NAR’s survey also showed that vacation homes accounted for 21 percent of total home sale transactions in 2014, which is the largest share recorded since it was first conducted in 2003.

But what does that mean for our local market? For starters, our “vacation home” market is largely relegated to lakeshore homes across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, so we’re predicting that the waterfront home market will continue to see an upswing. For local buyers, this could mean an increase in competition, as their neighbors enter the vacation home market, too.

Below, we remind buyers what they can expect as they enter the lakeshore home buying market.

Knowing what price to expect

Waterfront homes are traditionally more expensive than non-waterfront homes, but today’s pent up demand may widen the gap. Buyers who are searching Brainerd lake homes, for example, will find that the median sale price is $280,000 for a property with a private waterfront. If that’s higher than your budget, you could consider a home with lake access, which means that you can still launch your boat from a public access, but you won’t have a private waterfront lot. In Brainerd, buying a lake access home lowers the median price to $167,500, which may be more in line with what you can spend (Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, MAAR).

The good news about these prices? They are still far below what we saw prior to the economic downturn and will continue to appreciate with continued market improvement.

Be ready to buy

With the rise in demand for lake homes, we anticipate that buyers may scoop up high-quality listings that come on the market within the next few months, so they can enjoy a full summer “Up North” or due west, in Wisconsin.

If you’re looking to buy a lake house or cabin in Minnesota or western Wisconsin—and be all moved in by the fourth of July—we advise you to work with one of our local lakeshore experts to determine your desired location, budget and home type upfront. Then, whether you’re in the market for an Alexandria lakeshore home or a Spooner, Wis. lake cabin, you’ll be ready to move when the right property is listed. Reach out today to be put in touch with a waterfront specialist who services the area where you’d like to buy.

Lake home or cabin?

There’s a big difference between the price of a modest lake home and a waterfront luxury home with accommodations for your entire extended family. Test out some online searches to see what kind of property looks right for you, and is in your budget.

You can also work with your Realtor to determine where the big rise in prices occurs for your local market. For example, private three-bedroom lakefront homes in Crow Wing County have a median home price of $290,000. But when you increase to four bedrooms or more, the median price jumps to $420,000 (MAAR). That makes sense when you think of some of the really large estates you see along the Whitefish chain of lakes. But our market offers an array of choices, from properties on lakes large, small and in between, and in different price points. It’s all about knowing your needs and doing your research until you find the right home in the right place.

Ready to begin your search?

It may be a busy season for lakefront home buyers, but we are here to help!

Edina Realty has the best lakeshore home search in the market, and we have lakefront home specialists in every market across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Begin your lake home search here, or contact us to be put in touch with a local agent.

Plus, keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook, where we’re sharing exclusive #BuyerInsights.

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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.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings