NEWS TRENDS MAKING WAVES AT LAKE MARTIN
By Melissa Johnson Warnke : AL Metro 360
The selling season is in full swing on Lake Martin, where convenience, amenities, and affordability
are swaying new buyers to purchase their long-awaited vacation homes.
The real estate market along Alabama’s Lake Martin is hot, quite literally. The warm weather beckons buyers to ramp up their search, making late spring through summer peak season for buying and selling waterfront properties.
Sonja Langham and her husband, Charles, are among the potential buyers on the search for their first lake home. Aside from the picturesque views of Lake Martin, their checklist also includes a turn-key home, since they don’t consider themselves fixer-uppers. They also want a location that gives them a sense of community.
“We don’t want to feel isolated,” added Langham.
That neighborhood appeal has become a big selling point for buyers around Lake Martin. Developments that offer opportunities for connection, as well as amenities to complement lake living, have become especially attractive with buyers.
The trend is contributing to the popularity of newer communities like The Village at Lake Martin. Realtor team Windy Carter and Mindy O’Brien of Three Sixty Resort Living market several lake properties, including those at The Village. They say most of their clients are ages 40 and up, and time is limited.
“I always tell people it’s like condo living, except you have your own house,” said Carter. “The Village offers a community pool, fitness center, a private boat dock as well as lawn maintenance. When our potential buyers hear that their yard and landscaping is taken care of, that is huge for them.”
Resting on nearly 200 acres on the shores of Lake Martin, The Village has a wide range of options and prices – from bungalows and cottages to large luxury homes.
Priced from the low $220,000s to more than $700,000, the community is designed by one architect and builder and boasts nearly 3,000 feet of remaining shoreline.
Resting on nearly 200 acres on the shores of Lake Martin, The Village has a wide range of options and prices —
from bungalows and cottages to large luxury homes.
While Lake Martin is known for having the largest concentration of luxury homes in Alabama, realtors like Carter and O’Brien say they’re seeing more families choose smaller homes to avoid some of the hassles of property ownership.
The Village at Kowaliga Bay, another community Carter and O’Brien market, is a development of tiny homes. With a starting price of $168,000, these homes have a small footprint but still have water access and maintained amenities like lawn care, common docks, a boat ramp, boat storage, a pool house with restrooms and a kitchen, as well as a workout facility. The design trend is taking hold in communities throughout the area, especially outdoor enthusiasts and younger buyers whose budgets are smaller.
“The advantage of buying here is having a lake home at an affordable price. These homes are also rentable, making it even easier to afford,” added Carter.
LONG-TERM LAKE INVESTMENT
Carter and O’Brien have been selling homes on and around the lake for five and three years respectively. Both feel that the market is as strong as they’ve ever seen it.
The two are always hesitant to discuss return on investment with buyers since the market can shift quickly. However, they say most of their clients have made money on their investments.
In fact, the most recent real estate report for Lake Martin shows a significant increase in value year over year. The median price for waterfront homes was $502,000, an increase of 29.5% from one year ago. Real estate experts believe low inventory levels were a contributing factor for the rising sales prices. Because of that, homes are selling more quickly than in previous years.
A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
“There is a real sense of community on and around Lake Martin,” said O’Brien. “Not just the people who live here year-round, but the people who come here to get away. They keep it up, take care of it and make it a good place to spend time.”
That feeling of camaraderie is ultimately why out-of-town families, like the Langhams, decide to make Lake Martin their home away from home. After a weeks-long search, the two decided to build a new lake home.
“It came down to our tastes. We didn’t find what we were looking for, so building made the most sense for us,” said Langham.
“I’m looking forward to the day I can wake up, walk outside and sip my cup of coffee while looking out over the water,” she added.