After an unusually slow year for lakefront sales last year, 2017 is seeing a rebound in Big Bear waterfront home purchases, especially in the higher end price ranges.
With only 14 lakefront homes to have sold last year, so far this year we have already had 11 lakefront closings with 8 lakefronts currently in escrow. With the 4th quarter being our busiest for closings, I would expect there to be over 20 closings this year representing an almost 50% increase in Big Bear lakefront home sales.
This uptick in sales is particularly encouraging as Big Bear Lake's water levels are still near record lows. Currently almost 13 feet 9 inches from full, the lake is about 1.5 feet higher than it was at this time last year, but still remarkably close to the October 2004 low of 17.5 feet from full. Even though the lake's water levels are low, lakefronts are selling.
Taking a closer look at these sales, you'll see that we have had more high-end, luxury lakefront sales than usual. Five of this year's 19 lakefront sales and current pendings are over the 2 million dollar mark. In comparison, each of the last two years saw only 2 sales over 2 million dollars and there has never been a year with more than 5 sales over the 2 million dollar mark.
Why such activity in the Big Bear luxury lakefront market? First off, we are seeing one of the best runs in history for the US economy. Since the economy hit bottom, the stock market has risen from 7000 to 22,000 while Big Bear real estate prices have risen about 60% since the market's bottom. With increased wealth comes increase in interest in second homes. With the majority of wealth gains being realized by the most affluent, we see interest in higher-end luxury homes.
In addition, Big Bear has been transitioning quite quickly into a higher end resort. Recent improvements to The Village area as well as expansion and development of Snow Summit Resorts base area have really made Big Bear an even more attractive place for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of life below the mountains.
So after a slow year for lakefront sales, this year has given us the pick-up in waterfront sales we were hoping for. If the patterns of Mother Nature come to be this winter, hopefully next year will be even better with a long awaited topped off lake!