By Sheila Davis, Lead Agent Sheila Davis Group
2020 Lake Sales Surge: 2019 was a banner year for Lake Lanier real estate, and 2020 rolled in with optimism. In March, the Pandemic hit and quieted the market for about six weeks. During that period, the online virtual showings were strong, and some onsite showings were happening under COVID-19 guidelines. In May the large pent-up demand created a flurry of showings and sales between May and December. Full price and over list multiple offers were flying for attractive homes on good lots. January of 2021 will begin with a historically low inventory of only 62 lake homes. 2019 began the year with 200 homes available, and that was a record low. The stage is set for another Seller’s Market in 2021, although Buyers are also winners gaining a spot at the lake!
- 510 lake homes with private docks or homes in neighborhoods with marina style dock access sold in 2020, a 40% increase over 2019. 401 lake homes with private docks closed vs 329 last year, a 22% increase.
The average sales price for a home with a private dock was $781,697, an increase of 21.7%. The average sales price of all Lake Lanier homes, including homes in neighborhoods with boat slips at neighborhood marinas, was $650,000, a 5% increase overall.
- The average sales to list price was 96.2% and Days on Market was 75, compared to last year’s 95.7% and 108 Days on Market.
- Luxury Lake Is Hot: Luxury lake sales really took off in 2020. 160 homes over $800,000 sold vs 88 in 2019. A record 90 homes over $1,000,000 sold vs only 26 in 2019! Days on market was just 97 days, and the list to sales price was 94.5%. Many homes sold at full price or more with multiple offers, predominately in the $800,000 to $1,200,000 range. Luxury homes made up 31% of lake homes sales against last year’s 17%. It was a seller’s market with on average only 40 homes available at a time. In years past there have been over 100 homes on the market for buyers to choose from. With demand high and supply low, sellers should not delay, and list first quarter of 2021.
- Second Home Demand Increases in Pandemic: With “work at home” and “school at home” in 2020, it is not surprising Lake Lanier has seen many more buyers wanting a safe haven away from the cities. Lake Lanier never shut down and was a safe haven that enabled residents to enjoy outdoor recreation, while working and schooling from home. Many buyers are still chasing that elusive lake cottage under $500,000, IF they can find it. These properties are scooped up in a day or two and with multiple offers, so act fast when you see it.
- Migration from Other States: Lake Lanier has seen increased migration from out of state buyers leaving pandemic locked down states for job opportunities, better quality of life and weather, with less restrictions and taxes. Our beautiful lake is attractive to those moving from other waterfront areas and Buyers see our prices as more appealing.
Multi-Slip Subdivisions Gain Popularity: New and existing lake neighborhoods with marina style docks were hot as builders’ spec homes, custom builds and resales hit the market, contributing to a 40% in increase in total lake homes sold. Subdivisions such as The Reserve at Lake Lanier, Hickory Lakeside, Dawson Pointe, Chestatee on Lake Lanier, Chestatee Cove on the west side of the lake and Marina Bay, Harbour Point, Summercrest and others, on mid and north lake, and Cresswind at Lake Lanier and Bay Point on the southeast side, have provided new home and resale options for buyers wanting a more traditional neighborhood feel and amenities.
- Year of Rain Continues the Trend of High Lake Levels: A full lake is always good for lake recreation and home sales, although I must say a few more sunny weekends this year would be nice! Thanks to rain and good CORPS management, the lake levels have been high for over three years, and except for a few years it dropped just below 1065, it has been consistently high since 2011.
Boat Dock Upgrades, Safety and Maintenance: Boats are getting larger and making larger wakes due to the popularity of wake boarding and wake surfing. There are only about 30 days a year of big traffic days, but homeowners are seeing the need to maintenance and replace old docks to adapt to the increased lake activity and larger boats. Homes with newer docks with larger boat slips are in demand and well maintained and safe docks are better received by Buyers.
- Lake Homes Trends: Updated kitchens and baths have been a top priority for lake buyers for years. With the pandemic, we are now seeing the resurgence of the home office(s) and zoom spaces as work and school at home have been in the spotlight. Buyers also are attracted to comfortable outdoor spaces such as covered decks and patios, pools, hot tubs, fireplaces and fire pit areas.
Sheila Davis is the lead agent at LakeLaniersFinest.com, a VP and Partner at The Norton Agency in Gainesville, a LLA Board Member and a Lake Lanier resident for 26 years. The Sheila Davis Real Estate Group is #1 in Lake Lanier Sales and sold $70 over million in 2020, with the 89.62% in Lake sales.