Today's lake level: 1071.94
Your complete online news, information, and recreation guide to Lake Lanier
Jul. 17, 2018
3:26 am


Real estate news

New Gainesville project named ‘Parkside on the Square’
The developer of the planned downtown Gainesville mixed-use project has announced that the winner of the Name-That-Landmark contest is Gainesville resident Julie Graves.
The purpose of the contest was to allow citizens of the city to have input into the name of the new development. The intent was for the name to be representative of the heritage and culture of the city. Dozens of people participated and hundreds of names were submitted.
For coming up with the winning name, Graves was presented a check for $500 by a member of the Gainesville Square Plaza, LLC development team, Jim Blankenship. The presentation ceremony was held at the future construction site on the Gainesville Square. According to Blankenship, “We liked everything about this name. It lets people know we are next to a park and located right on the square.
Graves is an x-ray technician and long-time Gainesville resident. She has a budding business called “Lazy Dog Loungers” where she sells devices that allow dogs to float in the lake and stay cool, just like their owners. As a small business owner, she admits that she is often in marketing mode, so this contest was right up her alley. She submitted several ideas for names and did some research before making that submission.
Parkside on the Square will be located on the southern side of the Gainesville Square at the corner of Spring and Main streets. It will consist of 15,000 square feet of street-level retail and approximately 33 condominium residences. The current plan is to offer 28 standard luxury units and five ultra-luxury penthouse units. There will be dedicated, monitored parking in the deck next to the development. 
For more information on the development contact Bev Knight at 770-536-4416.

What’s trending now on Lake Lanier property
The following column was submitted by Sheila Davis, lead agent for “Lake Lanier’s Finest” at The Norton Agency. The agent offers her top 10 trends in Lake Lanier real estate:
  • 1 - A healthy and vibrant market: With lake home prices nearing 2006 levels, and inventory 30-40 percent down depending on price segment, home sellers are enjoying a steady market with prices edging up about 5 percent this year. Those sellers with deep water are clearly winners with low water properties patiently holding off the market until a full pool re-turns. Buyer activity is high, but with low inventory, it can be frustrating for a buyer to find a home. Homes under $500,000 are in high demand with less than 60 days on the market and we are seeing multiple offers and just days on the market for hot properties. Lake lots are selling again, prices ranging from the $200s in multi slip communities up to luxury lots from the $400s up. A recent lot sale in Forsyth County sold for $800,000 in July. Custom homes are again popping up on the lake, as lots and tear downs are seeing new builds.
  • 2 - The retirement revolution:  With the success of Cresswind at Lake Lanier, Harbour Point, Marina Bay, Chestatee, and others, more active adult developments are moving fast to capture demand for new lake homes. An 880 unit active adult development on the lake with boat slips is in final approval in the City of Gainesville, (Dawsonville Highway between Ahaluna Drive and Sportsman Club Road). “Diamond Gardens,” in Cumming, off Pilgrim Mill Road, is completing its clubhouse, tennis courts and pool this summer. Plans are to build 50 luxury homes, with boat slip included at its multi-slip marina.
  • 3 - Second homes on the rise: Buyers of all ages are heading to Lanier for refuge from the “concrete jungle” of Atlanta, or as an escape from crowded beach towns or cold weather locations. With shopping and modern conveniences readily available, second home residents can enjoy all that communities have to offer year-round. These buyers are looking for deep water boat dockage, and well-maintained and updated properties that they can move in to with little or no renovation. Second homes are selling from the $250s up to $1,8 million this year.
  • 4 - Outdoor living spaces: With our beautiful and mild weather on Lake Lanier, homeowners are seeking outdoor living spaces more than ever. Whether you have a wooded or water view, enjoying nature and entertaining outdoors is something we all want more of. Swimming pools are in big demand. Elaborate outdoor patios, covered porches, outdoor kitchens, stone fireplaces and hot tubs are sought after. Those lucky enough to be close to the water are building outdoor pavilions and covered patios to get closer to the lake. Properties with an outdoor amenity generally enjoy less time on the market and more resale value.
  • 5 - Luxury lake sales looking up: Luxury home sales over $1 million are up 20 percent over the last 12 months in number of sales. Low interest rates and improving economy are helping this segment of the market improve, regardless of water levels and low inventory. There are currently 50 homes now on the market over $1 million. Twenty homes have sold, and pending sales are up. Fifty percent of these sales are cash buyers, and about half are second homes. The average million dollar lake home has 4-6 bedrooms and 5 baths with an average of 5,500-8,500 square feet. The average sales price in 2017 is $1.25 million with an average of 90 percent sales to list price ratio. Mary Thompson, of Lake Lanier Appraisal Service, says “Values steadily increasing about 1.5 percent a year for homes priced $899,000-$1,299,000 and values are up 8 percent for homes sold above $1,300,000.” About 75 percent of luxury homes sold have pools and most have screened porches or outdoor living spaces. The luxury homes sales are split evenly between south and north lake locations, with the majority in Hall County this year due to low inventory in other counties.
  • 6 - Updating and home maintenance important: In the hot market prior to 2007, buyers were content purchasing homes in all price points prepared to remodel and even fix issues. The era of the weekend warrior paid off for investors. Property values were going up rapidly and buyers knew they could recapture their investment quickly. The next generation of lake buyer is much more interested in lifestyle and ease of transition, as well as resale value. Their first choice when purchasing will be a home lovingly maintained and with updates such as modern kitchen, bathrooms, decks, roofs and systems if needed.
  • 7 - Dressing up the shores: With water quality and erosion control always an important topic, we are seeing more homeowners and businesses taking a proactive stance. Just take a cruise on the lake and you will see homeowners lining the shoreline with granite rip rap stone. We are receiving the benefit of a beautiful shoreline while also receiving the shoreline protection the lake sorely needs. Additionally, old docks are gradually being removed or refurbished, with newer, more attractive and safer docks appearing in their places. Owners with newer and well-maintained docks will also receive some benefits of a higher price at re-sale.
  • 8 - North vs South, lifestyle determines best location: “Location, Location!” Isn’t that what we hear about real estate? In 2017, buyers are interested in “lifestyle living.” With so many choices for boating and lifestyles on Lanier, no longer is south or north the preferred location for real estate. Those still commuting to Atlanta are seeking close proximity to south lake restaurants and attractions. The north lake still attracts buyers for its quieter coves, and private areas for those who enjoy skiing, kayaking and a more peaceful setting. With so many older established lake neighborhoods, new communities, and country club neighborhoods, there is something for everyone on Lanier.
  • 9 - Mega renovations and teardowns: Can’t find that perfect lot? Do what the owners at 6010 Chimney Springs, in Buford did. In 2004, Drs. Joe Clarino and Deb Cirone, purchased a ’70s cottage on a fantastic south lake lot. They lived their dream of designing and building their ideal lake home around the existing cottage. In 2008, their stunning new 6,000 square foot home and pool were featured on HGTV’s “My Big Amazing Renovation.” I was fortunate to get to market and sell this home last year. Others are finding that special lot and tearing down the existing cottage to make room for their custom homes.
  • 10 - Investment properties: We see them in all shapes and sizes. Investment properties are paying off for smart buyers. Whether it is shifting cash from Wall Street to Main Street for a second home, or the desire to manage vacation property, we are seeing more and more investment properties. With the internet and rental sites readily available, investors are making their way to Lanier. Close proximity to Atlanta, the North Georgia Mountains and the Atlanta airport makes our lake a smart choice for investors.
Sheila Davis has been a lake resident since 1994. Her website is:

Posted online 7/31/17
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