If you’ve ever wanted to buy a lakefront home in Texas, now could be the time.
Despite the run-up in residential real estate prices overall, prices for lake homes are stagnant or, in many cases, sinking, according to the Summer 2019 Lake Market Report by Lake Homes Realty and LakeHomes.com.
The report culls data from more than 100 multiple listing services across the U.S. for properties that have lake views or access or are in lake-focused developments.
To take a couple of examples in the Dallas-Fort Worth vicinity, the average home price on Possum Kingdom Lake is down 10.2 percent since last summer to about $584,000, and the average home price at Cedar Creek Lake is down 6.2 percent since summer 2018 to about $400,000.
A big reason for the decline is that more lake homes are on the market, said Dezirae McGee, a spokeswoman for the real estate brokerage and its web site.
“It’s largely a factor of availability of properties," McGee said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal. “Lake properties are different. A lot of them are pretty opulent. The the age of opulence is past. It’s no longer as popular to own these high-end homes. A lot of owners are downsizing."
With more than $4.2 billion in lake real estate listings, Texas is the nation’s largest lake market. That number includes both home and land value.
Compared to summer 2018, Texas’ total lake market value has increased by 12.5 percent, up from $3.8 billion one year ago.
Lakes Travis, Lyndon B. Johnson and Austin are the state’s biggest lake real estate markets with $624 million, $447 million and $390 million in value, respectively. The three Austin-area lakes
also made the top 10 lake real estate markets nationally, ranking fourth, sixth and 10th, respectively.
Zooming in on the DFW vicinity, Cedar Creek Lake ranked as the fifth biggest lake market in the state with $195 million in value, and Lake Ray Hubbard ranked sixth with $166 million. Possum Kingdom Lake, at $129 million, ranked eighth. Lake Texoma ranked ninth with $106 million in value, and Lewisville Lake ranked 10th with $104 million.
Increased inventory and lower average home prices have created a more buyer-friendly market, with many of those buyers coming from outside Texas’ borders, McGee said.
According to LakeHomes.com web traffic analytics, 26 percent of all potential buyers come from states other than Texas. Los Angeles, New York City and Denver, Colorado top the list of metro areas most frequently shopping Texas lake markets.
Drilling down on a few, 33 percent of all potential Lake Travis buyers originate from outside the state, 19 percent of Cedar Creek Lake web traffic comes from out-of-state-buyers, and out-of-state buyers represent 30 percent of all traffic for Lewisville Lake properties, McGee said.
Many out-of-state buyers shopping DFW-area lake markets are from California, Tracy Watson, a Lake Homes Realty agent on Possum Kindgom Lake, told the Business Journal.
“Californians in particular are buying permanent residences in the area,” Watson said. “Compared to pricing in California, out-of-state buyers see all Texas lake real estate listings, even those priced at a premium, as a bargain.”
Land inventory across the Lone Star State’s lakes has increased by 17 percent in the last year, driving the state’s total land market value to grow from $870 million last summer to about $934 million.
This increase in available land inventory, combined with an additional 22 percent increase in lake homes for sale this year, brought Texas’ total lake inventory up 20 percent to about 10,200 listings.
The state’s lake home listings currently total $3.2 billion in value, about 14 percent higher than summer 2018’s $2.8 billion total. The number of listings is up 22 percent to about 4,900 homes currently.
The increase in home inventory has resulted in a decrease in the average Texas lake home price to $676,822.
Real estate consumers can find lake properties priced near the Texas state average on Lake Conroe, where the average home price is about $655,000, or on Clear Lake, which has an average home price of more than $676,000 this summer.
Bargain hunters might want to look at East Texas’ Lake Livingston, where the lake homes list at an average price of $418,000; Dallas-area Cedar Creek Lake, where the average home price is roughly $400,000 this summer; and Lewisville Lake, where homes are listed for about $559,000, on average.