Waterfront Homes in Northern California at Bargain Prices

View from Lake Tulloch home in Northern California
View of Lake Tulloch

Tough times and bargain pricing has hiked vacation home sales 7.9 percent to 553,000 nationally in 2009 from 513,000 in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The jump in vacation home sales is the direct result of a dramatic dip in prices and desperate homeowners no longer able to afford to maintain a second mortgage.

Jesse Gibbs, Realtor and Sales Manager for Century 21 M & M in Central California
Jesse Gibbs, Sales Mgr-Merced (209)531-3951 email-jessegibbs @c21mm.com

“In this economy, they can’t pay the second mortgage,” said Jesse Gibbs, sales manager of Century 21 M&M and Associates in Merced.  “So people had to let them go.”

Glenn Chu, a broker associate at Century 21 M&M in Madera, said vacation properties are found at nearby Oakhurst, Bass Lake and Yosemite.

Glenn Chu, Realtor for Century 21 M&M Madera CA
Glenn Chu, Madera Office (559)664-9100 email Gchu@c21mm.com

Chu said compared to conventional homes, selling vacation homes often requires expertise in areas that include water wells and septic tanks.

“You want to be fairly knowledgeable in that area before you start steering your client,” he said.

Terri Cantrell, a Realtor at Century 21 M&M in Oakdale, has sold vacation properties at Lake Tulloch for more than 25 years.  She has been stunned that owners of Tulloch’s exclusive waterfront properties were impacted by the downturn.

Terri Cantrell, Realtor for Century 21 M & M Oakdale, CA
Terri Cantrell, Oakdale Office (209)844-1721 email-Tcantrell @c21mm.com

“Those people were so solid they didn’t lose them,” she said.  “I would say a dozen have been foreclosed.  That’s unheard of.”

Also unheard of is the dramatic drop in the price of waterfront properties.  Cantrell said listings that are selling, range from $450,000 to $1 million.  There are property listings that top $2 million.

“I would say prices are absolutely 50 percent from the high,” she said. “It has been 20 years since you could buy something on the water for $450,000.”

Cantrell said nearby Copperopolis also is popular for vacation homes. She has a Los Gatos client that has offered $255,000 for a Copperopolis home with a view of Lake Tulloch.  The house, which was used by the owners as a second home and is now bank owned, sold for $460,000 in 2003.

Cantrell, who recently relocated from Copperopolis to Oakdale, said she was prepared to sell conventional homes and properties after the move.

“I came to Oakdale, but I keep getting drawn up there (Copperopolis) because I had so many clients,” she said.

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