Recently, Lin and I were contacted by Martin Sinderman of the Atlanta Business Chronicle for information about the Lake Oconee real estate market. We feel honored to be selected to have input for the story he is writing for the October 25th Home Quarterly section of the publication!
As we answered his questions, we felt that this was also information that our friends and clients would also like to know. He was focusing on vacation/second homes, but we also wanted to let him know that we have many clients that are buying primary homes here at Lake Oconee. We want to share a little of the information with you.
Question: It was reported that the vacation/ second home market took a big hit during the downturn, but has come back with a vengeance.
Is it true at Lake Oconee?
Response: We are up from 2012. All agents have seen an upward swing in the market and it is at it's highest since 2007.
Question: Who is the buyer in today's vacation/second home market? Why are they buying - for long term use, retirement or something else?
What are they wanting to buy?
Response: The buyers in this market are mostly baby boomers looking to retire here. They are mostly from Atlanta and their last child will be graduating high school in the next year or two and the parents are looking to the next phase of their life. They are thinking living at the lake offers easy living and beautiful sunsets and living within 1 1/2 from a major airport allows them to visit their kids where ever they be.
Lake Oconee use to be a second home lake with more than 50% of homes being second homes but with the new St Mary's Hospital and Charter schools, No Traffic like Atlanta and thanks to the internet (some people can now work from their homes) we are quickly becoming more of a full time resident destinations.
Question: On the property side-- What's out there on the market? What's hot? Are there bargains out there, or are they
all gone? What about pricing?
Response: Many of the sales have been ON THE LAKE. Golf homes and golf lots have really "taken a beating", which means it
is a good time to buy. I have seen an increase in lakefront lots and home sales on the lake, ranging from $350,000 to 3.6 million!
I would say the properties I am seeing selling more for me are the $550,000-$750,000 range. The inventory in the million range have done quite well, mostly in gated golf communities on the water.
There are some great properties on the market now, although supply is limited, that are lake access or lake community homes. It is a great time to purchase a "building lot" in several of the gated or golf communities.
Question: What's the price of entry into the luxury vacation/second home market -- and what can buyers expect for their money?
Response: At $300-500,00 range you will get on the lake but have to choose from location, water depth, view or fixer upper
$500,000 buys you a very nice home on the golf course / lake access or a 3-4 bedroom lakefront home
At $650-a million you can get a pretty good lake home with little fixing up and great water view and more of a full time home.
1.3 million -1.5 million buys you in the gated golf communities a really nice home with all the bells and whistles (The inventory here has really sold this year to the baby boomers retiring in this price range.)
1.8 million and up- buys you a WOW home! A Home on the lake with a swimming pool, gourmet kitchens, heart pine floors with beams and wine cellar and movie theatre rooms.)
There are also some great values on condos both lakefront and lake access in the area. These offer the amenities without all the extra work!
People love Lake Oconee because we do not have boat traffic like Lake Lanier. Also we are a Georgia Power lake, so our water levels do not fluctuate like the Core of Engineer lakes such as Lake Hartwelll, Lanier and Altoona.
Lin and I both worked for Delta Airlines and after traveling for 17 years we decided to buy a second home at Lake Oconee. We are very active people. We love to play tennis golf swim boat and fish. Lake Oconee offers us all of that and we are surrounded by 4 cities within an hour away. Augusta, Macon, Atlanta and Athens! We decided to retire here 15 years ago because of all the activities. We have seen the sides of Lake Oconee Parkway change and commercial come. The people are always nice and friendly and the lake seems
to change people, make them more relaxed,. I hear this all the time from my clients that buy.... I get off I-20 at exit 130 and ALL THE STRESS I HAVE BEEN CARRYING FROM THE WEEK SEEM TO GO AWAY!!!
Most of my "second home" folks end up calling me in a few years to sell their "second home" and buy a primary home here, because they want to make Lake Oconee their "Fulltime" home!