I live close to Lake Lanier in the Buford/Sugar Hill area.
Water levels won't have as much of an impact on home values on the lake as much as the economy. Many homes on Lanier are second homes or vacation homes for many people and everyone is cutting back on these types of expenses. Finding a property on the water with a dock permit is still an expensive investment, but it's all relative to what kind of budget you are working with.
There are some great properties available that can be just around the corner from the lake and may even have lake views. In my opinion you can save alot of money this way and afford to keep a boat in a marina if you have to.
Here is a quick search link to some lake properties for you to review.
I can set up a custom search for you based on your exact search specifications that will allow you to map the properties and notify you as new homes come on the market.
Let me know if I can assist you with your home search. I would be happy to help you find what you are looking for.
ERA Sunrise Realty
You provide some, but noit enough info for a good answer. I tell my buyers to describe the perfect home - in as much detail as they can - as this will allow me to work up a detailed opinion and formulate a buying strategy.
In your case, a few of the variables include: Price range, size, age, condition, special features, time frame, your loan qualification status, home to sell....Once that info is in hand, we can better offer suggestions and plan a strategy for you. You'll find a good agent will solicit additional info you don't even think about during the course of the buyer's interview.
As far as the lake itself, the drought has had an impact as has the economy in general. There are very good buys on Lanier right now.
Hope this helps -
Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta
The drought has effected some of the values of the properties as Deep Water homes are a little bit more sought after.
However, the biggest change was the end of the dock permits, so now those properties are increasing in value.
At the end of the day, the "other" homes are not effected one bit by the drought but more so by the economy. Lake Lanier is close enough to Atlanta to warrant it being your primary residence, but the second home market is all but dried up in this location.
Lake Lanier is no different than the rest of Metro Atlanta in that regard.
I'm not 100% clear on what you are asking. It would be a good time to buy on Lanier - we all know the water's coming back one day!!
There are properties of all prices and sizes available now. The BIGGEST thing by far is to try to purchase a property that already has a dock permit, as they are not issuing any more at this time. That's where the expense starts to come in.
I have a friend who is a builder and grew up on the lake. He mostly builds $1M+ houses, but he knows the area there well and may have some inside information on available properties. My brother-in-law also bought up there (Dawson county) a few years ago and got a steal on a shack that he has since renovated.
You might look at getting into Dawson county to cut down on expenses if you are open to that. Forsyth, as you mentioned, could be an option for you.
There are a number of properties on the market on all parts of the lake right now and I would be happy to talk with you a little more to talk specifics if you want.
Your timing to buy is terrific. During the next six months as the fed buys down mortgage rates you should see rates on a 30 year fixed as low as 4.5 %. Also since the Lake Lanier market has excess inventory there are many good deals to be had. The reason for this excess inventory is many of our traditional Buyers are trapped in their own markets and unable to sell their existing homes in order to buy here. Add to that the severe drought during the last 2.5 years and resulting low water levels many buyers are wary about buying on the lake at this time, even though this is only the third such drought in 50 years.
It is truly a Buyer's market and this is also the slowest part of the year for lake sales, therefore a great time to buy.
Since your budget is limited you may want to focus on a move in condition fixer upper that gets you living on the lake at the lowest dollar entry point, but allows you to increase your equity through improvements over time.
The most important decision you will make as you start the process, is selecting your Realtor. There only are about 20 Realtors or less that live on Lanier, specialize strictly on lakefront property, and have the experience of selling hundreds of properties on Lanier. They sell about 60% -70% of all properties on Lanier although you will find that hundreds claim to be lake specialists. With some 700 miles of shoreline the Lake is a very complicated market and has an amazing number of different types water conditions, boating conditions, and homes and neighborhoods and it it takes years of experience to gain the knowledge needed to best serve Buyer Clinets such as your self. Before you select a Realtor check to see if they have Buyer references, check to see if they have sold over 30 million in Lake front property (Their Broker can answer that question), check to see if they are a member of the Lake Lanier Realtors Association, the Lake Lanier Association and the 1071 Coalition. These are must haves for those that would claim to be a "Lake Realtor"
As an Accredited Buyers Agent and long time Lake Lanier Realtor I would be happy to get you fully up to speed on the current market conditions and assist with your search for your lake front home. Please visit my website and call me to start your search.