Available properties “drying up”
There is only one property per four miles of shoreline. That is how many waterfront homes and condos were for sale at the beginning of January 2017. Lake Martin has 880 miles of shoreline, and there were only 189 “for sale” properties on the market. The number of available lake homes and condos are literally few and far between.
To put that into perspective, there were 362 properties for sale at this same time in 2011—nearly 200 more properties than today. We have the lowest inventory levels that we have seen in many years. For some price points and property types, we have the lowest inventory levels seen since 2004.
While inventory levels are lower than those in 2011, the number of sales has dramatically increased from 193 in 1993 to 306 in 2016. Given current inventory levels, that means we will sell out by mid-June unless new listings come onto the market. Not to worry, we expect listings to increase with temperatures, but each year, the number of new listings shrinks as well. In fact, inventory of quality property was a problem for all of 2016.
Early Bird Effect
In 1678, John Ray first coined the phrase, “The early bird catches the worm.” Given the current inventory levels and the number of buyers in an improving economy, this phrase has meaning for anyone interested in owning a Lake Martin property. Our advice is to start looking early and stay informed on the newest listings. It WILL NOT PAY to wait this year.
We have already noted that a number of people have started to scratch around here and there to get a feel for available properties. For some, they might be able to find the perfect fit. For others, they will either have to wait for new additions to the market or purchase a lot and start the building process in order to be on the lake in 2018.
We believe that, given the lower inventory levels, property values will continue to increase this year and for the foreseeable future. While interest rate increases are on the horizon, they are not likely to increase enough to make a significant impact on values (a 1% increase will add $59.00 in monthly payments to a $100,000 loan). In fact, what we are noticing is mortgages are easier to obtain today than they have been in the recent past, which will allow more buyers to enter the market.
We also have noted an increase in the sales pace and sales price for building lots. The sales seem to be weighted more heavily towards the construction of custom lake homes, but a number of new speculative homes are coming out of the ground as well. Overall, the number of construction projects on the lake is large and likely to increase this summer.
We advise you to stay in touch with your real estate professional. For information on the newest properties in a Russell Lands neighborhood, just reach out to one of our Sales Executives at 256.215.7011, or follow us online by going to our website.