Coronavirus Effects Boost Seller’s Market in Michigan Lakefront Homes

Major long-term shifts in work and leisure driven by the Covid-19 pandemic have elevated demand for lakefront homes, triggering a seller’s market where prices are steady or rising amid larger economic uncertainty.

Expanding opportunities to work from home and suspension of some traditional recreational and vacation activities, such as children’s summer camps and long-distance travel, make a lake home a sought-after investment, says Paul DeLano, broker-owner of The Lake Life Realty Group that is the leading seller of lake homes in Southwest Michigan. 

“If they’re going to work from home and they have that kind of flexibility, they’d rather be out on the lake where they can finish a Zoom call and then take their kid out on the inner tube,” DeLano says. “Families are rethinking not only their summer plans but also their vacation plans. They want to invest in a year-round lake home where they can control the environment.”

DeLano and his full-time buyer’s agent Peggy Gonyon, sold 20 lake properties in 20 days after they reopened their office in, on May 7th. On May 26th, they listed one house and had 10 new buyer inquiries. Clients point to new work-life arrangements they expect to become permanent.

DeLano, who once appeared on HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt, says lake home inventory is down 25 percent and interest rates are at historic lows, close to 3 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage. The low supply and high demand boosts prices despite signs of a wider economic downturn.

“If you’ve ever considered selling your lake home,” he says. “there’s never been a better time.”