By Mary O'Neil
Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group
One of the current favorites on cable television channel HGTV is the show "Lakefront Bargain Hunt." This program follows home seekers across the nation as they try to find the lakefront property they have always imagined owning within a reasonable budget. The show highlights locations that prove you do not need a "a boatload of money" to live on the lake.
Interestingly, an upcoming episode will feature a couple from western New Hampshire hunting for a bargain on Lake Winnipesaukee. Having grown up vacationing on the lake and after years of renting or staying with friends, they finally decide to find a lake house of their own. In their search they are assisted by local real estate agent Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group, who helps them find lakefront living within their budget of $375,000. The episode airs on HGTV this Sunday, June 19, and again on Monday, June 20 and July 4.
The premise of HGTV's Lakefront Bargain Hunt is that anyone can live on a lake. But what about those with substantially less than the $375,000 budget featured on the Lake Winnipesaukee episode? Is it possible for them? In the Lakes Region, the answer is yes. While less money may not buy you lakefront on one of the more well-known lakes, it is possible to enjoy the same lifestyle – gazing over the water from your living area and master bedroom, walking a few steps to jump into your boat, swimming from your own private sandy beach, sitting by a cozy fire under the stars while the waves lap the shoreline... Why? Because the Lakes Region has 273 water bodies to choose from, including lakes, ponds, and rivers.
Some people might respond, "Yeah, they get the lake and I get the pond." But the reality is some of the so-called "ponds" are bigger than water bodies with the title of "lake." For example, Pine River Pond near Wolfeboro covers 594 acres and goes to a depth of 62 feet off Boys Island. By way of comparison, Lake Opechee, a popular waterskiing lake and site of the 1954 National Waterski Championship, covers 426 acres. Currently for sale on Pine River Pond is a charming 3 bedroom home only steps from the water with over 150 feet of privately owned shorefront – all for around $200,000.
So if you really want to live on the water, go for it. Right now, there are many properties available for even those with a limited budget.
The unspoiled waters of Lake Winona in Center Harbor and New Hampton are an ideal spot for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, and canoeing. This 148-acre lake is a cold water fishery with a maximum depth of 47 feet and is stocked with rainbow trout by NH Fish & Game (lakelubbers.com). And as far as properties, for example, a currently listed 3 bedroom ranch provides canoe and kayak access right from its own private beach for around $200,000.
Dotted with both primary and second homes, Webster Lake in Franklin offers a retreat from the busy water bodies of the more well-know lakes. With more than 612 acres and a maximum depth of around 40 feet, it provides ample surface area for every kind of lakefront pastime. One current listing for around $200,000 sits right on the shoreline and provides long range views over the tranquil waters. The ranch comes complete with over 100 feet of shorefront, private dock, and mooring.
Sargent Lake in Belmont is located just south of Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam and offers abundant recreational and wildlife activities throughout the year. This 43-acre lake is a haven for kayakers, canoers, and paddle boarders. The lake hosts a variety of fish species including bluegill, lake trout, and smelt, making it a desirable spot for fly fishing, net fishing, spinning, and trolling. Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy sightings of river otters, muskrats, herons, songbirds, white-tailed deer, fox, and more. (lakelubbers.com). For around $160,000 you can own a 2 bedroom bungalow with over 150 feet of shorefront. Around $200,000 will get you a spacious 3 bedroom family home with water views from the open living area and 109 feet of waterfront.
Pristine natural beauty surrounds Balch Lake, situated in Wakefield. This sparkling water body near Wolfeboro covers a sizable expanse of 704 acres and has over 14 miles of shoreline. Year round activities on and around Balch Lake include waterskiing, jet skiing, fishing, snowmobiling, and hiking (balchlake.org). There are possibilities to own private waterfront on this lake for under $200,000, including a currently listed 2 bedroom cape with 105 feet of shoreline.
Sunrise Lake in Middleton, a 20 minute drive from Alton Bay, spans 247 acres and is classified by NH Fish and Game as a warm water fishery (wildlife.state.nh.us). Homes situated on the shoreline are ideally placed to enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing, and long views over its sparkling waters. For around $175,000 you can take in the beautiful setting from a 2 bedroom camp with 75 feet of waterfront, your own sandy beach, and boat dock.
In the Lakes Region, there is something for everyone. These lakes represent just a few of the possibilities in the area. For those looking to wake up to sunrises and coffee on your deck overlooking the water or boating from your back yard, there is a way to do it in the Lakes Region for an affordable price. Start looking for your own lakefront bargain and maybe you will be the next star on HGTV's Lakefront Bargain Hunt.
Visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.