Best Lakefront Real Estate in the Midwest

By Trevor Onions , last updated October 7, 2011

Investing in lakefront property is a significant undertaking that requires careful calculation around the return on investment as well as the location, especially in the Midwest. Fortunately, the Midwest holds more lucrative options for this type of investment than many other places. With vast stretches of woodlands, plains, and gorgeous waters, it's easy to see why savvy real estate investors consider Midwestern lands as far more than just flyover country. Check out these top areas if you're looking to acquire lakefront realty in the central United States.

Best Lakefront Real Estate in the Northern Midwest
Among northern cities, Chicago tops the charts for its longstanding tradition of excellence and luxury when it comes to lakefront real estate. The “Windy City” is well developed, luxurious, and conveniently located near relaxing waters and the bustling business environment of the city. Lake Michigan is the main draw, and breaking into properties in this major American market isn't as restrictive as you might initially think. Since the housing crash, simple condos along the shore can be found for less than half a million, and full sized homes may start at one million.
Although Chicago is the jewel of the upper Midwest as far as lakefront real estate is concerned, states like Minnesota and Wisconsin aren't far behind. These northern territories are dotted with over 15,000 lakes. Unlike Chicago, their markets offer quiet seclusion, and this commands its own high price. Lakefront mansions from Duluth along Lake Superior, down through the upper peninsula of Michigan, have ranked as some of the most expensive homes in the nation for at least a decade. Aside from these high priced homes, investors with a lower price range have an enormous selections of lakefront cabin communities that can be bought for a comparative bargain, and developed into multi-million dollar resorts.
Best Lakefront Properties in the Southern Midwest
The southern Midwest holds its own generous stake in lakefront real estate. Texas is a massive state containing many different attractive markets side by side. If you're hoping to improve on developed lakefront properties near major cities, then look to the Hill Country near Austin. Not far away, the prairies and lakes region centered around Dallas is sprinkled with many warm waters that offer residents the dual benefits of country living around a lake, without being too widely separated from city strengths.
Meanwhile, southern states like Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana lend their lakes to unmatchable complementary features. Breaking into these markets is relatively cheap compared to other areas in the Midwest. Throughout Tennessee, lakefront real estate is often paired with the natural beauty of mountainous ranges like the famous Smoky Mountains. Alabama and Louisiana are packed with traditional homes along sparkling lakes and murky bayous. The natural southern charm available in these areas is just as irresistible to buyers after a residence as it is to real estate investors.
Depending upon your capital and real estate strategy, zeroing in on the finest lakefront real estate can rapidly net you an empire of beautiful properties. The Midwest harbors unique opportunities for rapid appreciation of real estate or additional development. Don't overlook these secretive markets that are just waiting for the right investor when you're seeking out lakefront properties.
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