Lake Martin December 2020 Market Update
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What to Expect in the Lake Martin Real Estate Market in 2021

John Coley

John Coley grew up on Lake Martin and is a 1991 graduate of Benjamin Russell High School in Alex City...

John Coley grew up on Lake Martin and is a 1991 graduate of Benjamin Russell High School in Alex City...

Dec 23 5 minutes read

At this time last year, we in the Lake Martin real estate business were marveling that 2019 was just a record year of waterfront sales. We had heard of this coronavirus, but most of us (me included) did not think it would influence us at home. We all now know what happened next: The COVID pandemic. Though there was an initial pause for homebuyers in mid-March as would-be sellers decided what to do next, the Lake Martin and national housing market ended up even hotter than ever. Demand outpaced inventory and 2020 will go down as the best year ever in Lake Martin real estate sales.

While 2020 was a lesson in expecting the unexpected, the housing market has adapted to the “new normal.” The trends we’ve seen over the past year, along with increasing certainty regarding the availability of a COVID vaccine, provides data points for making predictions for the 2021 housing market. Here’s what you can expect to see, whether you are buying or selling your home in 2021:

Lake Martin waterfront values will continue to rise — for the time being

Our market has continued to stay hot in the colder weather. Results from October and November 2020, show that waterfront home sales are still record breakers, and have only about 2.5 months of inventory. Waterfront lots have also continued their hot streak and have out-sold the previous best previous by 40%.

What to do about it

If you’re planning to sell your lake home, signs are pointing to listing as early as you can. If you’re interested in buying your lake place, you may have more to choose from and less competition in the latter half of the first quarter.

There’s going to be more construction at Lake Martin

As I mentioned earlier, we have had a record number of waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin in 2020. The final year’s tally will be at least 140. While I am sure that many of those lot buyers will be end users, I am sure that a portion of those lot sales will be spec homes. If you plan to be a home buyer in 2021, that could mean that you have more to choose from. More at least, than in 2020.

Remote working at Lake Martin

Though some industries plan on returning to their offices, many more are realizing that a virtual workforce is more workable (and presents many savings for the company). National trends show that homes located close to outdoor recreation options may be considered more attractive in the future. Anyone that quarantined at Lake Martin (like my family and I did) realize this reality. At the end of March, the lake area was flooded with people. Turns out, it is a lot more fun to zoom from the lake!

The remote workforce has had the freedom to move to areas far from their corporate offices. Some companies have even incentivized employees to move — for example, San Francisco-based Zapier gave employees $10,000 to move out of the area. This may lead to booms in rural areas known for their natural beauty and outdoor recreation options, like Lake Martin.

What to do about it

The remote workforce also has changed the demands many potential buyers have, so you may have to stage or adapt rooms to appeal to the new normal. In the old days, who cares if your fishing shack style cabin has good wifi?  Now, home offices are a must (and dining rooms, guest rooms and other entertaining-oriented features are less in-demand), Zoom sightlines are considered, utilities (cable/internet) are scrutinized and smart home features are all bonuses.

There’s no predicting where remote workers will move, as it’s all up to the individual. However, some trends can be foreseen. Since Lake Martin is in an area that tends to be popular with vacationers, don’t be surprised if more full-time residents may want to call it “home.” If you are planning on selling, the marketing plan around selling your home should include resources for those moving in from out-of-the-area. I would be glad to help you formulate a plan.

No one knows exactly what the future holds but we have the insight and experience to develop a unique plan for you. 

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