Is buying a lake house a good investment? Yes! Buying a vacation home in 2019 shouldn’t be too difficult when you know which lake towns are the best for real estate investment. Using data from Mashvisor’s rental property calculator, we’ve put together a list of the top lake towns to consider if you’re buying a vacation home this year. Let’s get right into it.
Buying a Vacation Home: Top 5 Lake Towns
1) Lake George, NY
- Median Property Price: $544,104
- Price per Square Foot: $224
- Average Days on Market: 196
- Walk Score: 63
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,990
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 10.3%
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 66%
Buying a vacation home in Lake George is going to be one of the best real estate investments you make in 2019. Just taking a quick look at the kind of return buying a lake house rental in this town will get should have you searching for properties immediately. It’s number one on our list mainly for that impressive 10 percent average cash on cash return.
The unique thing about Lake George is the 19th-century homes that line the lake and the idea of a beautiful lakeside getaway draws visitors annually. According to data released by Airbnb, Warren County (where Lake George is located) hosted 32,200 guests last year. Rental revenue generated from these Airbnbs in Warren County totaled $4.5 million. So the area has definitely got some good lake towns for buying a vacation home. But there is some talk about Warren County introducing a lodging tax, so stay on the lookout for that.
Related: 6 Ways to Invest in New York Real Estate
2) Lake Geneva, WI
- Median Property Price: $522,006
- Price per Square Foot: $233
- Average Days on Market: 143
- Walk Score: 76
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,345
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 5.8%
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 50%
If you’re set on this real estate market, we recommend you start searching for lake house rentals fast. Lake Geneva is a hot seller’s market and competition is high. It’s got some very impressive stats as well. It has been nicknamed “Newport of the West” for its famous lakeside mansions built long ago by Chicago’s rich families. Its high walk score reflects just how easy it is for vacationers to reach any events or main attractions in the area.
As if its 21-mile lakeshore path lined with historic mansions wasn’t enough, Lake Geneva is quite the popular destination amongst visitors because of its golf and spa experiences. Buying a vacation home to rent out in this luxury getaway won’t lead you to any issues with the law. The state of Wisconson passed a law that prohibits any local municipalities from banning short term rentals. Another change was that the law used to require a 30-day minimum occupancy by short term tenants; now buying lakefront property and having new guests every week is no problem as the minimum period to rent is down to 7 days. This is great news for any Wisconson investors looking to buy lake house rentals. According to a report released by Airbnb, Lake Geneva is the fifth most popular location among Airbnb Wisconson guests.
Related: The 10 Best Places for Buying a Vacation Home in the US in 2019
3) Lake Placid, NY
- Median Property Price: $683,749
- Price per Square Foot: $310
- Average Days on Market: 160
- Walk Score: 51
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,501
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 4.5%
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 58%
This is another one of New York’s lake towns which is great for buying a vacation home in 2019. Lake Placid is no hidden gem. Well known for hosting two Winter Olympics in the past, many visitors come for the alpine experience. The great thing about buying a vacation home to rent out here is that it isn’t just busy in the winter months. Lake Placid draws in visitors year-round. It’s actually busier in the summer season.
Crystal clear lakes, freshwater springs, and mountain streams make it one of the best places to buy a lake house. Tourism is a staple for the business in this lake town and the recent surge of Airbnb rentals has not gone unnoticed by the local government. Although there aren’t any current laws regarding short term vacation rentals, there is some chatter about setting some slight regulation. Lake Placid and North Elba collectively decided to propose some ideas. So far, it’s just talk about permit requirements and minimum stays, so nothing too serious for real estate investors to worry about. But Airbnb regulation is always something you should keep track of when buying vacation rental property.
4) Grand Lake, CO
- Median Property Price: $788,864
- Price per Square Foot: $381
- Average Days on Market: 130
- Walk Score: 53
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,405
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 3.5%
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 54%
So the median price for properties in Grand Lake is a bit higher than the other lake towns we have listed, but this doesn’t mean you won’t find affordable lakefront property here. Buying a vacation home in this historic and quaint town would be a sound real estate investment. It’s one of the smallest towns, just 500 residents. But they aren’t the only ones who revel in the natural beauty of this small village, as people are always coming to visit this lake town. The beautiful lake isn’t the only thing that attracts visitors; Grand Lake’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountain national park is what also makes buying a vacation home here a smart decision for real estate investors.
Before you set up a lake house for rent in this housing market, make sure you’re registered with the Department of Community Development in Grand County. The registration fee is based on the maximum number of guests your short term rental can occupy ($25 per person).
Related: 4 Reasons to Invest in the Colorado Real Estate Market in 2019
5) Wasilla, AK
- Median Property Price: $270,396
- Price per Square Foot: $148
- Average Days on Market: 9
- Walk Score: 65
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $1,885
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 3.0%
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 48%
If you go with this real estate market, you’ll be buying a vacation home in one of the most beautiful lake towns. Just a couple of the highlights about this city are the Independence Mine State Historical Park and Iditarod Headquarters. Visitors can be sure to see some nearby glaciers as well. But that isn’t the only thing making Wasilla an attractive market for buying a vacation home; that price point should motivate you too.
If you’re set on any one of these lake towns or are even interested in buying a vacation home in a city not on this list, but don’t know what to look for when buying a lake house, we can help you out. How? Well, do you have a free Mashvisor account? Use our Property Finder to find lucrative investment properties that match your criteria in a matter of minutes!