Looking west over Welch Island, Gilford towards the sunset.

Looking west over Welch Island, Gilford towards the sunset. (Courtesy photo)

The thunder of motorcycles has arrived in the Lakes Region. After a long year of social distancing and isolation, everyone is looking forward to getting out and living life. I hope the weather is great and everyone has an amazing time in our beautiful Lakes Region.

Among all of the hustle and bustle of Motorcycle Week, just a little offshore of Lake Winnipesaukee’s 72 square miles of water are 258 unique islands. Six of the islands are connected to the mainland by bridges, including Long Island, Governors Island, Black Cat Island, Oak Island, Christmas Island, and Worcester Island. Not all of the remaining islands are habitable. However, island living on Lake Winnipesaukee is a magical experience with cool breezes, gorgeous views, and a feeling of “getting away from it all.” Memories of shimmering red sunsets or brilliant sunrises and tranquility create a feeling of lasting lifetime memories for island dwellers. What resonates most… the sense of being on a mini-vacation, just far enough away to make even simple obligations fade from the back of our minds.

Island living seems like an idyllic lakefront experience; however, there are a few things to consider when determining if island living is right for you and your family:

• Unlike mainland waterfront, you only get the late spring to fall months of use, a disadvantage if you’re a skier, snowboarder, or winter enthusiast. However, an advantage if the summer season is of primary importance.

• Island properties are quite more affordable than mainland waterfront properties.

• Island properties require a boat and a mainland boat slip, slip rental at a local marina, or use of town docking facilities with restriction of use.

• The majority of island properties rely on lake water for showering and cooking, and drinking water must be carried onto the island unless an artesian well exists.

• The water clarity is generally more favorable for island properties.

• The wooded landscapes, with large undeveloped centers of the islands, provide an ideal environment for hiking, exploring, kayaking, and swimming in a natural environment.

• Generally speaking, island living is more quiet, peaceful, and serene compared to mainland waterfront living.

• Many of the larger islands provide underwater electrical and internet, and telephone services.

• Several of the largest islands have common parking/boat launch areas on the mainland.

• Keep in mind you have to be a person who does not depend on all modern conveniences. You must travel by boat, there are no grocery stores, trash needs to be brought back, sometimes the weather is not conducive, and you need to be adventurous your boat becomes your car…but the rewards are there if you enjoy this independent, carefree lifestyle.

Here’s a comparison of island property sales on Lake Winnipesaukee during the past two years:

6/4/2019-6/4/2020 (12 months of closed sales):

• 19 island waterfront sales closed on Lake Winnipesaukee.

• The average sales price was $518,000.

• The median sales price was $440,000.

• The lowest sales price was $325,000.

• The highest sales price was $1,050,000.

• Total sales volume was $9,842,000.

• Median days on the market was 59.

6/4/2020-6/4/2021 (12 months of closed sales):

• 22 island waterfront sales closed on Lake Winnipesaukee.

• The average sales price was $734,590. (a 41.8% increase)

• The median sales price was $601,000. (a 36.6% increase)

• The lowest sales price was $425,000. (a 30.8% increase)

• The highest sales price was $1,450,000. (a 38.1% increase)

• Total sales volume was $16,161,000. (a 64.2% increase)

• Median days on the market was 20. (a 66.1% decrease)

So what do we see from the above from the past two years?

• Sales of the number of homes on the islands are up 15.8%.

• Total sales volume on the islands is up 64.2%!

• The number of days on the market has shown a 66.1% decrease! Showing very strong demand.

• The average sales price is up 41.8% & the median prices are up 36.6%.

• The number of current active listings of island properties on Lake Winnipesaukee is only 6 listings, of which 2 are land listings only!

All of the above brings me to one famous quote by Mark Twain “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Mark Twain was born in 1835 and died in 1910. During those years, Mark Twain was not focused on island properties on Lake Winnipesaukee. However, if he was around today, he might likely say, “Don’t wait to buy island real estate on Lake Winnipesaukee, buy island real estate on Lake Winnipesaukee and wait.”

•••

This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Island sales data was compiled by a NEREN map search on 06/9/2021 at 10:00 a.m. EST and is subject to change. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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