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Home prices on NC lakes are up. Here's where they've soared, and what's 'affordable.'

News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. logoNews & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. 9/7/2018 Craig Jarvis

RALEIGH - If you want a lakeside home in North Carolina, you have more than 7,000 options across the state and - word of warning - the prices keep going up.

North Carolina's lake real estate market grew from $2.3 billion last summer to $2.78 billion this summer, an increase of almost 20 percent, according to an analysis by LakeHomes.com. North Carolina has the second largest overall market among the 14 states the company surveys.

Houses accounted for $2.2 billion of that figure, an increase of nearly 18 percent, while the total land for sale was $558.5 million.

That $2.2 billion accounts for 7,107 homes listed for sale from Lake Toxaway in Transylvania County in the mountains to Roanoke Rapids Lake in Halifax County in the northeast.

And Wake County?

"The Triangle area is a significant part of North Carolina's overall lake market," said Brian Cauble, director of market engagement for the firm.

He noted that Falls and Jordan lakes as well as Lake Gaston, about an hour's drive away, comprise almost 20 percent of North Carolina's total lake real estate market.

The price of a home close to a lake in the Triangle ranges from an average of $1.13 million at Falls Lake - an increase of 25 percent from last summer - to $674,900 at Jordan Lake.

Pushing prices up

Low inventory is to blame for the increase in prices.

"A tightening of inventory can often lead to increased asking prices, as seen with Falls Lake in the last year," Charmella Williams, a spokeswoman for the company, said Wednesday, pointing out that 14 listings around Falls Lake came off the market.

Home price averages at Jordan Lake are stable now, despite an increase in inventory of more than 22 percent, but that should change, she said.

"Jordan's market has surged in the last year simply due to more available inventory in new construction and existing homes for sale."

Housing construction along both shorelines is restricted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which created the lakes for drinking water supplies. That protected shoreline plays into the higher prices at both lakes because it limits what can be bought or sold.

What's lakeside living?

The real estate survey has a broad definition of lakeside living: any home or property next to a recognized inland body of water, that has a view of one of those lakes, has designated access to a lake or is in a community that calls itself "lake-focused."

That's why the survey includes houses that are miles from a lake, whether it's Wakefield Estates in Wake Forest, the Governor's Club in Chapel Hill or the Amberly subdivision in Cary.

Lake Homes Realty dug farther into its data for The News & Observer and found:

- Lake Norman is the largest lake real estate market in the state, according to the report, with a market value (the value of home and land) of $841,560,781). Nationally, it is the No. 2 market, dwarfed only by Lake Michigan.

- Jordan Lake is North Carolina's second-biggest market in terms of land and home values with a value of $291.7 million, up more than 14 percent. Lake Gaston is No. 4 and Fall Lake comes in at No. 6.

-When you look only at home values in the state, Jordan Lake is still No. 2 behind Lake Norman, but Falls Lake is No. 5, with its home market value rising 4 percent to $79.5 million.

- Falls Lake has North Carolina's most expensive average home price (the $1.13 million) among the 14 states measured.

- A listing in Wakefield Estates, near Falls Lake, that goes for $1.1 million includes a private elevator and a theater in 5,775 square feet and a four-car garage.

- Looking for the most affordable lakeside home? That would be Lake Mackintosh park and marina in Alamance County, with an average price of $215,173. The man-made, 1,500-acre lake provides drinking water for Burlington.

NC lakes with the most expensive average home prices

1. Falls Lake

2. Lake Toxaway

3. MacGregor Downs

4. Lake Norman

5. Bear Creek Lake

6. Lake Wylie

7. Beaver Lake

8. Lake James

9. Enka Lake

10. Lake Lure

NC lakes with the most affordable home prices

1. Lake Mackintosh

2. Lake Royale

3. Oak Hollow Lake

4. Lake Junaluska

5. Kerr Lake Reservoir

6. Roanoke Rapids Lake

7. Atagahi Lake

8. Ticoa Lake

9. Lake Townsend

10. High Rock Lake

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ—NandO

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