Forget Beach Rentals -- You Can Own Your Own Waterfront Home on These Affordable Lakes

Written by Posted On Friday, 03 May 2019 10:14

Beach property can be very expensive, but if sunshine, cool waters and endless fun is most important to you, step away from the seashore this summer and consider giving one (or two) of the country’s hundreds of lakes a try.

Not only does lake living offer many of the same benefits as the beach, but also it can be easier on your pocketbook because your vacation pad can be an investment.

These five markets listed below are all spots where becoming a lake homeowner can be a smarter financial choice than renting at the beach. They are all ranked among the “Most Affordable” lakes in their respective states in the new 2019 Spring Lake Real Estate Market Report.

Lay Lake, Alabama:

One of Alabama's most beloved recreation spots, 12,000-acre Lay Lake is located less than 60 miles from Birmingham and about 65 miles from Montgomery.

Known for its deep water, Lay Lake is a world-class fishing lake, with hearty populations of crappie and catfish, but particularly well-known for its bass. The Bassmasters Classic has been held at Lay Lake four times since 1996, most recently in 2010.

Currently ranked the fourth-most affordable lake home market in Alabama, 71 percent of homes for sale this spring are listed for less than $250,000.

Overall, on average Lay Lake homes list for just below $260,000.

Lake Sinclair, Georgia

Covering more than 15,000 acres in central Georgia, Lake Sinclair has more than 400 miles of shoreline in Putnam, Baldwin, and Hancock counties, about 90 miles from Atlanta and fewer than 40 miles from Macon.

In addition to its popularity among anglers for its superior largemouth and striped bass, channel catfish and crappie fishing, Lake Sinclair is a favorite among lake lovers who want to live the lake life year-round.

Its proximity to urban amenities while tucked away just beyond the reach of the bustle of city living make Lake Sinclair a popular place for permanent residency.

Coming in at No. 3 on Georgia’s “Most Affordable” list, Lake Sinclair has an average lake home price of about $285,000.

Houghton Lake, Michigan

Houghton Lake is the largest inland lake in Michigan and one of the largest natural inland lakes in the United States.

Spanning more than 22,000 acres, this reservoir is located about three hours from the Detroit metro and serves as home to 11,000 lake-area residents.

Both a fun summer retreat and a winter wonderland, Houghton Lake recreational opportunities range from boating, hiking and golf to ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and the Tip-Up Town USA winter festival, the largest of its kind in the state.

Houghton Lake ranks as the sixth-most affordable lake in the Great Lakes State with an average lake home listing price of $197,000.

Sixty-six percent of homes in this market have listing prices below $250,000.

Oneida Lake, New York

Known as “The Coney Island of Central New York” in the 1880s and 1890s, Oneida Lake spans more than 51,000 acres in Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties.

Syracuse is only 10 miles to the south, and Albany is about two hours away.

Oneida Lake’s first inhabitants referred to it as “Tsioqui,” or “white water,” in honor of their fascination with the lake’s massive waves. Today, the lake’s name honors its earliest settlers: the Oneida Tribe of Iroquois Native Americans.

Popular area attractions include Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and Verona Beach State Park, and each year fishing enthusiasts take to Oneida Lake’s waters to enjoy its world-class walleye and yellow perch fishing.

On average, Oneida Lake homes list for about $302,000, earning it the No. 3 spot on New York’s “Most Affordable Homes” list.

Skiatook Lake, OK

A short half-hour drive from Tulsa lies Oklahoma’s fourth-largest lake market Skiatook Lake.

This 10,000-acre body of water was constructed in 1984 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water supply, and recreational purposes. Today, Skiatook Lake supplies water for cities of Skiatook, Sand Springs, Tulsa, and Sapulpa.

Popular for its many community-wide events like fishing tournaments and fireworks, Skiatook Lake is a favorite among families.

The most popular of these events is the "Fantasy in the Sky" held at the local airport. This family-friendly affair includes live concerts and fireworks and attracts about 35,000 people each year.

With an average list price of $229,000, Skiatook Lake homes are seventh-most affordable in the state. In fact, 64 percent of homes currently on the market there are listed for below $250,000.


Named one of the Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing businesses two years in a row, Birmingham, Alabama-based is the nation’s largest lake-focused real estate company and a national authority on lake real estate, data, and trends.

The company’s unique operations model is built around the concept of a one-stop website for lake homes and land. Pulling from more than 100 MLS platforms across 26 states,’s proprietary algorithms filter MLS data exclusively for properties located on the water, in a lake community or within a small radius of a lake.

The site’s database presents the most comprehensive collection of lake real estate available, making it the easiest source for finding, buying or selling lake property.

Currently, Lake Homes Realty has access to one-sixth of all real estate data in the country.

In 2018, saw 2.9 million unique users utilize its search features to view in excess of 65,000 lake-related properties across nearly 2,000 lakes.

About the 2019 Spring Lake Real Estate Market Report

Several times a year, publishes an in-depth Lake Real Estate Market Report, which curates extensive MLS platform data to feature the Top 10 lake real estate markets in 23 of the 26 states in the company’s market footprint.

The 2019 Spring Lake Real Estate Market Report reflects values of current listings across each of lake’s home, land, and commercial markets. These figures – market value, average home price, etc. – represent only those properties currently on the market.

The Lake Real Estate Market Report does NOT reflect sold data.

According to Lake Real Estate Market Report methodology, lake property is defined as "any home or land/lot listing adjacent to a recognized inland body of water, has a view of any of these lakes, has designated access to a lake, or is within a community that considers itself a lake-focused community or development."

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Lake Homes Realty

Lake Homes Realty is the nation's largest lake-focused real estate company. Named twice to Inc. Magazine's Inc.5000 list of fastest-growing businesses in the U.S., Lake Homes Realty is currently licensed in 26 states.

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.