Real Estate

Top 10 places in the U.S. to buy a lake house in 2023 based on vacation rental performance, home value and more

Vacation rental company Evolve's 2022 report looked at the best places to buy a lake house in 2023.
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Buying a lake house can be a great investment, whether as a first home, a vacation house, or a potential rental property.

Evolve, a vacation rental company, released their ranking of the best places to buy a lake house in 2023. The company used the following metrics:

  • vacation rental performance metrics for lake towns across the U.S.
  • Zillow's 2022 median home value
  • estimated yearly expenses to run a vacation rental

Louis Olds, the director of real estate at Evolve, told CNBC Make It that aside from using the criteria above to find the best places, the company also looked at the atmosphere of the locations to make sure guests can relax, enjoy themselves and maybe even have a stunning view.

No. 1 best place to buy a lake house in 2023: Saranac Lake, New York

Median rental revenue: $25,294

Median listing price: $250,190

Example cap rate: 7.1%

Nested in the Adirondack Mountains, Saranac Lake is most known for its fall foliage and ski resorts.

According to Evolve, Saranac Lake's 7.1% cap rate— the ratio between the property's net income and market value—proves the area's profit potential.

Saranac Lake is also known for its preservation of old architecture. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it has over 170 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The top 10 places to buy a lake house in 2023

  1. Saranac Lake, NY
  2. Branson, MO
  3. Brainerd Lakes, MN
  4. Traverse City, MI
  5. Smith Mountain Lake, VA
  6. Granbury, TX
  7. Pocono Lake, PA
  8. Norris Lake, TN
  9. Lake of the Ozarks, MO
  10. Gilford, NH

Branson, Missouri came in second on the list. The median rental revenue area is $19,440, the median listing price is $232,208, and the example cap rate is 5.9%.

The Missouri town is also in close proximity to other tourist destinations in the area including Table Rock Lake.

It is a man-made lake with over 800 miles of shoreline and is known for its world-class fishing, according to Branson's Tourism Board.

Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota came in third on the list. According to Evolve, homes that can bring in the biggest profits in the area are lakefront cabins.

It has a median rental revenue of $27,043, with a median listing price of $346,333 and an example cap rate of 5.5%.

According to Evolve, the area has some of the most scenic lakes, pristine public beaches, top-rated golf courses, and excellent ice fishing.

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