Lake view lots worth more than homes on golf course



Lakefront lots sell at a higher premium than lots with golf course views, a recent study shows.

The Appraisal Journal, a quarterly technical and academic publication of the Appraisal Institute, released the study this week.

The authors investigated the pricing of golf course, mountain view and lake view lots at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in South Carolina. Lake Keowee is a 3,900-acre lakeside golf course community development with approximately 600 lots sold between January 2000 and December 2008 at a total price of close to $200 million. 

“The slope of a lot, length of shoreline and proximity to the lakeside village were also found to be statistically significant variables influencing the value of the property,” the authors reported.

This is the first academic study on the subject. The authors, David Wyman and Stephen Sperry, used GIS analysis of the development, and found that price premiums ranged from 124 percent to 287 percent for lakefront lots, from 94 percent to 133 percent for lake view lots and from 42 percent to 85 percent for lots with golf course views. The authors also found that even after the housing bubble burst, lakefront lots continued to sell and in fact sold at increasing prices.

To read the study — “The Million Dollar View” — in the Spring issue of The Appraisal Journal,go to


Please tell me nobody was paid for this study. What gratuitous headline. What a gratuitous article. Have you nothing better to report?

I have been telling developers since 1990 to build lakes rather than golf (if the site allows). It returns higher lot premiums as this article points out, typically costs less and has low maintenance costs. GolfInc should write an article encouraging ASGCA members (as I have) to start promoting their skills to developers (when they start up again) for highly visual green space (mounding, shadowing, variation in grass cut length, etc.) to enhance lot premiums without oversupplying golf courses. And, for the record, the article is one of many academic studies on the subject. But it states that it is the first to "explicitly model ...". Sounds like professor speak to me.

This study compared lots within a golf development. While I understand and agree that lakefront lots sell for more than golf course lots within the same development, there also is the factor of getting the buyer in the door to begin with. All other things being equal, if two developments are side by side on a lake, I would guess the one with the golf course will be more popular, unless there happens to be good alternative golf nearby. That is not to say that developments without golf won't be successful. Realistically, golf is also not as important as it was in the past.

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