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.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
The Price of Real Estate

Did The Price of Real Estate Increase in Your Town?

Everyone’s always interested to see how their real estate values have performed over the past …

Read More →
Laid off employee in recession

Are We Headed into a Recession?

It’s pretty big news lately; Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies have laid off more …

Read More →
Price Reduced

2022 vs. 2021 — Is The Lakes Region’s Frenzied Market Over?

It’s that time of year to provide all of you with an update on real …

Read More →
Roche Realty Meredith

Roche Realty Group Reports a Record of $181 Million in Sales

               Meredith- Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc, …

Read More →
Hillside Inn Winter

12 Things To Get You Through The Winter Months

On December 21st, the winter solstice marked the start of when days will begin to …

Read More →
Housing Inventory Lacking - Lake Winnisquam, NH

Lake Winnisquam, NH’s 4th Largest Lake is in Strong Demand

There are literally 273 lakes, ponds and rivers to enjoy in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. …

Read More →
Interest Rates

Will We Ever See 1980s Interest Rates?

I was with a Realtor® friend of mine this past week, and we discussed what …

Read More →
Hikers overlooking the lake in New Hampshire, voted "Best State to Live in America" in 2020.

Squam Lake — a Lakes Region Treasure

This past summer, I was invited for lunch and a nice boat ride around Squam …

Read More →
Shop Local New Hampshire

Small Business Saturday in New Hampshire!

We have many things to be thankful for here in New Hampshire, plenty of natural …

Read More →
Couple downsizing to smaller home

Does Downsizing Your Home in Lakes Region Make Sense?

There are many things to consider when planning to sell your home to downsize into …

Read More →
Newfound Lake, New Hampshire

Newfound Lake is the 8th clearest lake in US

Newfound Lake is the 8th clearest lake in the United States New Hampshire has a …

Read More →
Echo Lake New Hampshire

New Hampshire Rankings are Impressive!

New Hampshire has always been fortunate to land in many of the country’s top 10 …

Read More →
Lakeside at Paugus Bay

Impressive New Construction in the Lakes Region

For new construction sales in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, 2022 has shown very impressive results. …

Read More →
Inflation and housing prices

How Inflation Impacts Lakes Region Housing Prices

I was out with a friend this week on Squam Lake, and we were talking …

Read More →
Picture of author in the Grand Canyon

Is Lake Region Real Estate Drying Up Like The Southwest?

I just returned from a trip to Nevada, Arizona, and Utah this past week. Put …

Read More →
Brook Hill at Meredith: New luxury homes in Meredith, NH

Brisk Sales at Brook Hill in Meredith

Meredith— Sales at Brook Hill, a new luxury townhouse community in Meredith, have been exceptional …

Read More →

Impressive Sales at Lakeside at Paugus Bay

Laconia— Sales at Lakeside at Paugus Bay, a new luxury waterfront condominium community on Lake …

Read More →

Four Decades of Change in Lakes Region Real Estate

We were talking in the office the other day regarding how much the real estate …

Read More →
Supply and demand graph, real estate housing

The driving forces in the demand for NH housing

It is no secret that our country has seen some incredible growth in the real …

Read More →
Holderness, NH

Holderness Bridges Big Squam and Little Squam

Holderness is a lakeside community in the foothills of the white mountains on New Hampshire’s …

Read More →
high inflation

Energy & Ukraine Crisis Compared to 1970s Inflation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has emerged as a black swan event rattling the world during …

Read More →
Tilton, NH

Tilton — The Gateway to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region

Tilton, New Hampshire, is considered the gateway to New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region because of …

Read More →
Map of USA: How Real Estate Trends affect the Lakes Region

How Real Estate Trends Affect the Lakes Region

New Hampshire’s Lakes Region & New Hampshire Can you believe a new analysis from Zillow …

Read More →
Laconia NH

Laconia, NH — A City on the Rise

The 17,000 resident “City on the Lakes” is nestled on the shores of three of …

Read More →
Two ice sailing enthusiasts on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Waterfront Sales Activity and Real Estate News

Here’s an update on the waterfront sales activity that we experienced over the past two …

Read More →
Tuftonboro, NH

Tuftonboro — “The Diamond in The Heart of New Hampshire”

Located just west of Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro is called “The Diamond in the Heart of New …

Read More →
Aerial view of Lake Winnisquam and Sanbornton, New Hampshire

The Rural Character of Sanbornton, New Hampshire

Sanbornton embodies all that one expects to find in an old New England town. This …

Read More →
Castle in The Clouds is one of Moultonborough's largest attractions.

Moultonborough’s 66 Miles of Shorefront Captivates

By landmass Moultonborough, NH is the largest lakefront community in the Lakes Region with 59.7 …

Read More →
Kevin Shaw - Roche Realty Group

Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group is Top Producer for 2021

Laconia— Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, recently …

Read More →
Wolfeboro, NH — The Oldest Summer Resort Town In America

Wolfeboro, NH — The Oldest Summer Resort Town In America

Wolfeboro: a Brief History Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains and on the …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Reports Record of $170 Million in Sales

Meredith- Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc, with offices in Meredith and Laconia, has …

Read More →
Meredith NH

Gilford and Meredith NH – How Do They Compare?

There are 25 towns and cities comprising the Lakes Region. This week I thought I …

Read More →

EM Heath, LLC Acquires 1084 Union Ave in Laconia

The future of Ace Hardware EM Heath LLC in Laconia became solidified this past week …

Read More →
Roche Realty Group Sells Landmark Commercial Building in Gilford, NH

Roche Realty Group Sells Landmark Gilford Commercial Building

Gilford- One of the most visible, historic landmark commercial properties in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region …

Read More →
New Commercial Constructioin in Lakes Region

Commercial Sales Increasing in the Lakes Region

Recently I’ve been outlining the sales activity for residential, waterfront, and multi-family apartments in the …

Read More →
Laconia NH Commercial Building Sale

New Owner for 8,447 Sqft. Commercial Building in Laconia

Laconia— Exciting news for the downtown Laconia district. Another substantial commercial building, including approximately 8,447 …

Read More →

Strong Demand for Multi-Family Apartments in NH’s Lakes Region

Last week I was driving through Loudon Road in Concord in the busy heights area, …

Read More →
NH Lake

Area Lakes Show Considerable Appreciation

Below you will find data and insight into what’s happening in sales activity on 8 …

Read More →
inflation in shopping center / grocery store

More Inflation Concerns

More Inflation Concerns I submitted an article a while ago titled “Is Our Current Inflation …

Read More →
Alpenrose Village Retail Center located at Rte. 11 B / Rte. 3 in Weirs Beach, Laconia

Roche Realty Group Sells Alpenrose Village Retail Center

Laconia, NH – Tom Drouin of Roche Realty Group in Meredith represented both the seller and the …

Read More →
As the Real Estate Season Turns

As the Real Estate Season Turns

“There’s hope for buyers on the horizon, with more real estate opportunity to come.” This …

Read More →

10 Things to Consider if You’re Buying in a Seller’s Market

Anyone looking to buy a home today knows they are in a seller’s market, which …

Read More →

Third Quarter Update – Lakes Region Real Estate Activity

I’ve pulled up some data to provide all of you with some current insight on …

Read More →
Home Maintenance - Person repairing wall in house

Home maintenance the difference between sold and stuck

Be honest… is your home in need of some repairs? Because the truthful answer to …

Read More →
Coins stacked up indicting inflation

Is our Current Inflation “Transitory?”

The Federal Reserve officials have described the current period of high inflation as “transitory.” In …

Read More →
ABBA Tribute performing at the Lakeport Opera House

Meet you at the Lakeport Opera House

Last Saturday, Nancy and I were invited to the Lakeport Opera House to take in …

Read More →
Picture of

The New Hampshire Advantage

All of us who live in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region certainly have lots to …

Read More →

Just like vacation seasons, vacation homes come and go

When you think about it, all homes are actually seasonal properties. Whether it’s a primary …

Read More →

Hunt for lower prices like a lone wolf

If you ever watched Saturday morning cartoons back in the day, you may recall Looney …

Read More →
Birds eye view of Lakes Region New Hampshire

Lakes Region Real Estate Market 6-Month Comparison

We are halfway through 2021 already, and as we head down the second-half stretch, I’ve …

Read More →

Leave a Comment