Monday, October 13, 2008

Lakeshore Market Statistics for Forest Lake, MN—Clear Lake & Forest Lake Sales


A few weeks back I received a phone call from a lovely lady thanking me for my informative post on the lakeshore market in the Twin Cities north metro. She lives in Forest Lake on Clear Lake and was considering selling next summer After reading my article, Think Now is a GREAT Time to Make a DEAL on a MN Lakeshore Home? I Do!, she was concerned about the changing market and wanted more specifics on how homes on Clear Lake were fairing today. She didn’t want a market analysis of her home, just some statistics on what was really selling on Clear Lake. I told her that was a very good question and the sales values would be very different than what was happening on other area lakes. I said that I would look into the situation further and get back to her. I also told her that her query could become my next post. She thought that was a terrific idea so here it is.

First of all, many people may not realize that the City of Forest Lake, Miinnesota has several lakes and the lake, Forest Lake itself is really 3 lakes, First, Second and Third. All three are full recreational lakes and are connected by channels but the lakeshore on the different has different levels of desirability and hence drastically differing values. First Lake is the largest and most coveted shoreline. Similarly, Clear Lake is nearby Forest Lake. It is a full recreational lake but it is not connected to Forest Lake. Many people driving past the City of Forest Lake as they head up on 35 toward Duluth will mistake Clear Lake for Forest Lake as it is the only lake visible from the freeway. It is just to the east of 35 and there is a small fishing pier and boat landing visible from the road.

So how has Clear Lake real estate faired during the market slow down? My research showed very little activity in the past year. In fact, only one home has sold so far in 2008 and three homes were sold in 2007. The home sold in 2008 had been recently remodeled and sold within days of listing for an amount significantly higher than its stated tax value. This is very unusual and on the surface sounds like great news for Clear Lake homeowners but it is only one house and so the information taken alone is misleading.

Taking the three homes sold in 2007 into account, the picture is clearer but not as rosy. Averaging all four homes, the days on the market (DOM) expands to 135 for the SOLD homes on Clear Lake. Since each of the homes is drastically different in age, style, shoreline, acreage and condition, I did not want to average the value. Rather I compared the homes sales prices to the current listed tax values from the Washington County Assessor.

Here is what I found:

  • A home on 217th sold for $463K and has a current tax value of $332K. It sold for significantly more than its tax value.
  • A home on Everton sold for $295K and has a current tax value of $277K. It sold for slightly more than its tax value.
  • A home on 210th sold for $320K and has a current tax value of $441K. This is significantly lower than the county has listed (and more in the norm for what is happening in the marketplace).
  • A home on Fondant sold for $682K and has a tax value of $530K. Again very high compared to the tax record.
Then I averaged the sales prices to come up with an average; it appears that the homes on Clear Lake are selling at 1.15% of tax value based on the 2007 and 2008 sales data.

There are also four homes currently listed on the lake that and the cumulative DOM is considerably higher. The average DOM is over 440 days for these four lakeshore homes. Also two of the homes are listed at prices significantly higher than tax value:
  • 21XXX Everton $270K List, $278K Tax
  • 21XXX Floral Bay $406K List, $441 Tax
  • 57XX 220th $680K List, $375K Tax
  • 51XX 217th $949K List, $703K Tax
The first two homes were originally listed at $340K and $475K respectively. I think it is possible that the prices on these homes were brought down to under tax value so that they would have a better opportunity to sell. This seems to be inline with what is currently happening in most segments of the real estate market today.

Since there were so few sales on Clear Lake, I also compared tax values to sale prices for lakeshore homes on Forest Lake during the past 12 months. On Forest Lake (Lakes First Second and Third combined), 17 previously owned homes sold with lakeshore. The tax record to sales price ratio was 1.01% just slightly over tax value.
To get a true picture of what a lakeshore home value would be in the market place today, it would be most prudent to have a property specific market analysis done. But, if you just want a ball park value, take a close look at your Washington County tax statement. Unless your home has significant recent improvements or is significantly distressed, its current value in today’s market is very close to the assessed value.

More Articles on Forest Lake and Lakeshore that might be of interest:

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
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