Summary of Smith Mountain Lake Area Real Estate Sales for 2020
Wow! What a year for real estate. Waterfront homes and condo sales were up around 50% and waterfront lots were up 77%. Water access homes were up 17% and water access lots finally started a comeback up 46% from the year before. Off water homes up also up with less than 5 acre lots up 26% and homes with over 5 acres up 10%. Off water land sales were up similar to waterfront lots, up 63% for less than 5 acre tracts and 74% for 5 plus acre tracts.
So the question is, what’s going to happen in 2021. All of the experts are saying it’s going to be another great year due to low interest rates that are forecast to stay low throughout the year and lots of folks moving further out of the cities. For waterfront property, we still have a lot Baby Boomers yet to retire and a lot of folks who now know that they can work from a second home. Our biggest question is will we have the inventory available to take care of the demand. We are definitely in a Sellers Market so get pre-approved before you arrive and be ready to make a solid offer on any property that just came on the market.
Download 2020 Historical Sales Datasheet
Frequently Asked Questions about Smith Mountain Lake Property
The two top questions I get asked the most are:
1. How do you determine the value of a property?
2. Smith Mountain Lake is so big, how do I know where to start looking for a house?
The answer to the first question is that there are 5 basic factors that determine the value of a Waterfront Home:
- The Quality of the Home
- The View from the Home
- The Slope of the lot to the Lake
- The Water depth at the dock
- The Location of the property on the lake
The answer to the second question is best answered by answering the following three questions:
- Is living close to shopping centers, medical facilities and restaurants important to you or your spouse? The very southeast side of the lake (Penhook and Union Hall) is 20-35 minutes away from most of these amenities by car. The Moneta, Hardy & Wirtz areas are about 10-15 minutes away with Huddleston and Goodview around 15-20 minutes away.
- How important is golf to you? We only have four courses here. The Waters Edge in Penhook and The Waterfront in Moneta which are both waterfront communities are Private. The Westlake Country Club in Hardy close to Westlake and Mariners Landing in Huddleston, are Public. The Westlake club is off water and Mariners Landing does have some waterfront property.
- Do you plan on renting your waterfront home on a short term basis? Most homes on the north side of the lake in Bedford County allow short term rentals, where most homes on the south side of the lake in Franklin County do not allow short term rentals. Homes located in the very southeast corner of the lake in Pittsylvania County do allow short term rentals but they are located 25-35 minutes from amenities.
Answering the above questions will help in narrowing down the area of the lake you might want to search. I find it easier to eliminate areas and then search the remaining areas. Below are some additional frequently asked questions:
- Newer neighborhoods vs older established neighborhoods? Naturally we have both and they are scattered around the lake. Let me know your preference and I can guide you in the right direction. The older neighborhoods have more trees.
- Privacy? Looking for homes with more acreage doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have more privacy. Some of the larger lots are long and narrow, not offering any more privacy at the waterfront than smaller lots. Lots with more waterfront, which I can search by, may offer more privacy. Wooded lots may offer more privacy than cleared lots. It just boils down to the location of the house on the lot and the location of your neighbor’s house.
- How many bedrooms do homes have? Some agents list homes stating the number of bedrooms that their septic system is designed for where other agents state the number of actual bedrooms, maybe. Some listing agents include floor plans that will help where other agents do not. If you see a large “3” bedroom home with a den, office or library, those rooms may actually be usable as bedrooms. Just let me know your needs and I’ll help locate all of the listings for you.
- Older Homes vs Newer Homes? Early homes here at SML had the whole lake to choose where to build and some have amazing views. Most of these older homes have had extensive renovations. Newer homes typically have higher ceilings in the basements among other benefits.
- How steep are the slopes? Slopes vary from flat to steep. The listing allows the agents to classify the lot as flat, gently sloping, varied and down slope (very steep). Please note that some listing agents intentionally leave this section blank or improperly label the steepness of the lot.
- What type of views are there? Views vary from cove views looking across the cove at your neighbors, to long water views looking out of a cove to lots that have both wide water and long water views.
- What is the starting point for a waterfront home? Entry level waterfront homes begin around $400,000.
- Is Smith Mountain Lake crowded? This question is relative to what you are used to. If you are familiar with a smaller popular lake, then you will think SML is relatively quiet. If you’re used to a remote lake, then you may think SML is somewhat busy. At any rate, even on the busiest of weekends, you can always find a nice cove where you can pull someone with your boat or a quiet place to fish without having any problems. Unlike some of the other lakes in the tri-state area, there are no daytime hour restrictions on the use of watercraft here at SML.
- Are there many restaurants that you can boat too? Yes! From fine dining to pizza and ice cream. Check out the Lake Area Map for details.
- How is the water quality of the lake? Excellent overall! This is a deep water lake, approximately 230’ deep at the dam and still over 100’ deep 15 miles upstream where Rt. 122 crosses the lake. Water quality testing has been done for the last 30+ years to monitor the various quality levels. Several groups have stepped forward to help monitor the quality, one of which is the Smith Mountain Lake Association. If you have any questions about water quality, just give them a call. Here’s a link for them: http://www.smlassociation.org/ Naturally the further up the lake you go, the lower the water quality becomes.
- How old is the lake? The lake reached full pond in the spring of 1966.
- Is there anything to do while here at the lake? Absolutely! Check out the Activity Header. Also check the Visitors Center, it’s a great source as well. Additionally, if you like group activities, you’ll find Smith Mountain Lake the friendliest place you’ve ever lived. We have groups for just about every hobby and there are ways for you to find those groups. Just stop in the Visitors Center.
- What are the towns around the lake and how large are they? We have a number of zip codes around the lake that have a post office and maybe a convenient store but we don’t really have towns right here at the lake. Moneta, Huddleston and Goodview are located on the north side of the lake in Bedford County and Moneta. Hardy, Wirtz, Union Hall and Penhook are located on the south side of the lake in Franklin County. Penhook is also located partially in Pittsylvania County as well.
Moneta and Hardy contain the bulk of the commercial businesses which run along Rt. 122 for 7-8 miles in both counties. You’ll hear the name Westlake mentioned a lot. It’s not a town, yet, but it is the business hub on the south side of the lake. It’s located at the intersection of Rt. 122 and Scruggs Road about 3 miles south of the bridge and is in both Moneta and Hardy.
- How far is it to a major shopping center? There are two enclosed shopping centers in Roanoke, both about 35-45 minutes or so from the lake (either side of the lake is about the same distance). There is also an enclosed shopping center in Lynchburg and it’s about 35-40 miles from the north side of the lake which would be Bedford County (Moneta & Huddleston).
- What percentage of the folks who own homes on the lake actually live here full time? It’s somewhere in the 35% range with each neighborhood varying somewhat.
- What style are most of the homes? Most are ranch style homes with full walkout basements. From the front, most are fairly plain. From the lake, they are quite impressive.
- How large are the docks? For a standard dock, you can have 1500sf of dock space, viewed from an aerial view. This means that if your dock has an upper sun deck, it is not counted since it’s within the footprint of the lower dock. The walkway is not included as long as it’s less than 6’ in width. With normal docks, you are allowed to have two boat slips as well as jet ski lifts if you’d like a couple of them. You are also allowed to have a 72sf enclosure for storage. Most docks have a floater because the lake water level fluctuates. If your lot has more than 300’ of shoreline, then the size of the dock can be increased to 2250sf. Permits are required to build a new dock and for most dock modifications. I can help you with the design and provide you with names of some of the dock contractors.
- How far is it the nearest hospital? There are local hospitals in Rocky Mount, Bedford and Gretna, three towns that surround the lake, all within about 30 minutes from most locations. There’s a Trauma Center hospital in Roanoke about 45 minutes from most locations at the lake. In addition, we have a Life Flight helicopter centrally located in the Westlake area of the lake.
- What health care professionals do we have in the area? We have several including general practice doctors, clinics that are open 7 days per week, dentists, eye care, hearing specialists, rehab centers, chiropractors, cardiologists and other specialists.
If you have additional questions, feel free to ask!
Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce
The best source of information about the lake is the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. Visit their Web Site for great information about the lake and the business that serve the lake area. The Chamber is located at Bridgewater Plaza, where Route 122 crosses the lake.
Bedford County tax rates can be found at the Bedford County Treasurer Web Site.
Franklin County tax rates can be found at the Franklin County Treasurer Web Site.
Pittsylvania County tax rates can be found at the Pittsylvania County Treasurer Web Site