Real Estate at Lake Wenatchee and Fish Lake has really taken off in the last decade. Lake Wenatchee's popularity comes from the wealth of recreational opportunities (boating, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, golfing) and it's proximity to the Seattle area.
There are two roads that skirt Lake Wenatchee and serve as separate neighborhoods. Cedar Brae (aka South Shore
road) runs along the South Shore. It starts at the South entrance of Lake Wenatchee State Park and passes Kahler Glen Golf Club. At the other end of the road is Camp Zanika Lache, a Campfire Camp, a number of cabins on leased Forest Service land, and a trail to Hidden Lake. On the north side of the lake, North Shore Drive runs from the Lake Wenatchee Highway near the YMCA camp to near the White River road near the former site of the Cougar Inn. The north shore of Lake Wenatchee is often preferred because it faces South and gets more sunshine in the short days of winter. The West end of the lake is mostly U.S. Forest Service and the East end is the mouth of the Wenatchee River and Lake Wenatchee State Park.
Lake Wenatchee Real Estate 2007
In 2006, there were 7 sales on Lake Wenatchee listed on the North Central Washington MLS. These are lakefront properties, not properties with access to the lake or across the street from the lake, but actual lakefront. 1 was a cabin on leased land, 2 were tear down houses, and 3 were lakefront homes and one was a building lot.
The tear downs averaged $490,000 while the lot sold for $822,000. The tear downs were on similar size small lots on the North Shore (.17 and .12 acres) with 52 and 40 feet of lakefront. The lot was also on North Shore, but was .55 acres and had 100 frontage feet on the lake.
The three houses averaged 2400 square feet in size and sold for an average of $1.1 million. All three houses were on the North Shore and on lots smaller than a 1/4 acre. Two of the homes had 100 feet of lakefront, while the largest house had only 50 feet.
In 2007, 2 lakefront homes on Lake Wenatchee have sold so far. These homes are smaller (average of 1500 square feet) and had an average selling price of $910,000. One home was on Cedar Brae and though larger, much newer and on a lot 3 times bigger, sold for less money. This is the only South Shore listing that has sold in two years and it appears that the market does favor the North Shore by a large margin.
Currently one home is pending at $750,000 for a rustic cabin 1392 square feet in size. A much smaller house of 800 square feet is available for $770,000. Both are on 1/2 acre lots on the South Shore.
There are still a number of cabins on Lake Wenatchee that sit on leased land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. These cabins sell for under $200,000. It seems like a great deal except that you don't own the land. The USFS does and they make you pay them a lease. Those leases are currently for 10 or 20 years and may go up drastically, they are supposed to be set at 5% of the value of the land, though current leases seem to be a few thousand a year. (If the lot value in private hands is $500,000 then the lease is $25,000 a year.) The Forest Service may also cancel the lease and ask you to remove your cabin. Then you are left with nothing. Ask your lender if they will loan on a property like this, I doubt many will because of the risks involved.
Searching for Lake Wenatchee property
The search tools that consumers have at their disposal are poor at finding waterfront property in Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee. This is especially true for local Leavenworth sites like http://www.lakewenatcheehomes.com/ or my competitors at Leavenworth Properties and Lake Wenatchee Properties. This is a function of the IDX program available to us at this time. The mapping isn't as useful, but http://www.windermere.com/ does allow consumers to search for waterfront listings.
Update March 2008