Without a doubt the most common contacts I get from this blog/website are buyers searching for waterfront homes on Lake Norman. Most of these buyers feel this year is an opportunity to find a waterfront “bargain” and they are absolutely right. Our 520 miles of shoreline offer many options in many price ranges and prices have dropped almost in half from their peak in 2006/2007! That said, it is important that Lake Norman waterfront home buyers are well educated about what is available by price range. (Be realistic!)
In Part 1 of this series I analyzed our last 4 months of sales by price range. In this segment, I am going to describe what is currently for sale by price range in hopes of helping some folks who may arrive in Lake Norman with unrealistic expectations of what they can afford.
Before I begin, if you are looking for a bargain on Lake Norman think “COMPROMISE” no matter what your price range. Until you get well over $1million, the rule of thumb is this:
- Chances are your comprise will involve either the lot or the house or both
- Rule of thumb: The better the lot (water, shoreline, views, depth, dock) the lesser the house in any price range.
- If you want good deep water and open views of the lake you are either going to have to consider an older home/a fixer/a home with issues or be willing to pay at least $700,000 and even at that price it is difficult! (Really more like $900,000+).
$142,500 – $399,000
This truly is a price range for buyers looking for small cove waterfront lots with an older small home or Single/Double-wide trailer. There are currently 34 active listings in this price range 24 of which are at least $300,000. Half of these are not in subdivisions. They range in age from 1950 (before the lake was created!) to 2006 (which has no real water) and range in size from 500 – 3400 sq ft. Your best bet in this price range is a “tear-down” as these are basically land value only or small, older homes in small coves. Many of these may not have private docks.
Specific examples: Manufactured single-wide on the north east side of the lake on a wide cove for $249,900. A 1850 sq ft ranch with the lake front across the street from the home at $325,000. A 1000 sq ft old cabin on a wide cove off of Brawley School Rd for $399,000.
$400,000 – $499,000
You will begin to find some decent lots in this price range but the homes with the best lots will be 1960-1980’s construction and need work or be tear-downs because they are so dated. Most of these properties will be found north of Hwy 150. The newer homes will have lots with issues: steep, no dock, very end of a cove, shallow water.
Specific examples: 3000 sq ft home built in 2004 in Stateville located at the end of a cove with no dock. 1968 1000 sq ft home on the Main Channel in Catawba County. Several tear-downs on “good water” lots down Brawley School Rd. in Mooresville.
$500,000 – $599,000
This is really the entry level price range right now for Lake Norman waterfront homes. Of the 42 active listings, 19 were built in 1960 – 1989, 10 were built in the 1990’s and 13 were built since 2000. The average home in this price-range is 3 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms and 2360 sq ft. The newer homes are all north of Hwy 150 with a couple in Denver. Many are located in older, modest neighborhoods and about half are not in subdivisions. The rule of thumb continues to apply: The nicer the home the worse the water/lot/location.
Specific examples: Nice, 2003 3/3 home with beautiful water located north of the Buffalo Shoals bridge and next to a public access ramp. 1300 sq ft newer 2/1 home with cove water in Mooresville. Nice, 2006, 2500 sq ft 4/3 home in Denver at end of cove with very small dock.
$600,000 – $699,000
I have sold some really great bargains in this price range in the past year and a half. BUT, all of my buyers made compromises. AND, there is nothing currently on the market in this price range comparable to those. Same rules apply as above but now the homes and locations are getting bigger/better, and the water is getting better. There are currently 39 active listings in the $600,000’s. Average is 4/3. Age ranges from 1966 -2006. You will now find some dated but fine homes in the 1990’s with small cove water or older homes with good docks and nice water/dock/views.
Specific examples: Large 5/3 2006 home on cove with nice water in Statesville. 1966 4/3 ranch in Mooresville with good waterfront lot. 2600 sq ft, cute 1999 home with good water in Mooresville. 1998 4/3 home is great neighborhood with end of cove water and no dock. Lovely 2007 home in foreclosure in Denver with partial main channel views but dock has very shallow water.
$700,000 – $799,000
Same rule applies: The better the house/location, the worse the water/dock and vice versa. Same basic statistics as the homes in the $600,000’s but subtle pluses. Older homes have better water and are in a bit better condition. There are some good solid homes in this price range out of the 37 active listings available.
Specific examples: Lovely updated home 4/3 with great water views and its own beach and dock in nice subdivision but slightly dated feel. Short sale in nice neighborhood, built in 1995, 5/4 5000 sq ft. on wide channel, needs some cosmetic work and shallow water but nice dock. 4000 sq ft, 3/2, 1999 home with lovely water and views, older dock and small cabin next door but in very good condition. 3500 sq ft 2005 home on lovely street off of Brawley School Rd, at the end of a cove but lovely dock and peaceful setting. Lovely 3800 sq ft 2004 home 4/3 with beautiful pool on the main channel BUT, looks out at the 150 bridge, gets traffic noise.
$800,000 – $899,000
There are 33 active listings in the $800,000s. Again, average is 4 Bedrooms and 3 Bathrooms but the average age is much newer, for the most part the condition of the homes is better and the water may be better. Most of the homes were built in the 1990’s – 2000’s. However, the few much older homes tend to be on really good lots. One is on its own point with main channel views. Size ranges from 1600 sq ft (great lot) to 7600 sq ft (great house, remote location and end of cove water…sound familiar?).
Specific examples: 3600 sq ft, 1986 4/3 home with awesome water and dock off of Perth Rd. 4200 sq ft 3/3 1990 home which is dated but has lovely water/ lot and views. A handful of 3000 sq ft 4/3 homes built in the 1990’s so dated homes but on wide cove lots. Larger, newer homes located on east and west north end of the lake with lot issues (steep or end of cove).
$900,000 – $999,000
There is a marked improvement in the quality and architectural design in this price range. There are even a few WOW homes! Of the 20 listings in this price range, there are a handful of really great homes and the rest suffer from the same basic issues of good house/not so good water or vice versa.
Specific examples: Gorgeous 5000 sq ft 4/4 home built in 2003 with great water (located in Statesville). Stunning 4000 sq ft 2003 contemporary custom designed home with great flat lot and open water near The Point. 4800 sq ft 2002 4/2 home on wide cove in Mooresville. 5000 sq ft 1996 4/4 home (not very attractive) with nice water views in The Peninsula. (The lowest priced waterfront home in the Peninsula).
$1,000,000 – $1,250,000
This is a very interesting price range as the homes are about the same size and age as the homes in the $900,000’s. In my opinion many of these homes are overpriced. This is the entry level for The Point but these homes, while lovely, have very little water/end of cove, and/or no private dock. There are some properties in this price range with good 3-5 bedroom homes built in the 1990’s – 2009 on great lots. In this price range the lots or location are what attribute to their higher prices. The newer construction homes are located in Mooresville and north or Denver and Sherrills Ford.
Specific examples: 4600 sq ft 3/3 2002 home in The Point on a lot with no private dock. A 6300 sq ft 2002 5/7 home in The Point with decent water in front but no private dock allowed. A 4600 sq ft 4/3 1998 home with GREAT water in Cornelius. 5500 sq ft 4/4 2005 home with okay water in Sailview. A 3000 sq ft 4/3 1991 Ranch with GREAT water on Governors Island. 4 larger homes (5700-7000 sq ft) 2001-2007 homes in Northview Harbour all but one of which has wide cove water.
$1,250,000 – $1,500,000
There are 26 homes in this price range. There are some obvious trends within this group: All but 4 are located in Mooresville (Brawley School) and Cornelius. They are larger homes with the majority over 5000 sq ft on good lots on wide coves or the main channel with beautiful water views. 9 of these listings are in The Point and two are in The Peninsula. In general these are luxury homes located in the nicest neighborhoods on Lake Norman.
Specific examples: The homes in The Point are 4 or 5 bedrooms, about 5000 sq ft built in the 2000s. They are not on such great lots but all but one have private docks and are on wide coves. The homes in Cornelius are older (1987-1999), about 5000 sq ft homes on smaller but flat lots with great open water views. One on Governors Island is a 3500 sq ft, 4/3, 2002 home with great open water views.
$1,500,000 – $2,000,000
17 waterfront homes are currently listed in this price range. The homes average 5 bedrooms and 4 baths, are closer to 6000+ sq ft and are definitely located in very upscale neighborhoods. (5 in The Point, 1 in The Peninsula and 1 in Sailview). The homes are newer (built 2000+) and more lavish.
Specific examples: An 8300 sq ft, 5/5, 2006 home/estate in The Point with lovely lot and water views. A 6,000 sq ft, 5/5, 1997 home located on one of Cornelius’s best street with stunning water.
47 waterfront estates are currently for sale above $2 million. With few exceptions these estates have many upgrades and custom architecture, grand rooms with high ceilings, and range in size from 4000 sq ft to over 13,000 sq ft. While not all, most of them, especially above $3,000,000 are “Wow” properties with incredible lots up to 4 acres in size with great views of the lake. 10 of these are in The Point, and 5 are in The Peninsula.
Specific examples: 8000 sq. ft. 5/5 estate in The Harbour at The Point with main channel water. One of my all time favorites, a truly stunning 11,000 sq ft newer contemporary “Craftsman Style” estate on an incredible lot in Cornelius. And, topping in at an asking price of $9,500,000, a 13,000 sq ft 4/4 home which I can only describe as a “WOW” home!
Until one reaches the $1.5 million price range, the same rules apply as I stated at the beginning of this article. You are most likely going to have to compromise. Which is your priority; a move-in condition home or a better waterfront lot? At every increase in price range you will find slightly larger or newer homes in increasingly improving locations on slightly better lots. If you are looking at a Lake Norman waterfront home as an investment first then water and location will always trump the house. Try to buy the best lot possible within your price range because when our Lake Norman real estate market turns around, these are going to become the most coveted properties on the lake. There are only a finite number of great waterfront lots on Lake Norman. That said, if you are seeking a waterfront retreat off of the main channel then a quiet cove and well designed home may suit your lifestyle better. No matter what, this is a great time to be looking!