Home sales along Lake Minnetonka bounced back in 2015 after high water levels dampened the market in 2014.
Homes built closer to the center section of the 14,729-acre lake had been selling faster than those on the eastern end, because of the two-year reconstruction of Hennepin County Road 101, aka Bushaway Road, near Wayzata.
While eastern lake-area homes generally sell fastest due to their proximity to downtown Minneapolis, some buyers are seeking out the lake’s western end for its quieter setting.
Downtown Excelsior offers a variety of shops and restaurants that make it attractive to those who want to live close enough to walk.
Downtown Wayzata has also undergone a surge of redevelopment, with a multiphase development called The Promenade, which includes senior housing, retail stores and condominiums. The final phase of the five-block Promenade will also include a restaurant, spa, 14,000 square-feet of retail space, and a boutique 89-room hotel called The Landing.
In addition to the lake’s beauty and recreational opportunities, its surrounding school districts attract many families to the area, real estate agents said. Young couples who had been renting are now buying homes, freeing move-up buyers to purchase their dream homes and empty nesters to downsize.
Municipalities surrounding the lake, with its numerous bays, include Deephaven, Excelsior, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetrista, Mound, Navarre, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay and Wayzata. Some of these communities have seen teardowns of older homes in favor of new construction.
Those who want the benefits of living near the lake in a quieter environment than Wayzata or Excelsior are heading west, according to real estate agent Matt Hermann of Edina Realty’s Wayzata office.
“I think that Deephaven, Woodland and the Cottagewood area are becoming more popular because they don’t have the hustle and bustle of town,” he said.
Buyers who want new construction near but not on the lake now have opportunities fueled by the sales of area golf courses. Developer Norton Homes of Minneapolis has been building homes on the former Lakeview Golf Course in Orono, pricing them from $275,000 to more than $1 million.
National builder Ryland Homes is converting a smaller golf course, Red Oak in Minnetrista, into a neighborhood of homes currently priced from $384,990 to $464,990. Mattamy Homes plans to build a 142-home subdivision on the former Minnetonka Country Club property in Shorewood.
“Minnetonka Country Club will definitely be a family-driven development,” said Scott Stabeck, an agent with Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty in Wayzata. “They all are.”