I have seen many vacationers, second-home owners and tourists drive along Union Avenue, (Route 3) through Laconia’s major artery and never really see some of the great housing opportunities and neighborhoods that exist along the easterly shore of Lake Winnisquam, west of Union Avenue.
They drive past box stores in Tilton and approach Laconia’s downtown and travel through a myriad of franchise restaurants along Paugus Bay. Many of them do not realize that there is a real hidden secret – two wonderful neighborhoods which enjoy large private association beaches on Lake Winnisquam. Lake Winnisquam is New Hampshire's third-largest lake, with approximately 4,264 acres of pristine water and is roughly a tenth the size of Lake Winnipesaukee in surface area. It is a deep lake, with a maximum depth of 154 feet and an average depth of 52 feet. The lake shoreline is 28 miles long, measuring 5.4 miles long and approximately 1.7 miles wide. There are 5 islands on Lake Winnisquam and five towns enjoy shore frontage.
On the southerly end of Shore Drive in Laconia is a wonderful residential neighborhood with homes fronting on Shore Drive and neighboring streets that belong to the Lakewood Beach Association on Lake Winnisquam. Rarely do you find a natural beach with such a breathtaking setting. The association beach includes roughly 1,280 feet of sandy shorefront on 4.65 acres and is set back nicely from the road. All members of this association in the neighborhood have deeded beach right to this wonderful amenity. It rivals small state parks like Ellacoya or Wellington, on a smaller scale. The huge natural sandy beach is enjoyed by all residents, who gather for swimming, sunbathing, family parties, BBQs and an association beach party. It's a great family neighborhood where children can make lasting friendships and memories and the parents can interact socially with their neighbors. There are some moorings for small sailboats and lots of kayak and canoe racks for association members. The annual dues are only $85 per year, which is minimal compared to other associations in the Lakes Region. All of the homes include city water and sewer. This established neighborhood is beautifully landscaped and the individual lots are spacious and great for families to enjoy.
Just up the road, there is another wonderful water access association. The Wildwood Shores Association is a similar residential community and includes deeded beach rights to Wildwood Shores Beach, a 345 feet natural sandy beach on 1.61 acres with men’s and ladies bath house, kayak and canoe racks, a boat launch and some boat moorings. Around the corner they have tennis courts for residents. In addition to the single-family homes, which have deeded beach rights, The Wildwood Village Condominium also has right to the association beach. All the condominium homes are spread throughout the neighborhood with an attractive pond. The Wildwood Village won a design award in "Professional Builder" magazine when it was constructed. All of these homes include City Water and Sewer. The annual dues are very reasonable.
Throughout both communities, there is a wonderful mix of architectural designs to choose from, from capes to ranches, garrisons, colonials, splits and contemporaries. Also, there is a wonderful selection of custom waterfront homes along Shore Drive. At the beginning of my real estate career, in the late 1970s, the two neighborhoods were primarily used by full time residents. Over the years, however, I have seen a big transition. Many second-home owners have discovered the natural beauty of the area with its gorgeous beaches and close proximity to downtown Laconia, shopping, restaurants and golf courses. Likewise, both neighborhoods are within 15 minutes to Gunstock. In summary, there is a wonderful mix of year-round residents, semi-retired couples and second home owners.
When you compare the selling prices of these water access homes to other water access communities around the Lakes Region, you will find the prices are very attractive.
Here is a brief synopsis of the average selling prices over the last 3 years:
Twelve water access home sales with an average sales price of $266,408.
Five condo sales with an average sales price of $212,200.
Three waterfront home sales with an average sales price of $879,666.
Nine water access home sales with an average sales price of $237,022.
Three condo sales with an average sales price of $254,666.
Seven waterfront home sales with an average sales price of $925,714.
Fifteen water access home sales with an average sales price of $291,968.
Seven condo sales with an average sales price of $233,842.
Three waterfront home sales with an average sales price of $998,300.
Three active water access home on the market for sale ranging from $319,900- $379,000 and five water access home sales with an average sales price of $297,880.
Two active condos on the market for sale ranging from $260,000- $269,000 with no current closed sales.
One active waterfront home on the market for sale at $1,100,000 with no current closed sales.
Overall, from what you can see above, the families that have purchased in these wonderful neighborhoods have made a solid investment with excellent square footage, many already upgraded and a great amenity package. Many of the homes have been remolded and added to over the years. The landscaping and overall setting creates real value going into the future. For those of you who are considering a water access property, semi-retirement home or second home, this is a great area to consider.
This article was written by Frank Roche. He is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Data was compiled on 05/29/2020 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.