Home Articles Navigating the Best Lakefront Real Estate Markets In The Country

Navigating the Best Lakefront Real Estate Markets In The Country


Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and searching for homes in lakefront real estate markets trying to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of a lake town? You are not only thinking about this idea as lakefront areas have long been the go-to vacation destinations for all Americans in recent years, embodying a timeless essence of the country’s leisure culture.

Lakefront housing markets are now more popular than ever offering a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature. From watching the sunset with loved ones to exploring local natural sights and getting back in your cozy cabin of comfort. But navigating yourself for the best option, your next destination could be a hard choice.  

Let’s immerse ourselves in a thorough discussion on the best “Lakefront Real Estate Market” in the country and find out the top ones so that you can find the perfect spot to call your permanent home or vacation home.

Best Lakefront Real Estate Markets 

Saranac Lake, NY

With an affordable median listing price of $250,190 and rental revenue of $25,294, the Saranac Lake of New York has been at the top of the lakefront real estate market for a long time. It has the highest cap rate (7.56%) among all the lakefront housing markets with an occupancy rate of 63% in 2023 which is also top among others. 

These alluring resorts, which are found in upstate New York and adjacent to a number of lakes, including Lake Placid, have a thriving cultural scene here with year-round activities, events, markets, and festivals, which only serve to strengthen their allure to renters. In the winter, the village is transformed into a well-known ski resort. 

Visitors have full-time access to 15 acres of skiable terrain, and the region is fantastic for snow tubing and snowshoeing.

Branson, MO

Branson Lakes, at the heart of the Ozark Mountains, is a popular vacation spot that attracts people of all ages. It offers various family-friendly activities like theme parks, live entertainment, and a vast shoreline of Table Rock Lake. The median home value in Branson is just over $232,000 with a cap rate of 5.9%, making it an affordable option for first-time investors and retirees. 

Moreover, the area has good rental potential and can fetch almost $20,000 per year. The monthly vacation rental occupancy rate of the housing market is 50% currently and is likely to grow more in the coming days. The current average monthly revenue from short-term rentals in the housing market is $2,573 while the average daily price of a vacation rental in Branson is $189. 

Brainerd Lakes, MN

For individuals looking to invest in a lake house, Brainerd is the ideal location with an occupancy rate of 63% just better than Branson. It has more than 500 lakes and a wide range of water-based activities including swimming, boating, and fishing. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and unwind because of the calm surroundings and beautiful vistas. Additionally, buying a lake house in Brainerd is simple due to its easy access from big towns like Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The cap rate is around 5.5% with a median listing price of $346,33 which is sort of unfavorable for retirees. Still, the investors are more than happy with that in the current inflated market climate. The most amazing thing is that 95% of the rentals in the area are rated above 4.5% which makes them more demanding. 

Traverse City, MI

Traverse City on Lake Michigan, also called the Cherry Capital of the World, currently has a median listing price of $425,165 with a cap rate of 5.5%. The lakefront housing market has been in high demand recently. The surrounding environment of the area by vineyards, wineries, and numerous smaller lakes has made it so much more attractive to movers and guests. 

The area provides excellent opportunities for investors to purchase prime real estate at affordable prices. Families often visit the towns surrounding Silver Lake and Island Lake to enjoy their peaceful surroundings and calm waters. Investors are attracted by its high occupancy rate of 57% and have the potential to bring a rental income of $33,500 yearly. 

Smith Mountain Lake, VA

Smith Mountain Lake in southwestern Virginia is a famous lake that provides over 500 miles of shoreline and abundant water activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. The region has numerous award-winning wineries, and Roanoke, the nearest city, is just a short drive away making it a demanding region with a median home price of $462.772 currently. 

Additionally, the Lake is a promising investment opportunity with high rental demand for vacation rentals during peak season. The current occupancy rate is 52% with a regular vacancy rate of 5.3%. Lake houses here have high occupancy rates during the tourist seasons, with an average daily rate of $340 in and around the area. 

Granbury, TX

Granbury, which is southwest of Fort Worth, has a wonderful lakeside location on the scenic Lake Granbury, one of Texas’ most popular recreational lakes and the best Lakefront real estate market (one of the best in the country). 

Boating, fishing, and other water sports are popular on the lake’s more than 8,000 acres. The average home price in the region is $394,776 and the cap rate is around 5% (Ranked seventh in the whole country according to cap rate)

A well-liked destination for moving should be Granbury’s historic downtown square with its charming stores, eateries, and live music venues. Major Texas cities, such as Dallas and Austin, can readily reach the city due to its strategic location. In addition, Granbury’s rental sector is booming, with 46% of all rentals secured for at least 90 days annually and an average median rental income of $28,305. The occupancy rate is also decent enough, at 52%. 

Powers Lake, WI

With a 451-acre lake view Powers Lake, located in the towns of Randall and Wheatland of Wisconsin state is one of the best Lakefront real estate markets in the country with a current median home value of $331,000. 83% of the homebuyers that have moved to this area or are planning to, prefer staying in the metropolitan area of Powers Lake. 

Even though the average home value has increased over the last year by 18.4%, people from Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, Rockford, Boston, Washington, and many other major city areas are moving in a flock here. It is because of ease of access to daily requirements, the lake’s desirable location, and its natural beauty. More importantly, the rent here is only $20 on average per night. 

Image courtesy: (https://www.redfin.com/city/25532/WI/Powers-Lake/housing-market)

Powers Lake Heights and the surrounding area offer a unique blend of recreational opportunities and a stable real estate market, making it an attractive location for those looking for a peaceful lakefront lifestyle or a vacation property. In the majority of the region’s neighborhoods, you can find dozens of supermarkets as well as hundreds of cafes and restaurants.    

Reasons Why Lakefront Real Estate Markets Are Always In Demand 

It’s no wonder the Lakefront properties are always in high demand and spontaneously getting popular–  there’s no denying that lakes offer a year-round escape from our busy lives, abundant water sports, picturesque vistas, and refreshing breezes, with almost half a million lakes spread throughout the continental US, making it likely that you’ll find a natural or man-made option just a short drive away.

Lakefront real estate market scenario in the country (Single-family properties)

Lakefront real estate market scenario in the country (Condonomium properties)

Both images courtesy: https://www.bythesearealty.com/blog/waterfront-market-watch-january-2023/

They are also popular with investors and developers for their ability to attract more potential buyers compared to other types of real estate markets. Lakefront properties offer higher consistent cash flow both in the long-term and short-term, have a proper value appreciation, are attractive for retirees, offer some resilience to economic downturns and limited supply have made this market strong.

Unlike other types of real estate, the supply of lakefront properties is limited, as the availability of lakefront land is finite. This limited supply can lead to increased demand and higher prices, making it an attractive market for real estate investors and developers. 

No matter what time of the year it is, lakefront real estate markets are always advantageous for guests, both high-end and first-time homebuyers or retirees, and investors. Whether you’re looking for a permanent residence, a vacation home, or an investment opportunity, lakefront properties can offer a range of benefits and opportunities for buyers and investors alike and investment potential that make them always in demand.   

Lakefront properties and vacation rentals on these housing markets can provide a special and appealing experience for visitors as well as a strong return on investment through income and potential property value growth for the investors.

Many of these places are well-liked all-year-round vacation spots, providing activities for travelers in both the summer and the winter. No matter which lakefront real estate market you choose to invest in– consider purchasing near mountains or a ski resort, not only just near or close to a lake shore if you want to guarantee a steady income all year round.