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In the Know: Buying & Investing in Michigan’s Lakeside Real Estate

by | May 14, 2024

With its pristine lakeshores and inviting communities, Michigan’s northwest and southwest regions are experiencing a surge in buyer demand. A longtime magnet for second-home seekers and investors, the recent rise in remote work has allowed buyers from neighboring states like Illinois and Indiana to relocate to Michigan’s idyllic lakeside locales full-time. Here, we get expert insight from Managing Partner of The Agency Hall & Hunter in Southeast MichiganBrad Wolf, on the ins and outs of Michigan’s waterfront real estate market. 


What specific lake towns in your regions are attracting buyers most right now? 

Michigan is a state where we are fortunate to be surrounded by the great lake as well as an abundance of inland lakes.  

The northwest region of the lower peninsula has always drawn people from metro Detroit looking for second homes/vacation homes.  This region has also been recognized nationally as one of the most beautiful lake areas in our country.  The southwest region of Michigan attracts buyers from Indiana and Illinois (a few hours from Chicago) who are looking for second homes/vacation homes on Lake Michigan.  


Aside from the sheer beauty of the Great Lakes, people fall in love with the quality of life and a little slower pace when compared to our more metropolitan regions.  


What do you think is attracting buyers to these areas? 

Aside from the sheer beauty of the great lakes and the regions mentioned above, people fall in love with the quality of life and a slower pace when compared to our more metropolitan regions.  


How have these areas evolved over the last few years since the pandemic, and what are buyers seeking in local lakeside luxury homes now? 

Ever since the pandemic, these lake/vacation regions have spiked in demand.  Many people have adjusted their lives/work lives to be able to live and work from anywhere which has driven the demand for lakefront living to new heights.  

With the increase in demand came an increase in pricing/values.  Buyers are looking for the vacation style of living with all the amenities they may find in more of a metropolitan area.


Is there a season to the real estate market in these lakeside areas or are buyers flocking year-round? 

In Michigan, we experience four seasons and the spring and summer months are typically the busiest times of year when it comes to real estate sales in and around the lake regions.


What are some lakeside home amenities or features that you see buyers seek out right now? 

Lakefront home buyers are typically looking for all-sports lakes near towns or areas where they can find many of the amenities they are accustomed to in a metropolitan area…such as restaurants, grocery and retail shops.


Have you seen any increase in lakeside home buyers or renters from a certain region?

Ever since the pandemic we have experienced an uptick of buyers coming from outside of the state of Michigan.  In the past, the majority of lakefront buyers were coming from southeastern Michigan, in and around Metro Detroit.  Now we are seeing them come from our surrounding states and metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Indianapolis.


Are there any emerging developments in these lake regions that you foresee buyers being drawn to? 

With the continued demand for lakefront living, we continue to see more development of housing, commercial, retail, etc.  The increased development of these smaller towns has drawn buyers who may not have been concerned due to not having the amenities they are used to having in metropolitan areas.


Do you have any stats or data about your local lake town markets over the past year that are notable? 

Without having specific stats I can share, I will tell you we have referred business into the northwest lake region of Michigan multiple times over the last year resulting in many sales over $4 million.  The luxury market is alive and strong in our Michigan lake regions.


Lakefront homes are a terrific investment  because…they are typically in limited supply therefore always driving prices up. I would recommend spending a little extra to have an actual lakefront rather than “close to” the lake. 


Is there any particular advice you have been giving buyers most often these days regarding buying a home near the lake?   

Lakefront homes are a terrific investment because there is only so much lakefront property available. They are typically in limited supply therefore always driving prices up. I would recommend spending a little extra to have an actual lakefront rather than “close to” the lake.


What are your predictions for real estate in your local lake town regions? What can we expect to see this year and into the future?

Lakefront properties have always been in demand and history has shown us lakefront homes have been proven to be a strong investment due to limited supply.  I expect this will not change in the future and actually will increase in demand due to the limited supply and people reevaluating their live/work lifestyles.

For more insight into current market trends and the world’s most dynamic real estate destinations, browse our other recent In the Knows: The Rise of Lake Town Real Estate in Tahoe & Beyond, Today’s Golf Course Home Market, Palm Beach to Palm Springs and Buying Real Estate in Panama, Visas & More.

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