Lake Winnipesaukee Real Estate
Article by Mark J. Donovan
Lake Winnipesaukee – The Heart of New Hampshire’s Lake Region Real EstateLake Winnipesaukee is located in central New Hampshire and is the largest lake in the New Hampshire lakes region. The locals refer to it as the “Big Lake” as it has 72 square miles of water surface, has 182 miles of shoreline, and includes 253 islands. Due to its size, location and beauty, Lake Winnipesaukee is a summer Mecca for tourism. In addition, due to its proximity to the New Hampshire White Mountains, many people visit the Big Lake in the fall and winter to view the foliage and to take part in outdoor recreational activities. Consequently Lake Winnipesaukee real estate is a precious commodity.
Having spent the last 30+ years living in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee has been a regular vacation spot for my family. I have also been fortunate to have owned Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront property in the town of Moultonboro, NH for the past 10 years. Like many I purchased an old camp, razed it and built a new modern home on it. We use our vacation home year round and take advantage of all the local amenities in the New Hampshire lakes region area.
As a frequent visitor and property owner of Lake Winnipesaukee real estate, I have witnessed the growth, and the occasional contraction, of the area for the past 30 years. Due to the fact that waterfront property is a limited commodity, New Hampshire Lakes Region real estate has, for the most part, performed extremely well as an investment. This said, there has been the occasional contraction in the market over the years. However compared to other areas of the state and country, Lake Winnipesaukee real estate seems to hold out better during down real estate times.
From the late 1990’s until approximately 2006, Lake Winnipesaukee real estate experienced a boom in new home construction. Home sizes and prices soared. The $ 3 Million, 5000+ square foot Adirondack McMansion became ubiquitous with the times. The dot.com bubble was most likely the event that triggered both the boom and the eventual contraction of the New Hampshire lakes region real estate market.
Though home sales have cooled since 2006, and prices have receded a bit, new Adirondack homes continue to spring up, albeit at a slower rate. The fact that new home construction continues during a major housing recession is a testament to the areas resiliency, as well as a clear sign of future boom times ahead for the Lake Winnipesaukee real estate market. However, again it is understandable. With its crystal clear waters, proximity to the foothills of the White Mountains and two other local mountain ranges, as well as only 2 hours outside of Boston, MA, Lake Winnipesaukee has it all.
Owning Lake Winnipesaukee Real Estate
Before deciding to purchase Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront property it is important to understand the local communities around the lake, and the pros and cons each offer. Property taxes, for example, are high in New Hampshire, and depending upon where you are on the Big Lake, property taxes can be very high. In general, southern communities surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee have higher property taxes than northern ones. The reason for this is that New Hampshire funds much of its public education at the local level. Consequently, on the southern part of the lake where there are higher populations, including children, property taxes are higher. Property taxes on the southern part of the Big Lake can be 2 times higher than a home on the northern part of the Big Lake, for the same priced home. So it is important to keep this fact in mind when looking at Lake Winnipesaukee real estate. It may be worth driving that extra 30 minutes to save $ 10K/year in property taxes.
As already suggested the southern communities surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee have larger populations. Consequently they are more crowded. Weirs beach for example, though a great family spot and fun to visit, may not be the preferred choice for the person looking to “get-away-from-it-all”. The northern part of the lake, such as in Center Harbor, Moultonboro, or Tuftonboro, NH may be a better place for those looking for the serenity of nature.
Care and Upkeep of Lake Winnipesaukee Waterfront Property
My old friend and neighbor, who sold me my property on the Big Lake, frequently reminded me of the truism that a home is not self maintaining. No matter if you purchase a camp or a brand new McMansion, it is important to realize and budget for regular maintenance and repair of your Lake Winnipesaukee real estate. Besides fall leaf raking, and spring clean up of fallen branches, there are also many other maintenance items to consider when owning Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront property. Docks and boats need to be removed or installed every season, homes need to be winterized in late fall if not planning to be used during the winter months, and snow plowing needs to be arranged. In addition, there are always small maintenance items inside the home, such as cleaning and mechanical maintenance of furnaces and water systems.
Lake Winnipesaukee real estate is a great investment that unlike money sitting in the bank can be fully enjoyed and appreciated. However, it is important to research the area prior to jumping into the first property you see and to understand that there can be market ups and downs. Finally it is important to understand that owning Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront property is a privilege and a responsibility. It is important that the water and shoreline be protected and preserved for future generations to visit and enjoy.