The real estate market at the Lake of the Ozarks is following the national trends for housing and the economy and showing signs of gradual improvement, according to local real estate agents.
Offshore homes sales were up slightly from January through the end of April this year, according to Kathy Beeler, president of the Bagnell Dam Association of Realtors. She said 243 offshore homes have been sold in 2013, compared with 202 in 2012.
"However, there are 91 homes pending completion to close (as of end of April). That is huge," she added.
Beeler said sales of lakefront homes were slightly down during the same time period, but 68 are also pending to close.
Condominium sales and commercial properties are both seeing positive trends, she added. The current condominium inventory is down compared with what it was in 2005-06, but many current homebuyers are leaning toward a house rather than a condo.
Area real estate agents are excited about the success of commercial property sales so far in 2013
"We have 26 commercial properties sold this year," Beeler said. "A year ago during the same time period, we had 13 sold. Plus, we have 12 commercial properties pending to close at the end of April, as well.
"We have seen a lot of talks about commercial properties. There is one large one that will be announced in the near future, and another that will come to the lake in two to three months. Dierbergs (Lakeview Pointe), Bed, Bath & Beyond and Dick's Sporting Goods coming to the lake have shown a big positive trend in commercial properties sold. Those large companies don't go to a place with a bad market. So, that shows the lake has a positive trend in its real estate market."
According to Lawrence Yun, a chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, a multiyear housing recovery is likely in the U.S. and "lagging housing starts and a continuing housing shortage mean home prices are primed to rise further by 13 percent cumulatively in 2013 and 2014, which will add more than $2 trillion to household wealth over this period."
After four years of relatively flat activity nationally from 2008-11, existing home sales rose 9.4 percent to almost 4.3 million in 2012 and are forecast to increase to nearly 5 million this year, Yun said in a press release. He also projects 5.3 million sales for 2014 and 5.7 million in 2015.
He noted vacation home sales have slowly recovered in the past two years.
"Growth in household wealth will help vacation home purchases moving forward," Yun said.
The vacationer and second home real estate market is the biggest piece of the Lake of the Ozarks market, Beeler said. Homebuyers who are looking at other vacation resort areas, such as Florida and Arizona, or even their hometown markets such as St. Louis or Kansas City, realize that home values in the Lake of the Ozarks market are not as affected as some of those markets.
"Lake of the Ozarks still has that homey feel, and people want to retire here or have a second home here. Plus, they realize they can get a great value for a home or property," she said. "The lake area is not as desperate as other real estate market areas our homebuyers have looked at. The properties have maintained their value.
"Once they (prospective homebuyers) get here, they love it; they see the numbers and see what the lake has to offer. They know they can have their own little piece of heaven right here at the lake."