Valuation Model for Water Access Properties in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire

Post written by Chuck Braxton, REALTOR®, Roche Realty Group, Inc.

Water access communities are ones where the property owners have deeded rights to use a separate waterfront parcel. Some communities also have other common lands for roads, parking, tennis courts, recreation, etc. The terms “beach access”, “deeded beach rights”, “shared access” are also used, but “range way access” or a “right-of-way to water” are more limited rights. Unlike cottage colonies or condominiums, water access community owners own their lots.

The shared waterfront may have varying degrees of development ranging from beach, swimming and picnic areas; club houses; storage facilities for lawn chairs or canoes and kayaks to facilities that are regulated by the State of New Hampshire such as docks, boat slips, and mooring fields.

Water access communities emerged in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire in the mid-1950’s and became prevalent in the 1960’s. However, the excesses of some developers of these communities caused towns in the Region to enact “anti-funneling” ordinances by the 1970’s.

These regulations required new developments to have significantly more waterfront per lot than typically had been used and strictly limited waterfront property owners from granting additional water access rights to back lot owners. Other state and local zoning and development regulations such as minimum lot sizes based on water and waste water requirements further limited development of new water access communities.

Within the past five to ten years, the value of waterfront began to rise rapidly putting it out of reach of many. Buyers turned to water access communities as a more affordable option. However, these buyers brought their wants for waterfront property with them.

Thus, the value of properties in a water access community is primarily determined by how similar the lots are to waterfront parcels. Additionally, the regulatory restrictions limit supply, while affordability is driving demand.

The following model was developed to aid buyers and sellers of water access properties understanding of the factors that contribute to value in a water access community. Its correlation has been tested in water access communities on Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Winnisquam, Newfound Lake, and Lake Waukewan.

While the model will yield reasonably accurate results among different communities on the same lake (or in the case of Winnipesaukee, in the same area of the lake), comparing the values of properties on different lakes should be done with caution. In general, prospective buyers who eventually purchase seem to first make a decision on community lifestyle and general location, then focus on specific properties.

Details of the Valuation Model: In water access communities at the major water bodies in the Lakes Region, the determinants of value for properties are (in order of priority):

1. View of the water with properties having:
• No view of the water being the norm with no adder above median value.
• Seasonal views of the water having an adder of $10,000 – $40,000.
• Year-round water view having an adder of $35,000 – $75,000.

Why is this important? A water view is the most sought-after feature at water access properties, yet only a few lots in these communities offer any view of the lake. When a property has a view of the water its value is closer to the value of owned waterfront.

For example, on Newfound Lake only 2% of the lots at Tobey Development in Bridgewater have year round water views and only 2 or 3 have seasonal views; for Camelot Acres in Bristol, only 6% have year round water views and there are only 1 or 2 with seasonal views.

2. Distance to the beach from the property with properties located:
• Less than 350 yards from the beach being worth 1.4+x median distance;
• At or near median distance to beach for the community being base; and
• 1.2x median or more than 1,000 yards from the beach being worth 0.8x or less.

Why is this important? The waterfront qualities of a lot decrease as distance from the beach increases. In the typical Lakes Region beach access community there will be lots over a mile from the beach so proximity to the waterfront has value.

For example, on Newfound Lake the median distance to the beach is about 750 yards for the larger water access communities.

3. Lot size relative to median lot size in the community with properties having:
• 1.4x or more than median size being worth 1.2-1.3x;
• Near median size for the community being base; and
• Less than median size being worth less in direct proportion or less as size decreases.

On Newfound Lake the median lot size for Tobey Development in Bridgewater is 0.47 acres; for Camelot Acres in Bristol, 0.4 acres.

Why? Development potential and privacy are limited on lots at the median size since they are smaller than the towns allow for building today. Lots approaching the current standard lot size offer greater development potential and the opportunity for privacy unequaled in the community. It is important to understand the extent to which lots surrounding a property have been developed as it can be surprising to learn that the apparent privacy of a median sized lot is really created by undeveloped abutting lots.

Other Valuation Factors: Site improvements such as paved drive, water well, state approved septic system (no value for a pre-1970’s system), outbuildings, detached garage, landscaping (if enhanced), and retaining walls must be added to reach total lot value. For post-1974 construction on a permanent foundation with full headroom, the value of year-round residential structures typically falls in a range of $75-$90/sq. ft. based on heated living area above grade.

Illustrative Case: On Whittemore Point at Newfound Lake (Tobey Development, Bridgewater, NH), the value of median size (0.47 acres) located at median distance from the beach (750 yards +/-) with no view of the water is $90,000 based on two 2005 sales. Thus, the value of a lot twice median size, 100 yards from the beach with a year round water view is at least ($90,000 x 1.2 x 1.4)+$50,000 = $200,000. Add, site improvements at  35,000 and the home at 960 sq. ft. (screened porch excluded here) for $72,000-$86,000. Total value is $307,000 to $321,000.

About the Author: Chuck Braxton is a REALTOR® with the Meredith office of Roche Realty Group, Inc. He has applied his 25+ years of experience as a business executive to the challenges facing owners and buyers of real estate in the Lakes Region. Mr. Braxton has authored several articles and financial models on valuation for project development and real estate applications. In addition to this article, current works include: The Tax-Deferred Exchange: Is It Right for You?; What Is That View Worth?; and a series on values of waterfront, water access, and vintage properties in the Lakes & Mountains Region of New Hampshire. His website is at  www.ChuckBraxton.com. Mr. Braxton may be reached at his direct line: 603.677.2154, by email: cbraxton@metrocast.net or toll free any time of day or evening at 800/926.5253, extension 342.

Needs and Wants When Buying a Home Balanced

Balancing Needs and Wants When Buying a Home

In the current housing market, where choices are often limited, and demand frequently outstrips supply, ...
Read More →
Only two homes for sale at South Down Shores and Long Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee pictured above

Spotlight on Homes: New Hampshire Market Analysis

At present time, there are 1,007 single-family homes for sale in New Hampshire. The median ...
Read More →
New Hampshire Ranks High in Recent Studies

New Hampshire Ranks High in Recent Studies

Every day in our industry, we see how rising home prices have made it more ...
Read More →
South Down Shores Barn Complex Transformation

South Down Shores Barn Complex Transformation

In 1981, the transformation of Laconia’s scenic South Down Farm began, converting the former 126-acre ...
Read More →
Massachusetts and New Hampshire - a Tale of Two States

Massachusetts and New Hampshire – a Tale of Two States

Most of my articles talk about housing, trends, home values, and the desirable lifestyle we ...
Read More →
Spring flowers at the Belknap Mill in Laconia, New Hampshire

Spring Trends in Lakes Region Properties

It’s been one of those winters, or should I say lack of winters, that we ...
Read More →
Sales Snapshot: The Current Highest Prices Property For Sale in The Lakes Region Is on Governor's Island for $12,998,000

Sales Snapshot: New Hampshire’s Affordability Challenge

As we spring into March and approach our busy spring selling season, I thought I’d ...
Read More →
Gunstock Mountain in Gilford, NH

Gunstock: Gem of the Lakes Region

Nestled among the stoic peaks of the Belknap Mountain range in the heart of New ...
Read More →
Roche Realty Group Announces Top Producers for 2023

Roche Realty Group Announces Top Producers for 2023

Meredith — Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group, announced the top five producers for the ...
Read More →
AI and the Future of Real Estate

AI and the Future of Real Estate

Imagine, if you will, looking at a mysterious picture box filled with a whole world ...
Read More →
Prices rise Broadview Condominiums originally sold to the developer for $500,000

Prices Rise Ahead of Super Bowl Sunday

We’ve got a great match coming up for this year’s Super Bowl…The 49ers vs. the ...
Read More →
Smart Moves in Condominium Ownership Samoset

Smart Moves in Condominium Ownership

Here in the Lakes Region, a good part of our residential housing inventory is in ...
Read More →
Land Sales Unveiled: New Hampshire's 2023 Market

Land Sales Unveiled: New Hampshire’s 2023 Market

New Hampshire The Granite State… true to its motto, “Live Free or Die”, which encapsulates ...
Read More →
Exploring Cash Sales Dynamics in Lakes Region Real Estate

Exploring Cash Sales Dynamics in Lakes Region Real Estate

I was at a sales meeting at Roche Realty Group the other day, and we ...
Read More →
Roche Realty Meredith

Roche Realty Group Reports Over $150 Million in Sales

               Meredith- Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc., ...
Read More →
Lincoln, New Hampshire Riverwalk Resort

Lincoln, New Hampshire: From Mill Town to Ski Destination

Tucked in the heart of New Hampshire, sprawling across 131 square miles of varied terrain, ...
Read More →
Lakes Region Towns Stand Out For Their Spirit of Giving

Celebrating the Spirit of “Giving” in the Lakes Region

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of New Hampshire, the Lakes Region stands out not only ...
Read More →
AI's Impact on the future of real estate

Real Estate’s Future: The Impact of AI

The other day, I was talking with my son Chris about the changes in the ...
Read More →
NH Lake Sales Activity - picture of lake with mountains and homes

Lakes Region Waterfront Sales 2022 vs. 2023

We’re getting near the end of the year, and I thought I would pull up ...
Read More →
Winter Snowmobile

Real Estate in a Winter Wonderland

As I drove around the other day with my kids, I was looking at some ...
Read More →
Toys for Tots Drive

Roche Realty Host Annual Toys for Tots Drive

As the holiday season approaches, Roche Realty Group is excited to announce the kickoff of ...
Read More →
Small Business Saturday New Hampshire

Small Business Saturday Living Gratefully in New Hampshire

We have so many things to be thankful for here in New Hampshire: plenty of ...
Read More →
Annie Brown Joins Roche Realty Group

Annie Brown Joins Roche Realty Group

Meredith — Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc., with offices in Meredith and ...
Read More →
Gunstock Mountain in Gilford, NH

Gunstock Upgrades for Winter as Real Estate Shows Resilient Growth

As the leaves of New Hampshire’s forests transition from the vibrant hues of fall to ...
Read More →
Preserving New Hampshire's Lakes

Preserving New Hampshire’s Lakes: A Community Effort

With over 250 lakes and ponds throughout New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, there are unlimited outdoor ...
Read More →
Home Inspections — The Uninspected Abode: A Spine-chilling Tale of Regret and Terror!

The Uninspected Home: A Spine-chilling Tale of Regret and Terror!

One night, not many years ago, in a quaint, somber town nestled amidst the haunting ...
Read More →
Interest Rates

Interest Rates Impacted by Treasury Yields

It looks like the national picture for housing stats has not improved in recent months; ...
Read More →
Local Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions

Local Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions

Our communities are facing a shortage of both residential and commercial properties, a scenario that’s ...
Read More →
Fall Splendor In New Hampshire

Fall Splendor in New Hampshire

New Hampshire in the fall is akin to stepping into a live canvas painting — ...
Read More →
Samoset Condominiums on Lake Winnipesaukee

Condominium Sales Surge in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region!

As we start entering October’s bright fall colors, I thought I’d take a look at ...
Read More →
Empowering your offer

Empower Your Offer in a Sizzling Real Estate Market!

As a seasoned real estate professional, I often consider the market conditions to keep myself, ...
Read More →
Reviews of New Hampshire's Lakes Region

Reviews of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region

We’ve had a great summer in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, and we’re approaching the brilliant ...
Read More →
Waterfont Sales Activity Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

Waterfront Sales Activity in the Lakes Region

As we head into September, I have compiled data and insight into what is happening ...
Read More →
Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend in The Lakes Region

Labor Day Weekend has arrived, and the weather forecast for the Lakes Region looks fantastic, ...
Read More →
Interest Rates

The Mortgage Interest Rate Dilemma

This past week, we saw an increase in mortgage rates following a rise in bond ...
Read More →
Best State To Live In — New Hampshire at #3

New Hampshire 3rd Best State To Live In!

WalletHub just released its rankings of the best state to live in for 2023. It’s ...
Read More →
City/Town Comparison can make the research process easier

City/Town Comparison For Your Move

Some studies place moving to a new location as one of the top ten most ...
Read More →
New Hampshire Real Estate Lacks Inventory

New Hampshire Real Estate Inventory Crisis

A Multifaceted Analysis of Rising Interest Rates and Beyond New Hampshire is currently facing a ...
Read More →
Peaks of New England

Exploring the Peaks of New England

In my younger years in school, I always loved geography. Living in New Hampshire, there ...
Read More →
Climate Exodus: Insurance Companies Seeking Refuge from High-Risk Sates

Climate Exodus: Insurers’ Fleeing High-Risk States

Flooding, Forest Fires, Heat Waves, Tornados, oh my! The recent stretch of weather has certainly ...
Read More →
Real Estate News Headlines - Lakes Region NH

Real Estate Tidbits to Consider

Here are a few real estate tidbits I’ve pulled to keep you up to speed ...
Read More →
Roche Realty Group Sells out Lakeside at Paugus Bay

Roche Realty Group — 6 Months in Review

Closed sales for the first 6 months of 2023 have been impressive at Roche Realty ...
Read More →
Newfound Lake

Lakes Region Waterfront Sales Activity 6 Month Comparison

Below you will find data and insight into what is happening in sales activity on ...
Read More →
Buying Land

Buying Land in New Hampshire — Comprehensive Guide

New Hampshire, also known as the Granite State, offers a diverse landscape that includes picturesque ...
Read More →
Weirs Beach: A Tale of History, Community, and Natural Beauty

Weirs Beach: A Tale of History, Community, and Natural Beauty

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the oldest bike week in the country, let’s ...
Read More →
First Five Months of Lakes Region Real Estate

Five Months of Lakes Region Real Estate Activity

The month of May’s real estate statistics just came out for New Hampshire, and it ...
Read More →
A bird's eye view of Long Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee

South Down Shores and Long Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee — Its History

When construction started in 1981, Laconia’s South Down Farm offered a picturesque setting for condominium ...
Read More →
Memorial Day — rows of gravestones with flags in military cemetery

Memorial Day Weekend Arrives in the Lakes Region!

The long-anticipated Memorial Day weekend has arrived after a long winter, and the Lakes Region ...
Read More →
Unlike the dandelions new listings aren't popping up in the Lakes Region

Will Listings Start Bloom Like Dandelions?

Will Real Estate Listings Bloom Like Dandelions? During my rides around the Lakes Region, I’ve ...
Read More →
boat launch

Public Boat Launches in the Lakes Region

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is a paradise for boating enthusiasts and we are now entering ...
Read More →

Leave a Comment