The Invert of Lake Winnipesaukee
The Invert of Lake Winnipesaukee
There were just 414 single family residential homes listed for sale as of February 1 in the twelve towns (Belknap County plus Moultonborough) covered in this report. The average asking price stood at $633,214 and the median asking price was $320,000. The current inventory level represents just a 3.7 month supply of residential homes on the market… that, my friend, is pretty low!
What if we could invert the market or where we live? You know, “turn it upside down or turn it about.” I never really thought about it until this year, but I have been going to Grand Cayman since the early nineties and just recently landed here for some R&R. Obviously, I can’t help but check out the real estate market while I am here…at least a little bit. But, back to the inverse deal. Lake Winnipesaukee encompasses an area of 72 square miles of water. Grand Cayman has a land area of 76 square miles of land. Coincidence? Lake Winnipesaukee is 22 miles long and so is Grand Cayman! Another coincidence! No, things are just inverted here with land replacing water. Just like we drive on the right and down here you drive on the left.
If you invert the map of Grand Cayman…actually, turn it upside down…it looks a little like the map of Winnipesaukee with the distinct area of Alton Bay protruding to the south. Grand Cayman doesn’t have all the little coves, inlets, and jagged shoreline that Lake Winnipesaukee has. Winni has about 240 miles of shoreline because of all the ins and outs and Grand Cayman only has 99 miles on the water.
We stayed for a few days at the Seven Mile beach area that is the main tourist destination. Seven Mile Beach is probably as nice as any stretch of waterfront in the world. Seven Mile Beach and the long gone Holiday Inn that used to be located there were featured in the Tom Cruise movie, “The Firm.” Calm, blue waters and yet very few people. A paradise. When we first came here we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Club which comprised a dozen or so small pink cottages reminiscent of what you used to see in the Weirs Beach area. We toyed with buying a condo back then and at $300,000 to $400,000 it was a steal as the same units today are going for well over a million. Seven Mile Beach has lost its charm of yesteryear and there is too much glitz and glamour for us.
We took a ride one morning waiting for the clouds to move offshore down to the West End. As much as this is heaven, Grand Cayman has a Hell (literally). I thought I would check out the real estate around Hell and was sure I would either find (1) Eagles fans that had been told to go there or (2) Malcolm Butler or (3) both. Hell is really just a small geological formation of jagged pinnacles of black-covered limestone covering the area half the size of a football field. What it actually is though is a tourist trap with gift shops from which you can mail a postcard from Hell to your favorite relative or Patriot fan. To my dismay, neither Malcolm nor anyone wearing Eagle t-shirts were to be found.
Just a short distance from Hell is a newer 2,000 square foot, three bedroom home with a one bedroom, one bath rental unit out back for sale at just $171,000. Homes here are mostly block construction on a slab. No heat, none needed. This is one of the low budget areas of the island and to get something you might really want in this area you are looking at least $400,000 for something plain and simple and $600,000 plus for something a bit nicer. That’s a lot cheaper than the properties on Seven Mile Beach where the highest priced property right now was the top floor, 7,225 square foot, three bedroom, three and a half bath unit at the Ritz Carlton that is on for $16.15 million. I did find one decent 762 square foot, one bedroom unit on the beach in the mid five’s but you are likely to spend a lot more.
We soon headed out to stay in the West End which was our true destination. It is quiet here, so quiet in fact, that we drove back to our condo from a restaurant on the North Side early the other evening a distance of some five miles and never met one car going the other way.
We went to an open house on Sunday just down the street at the “Purple Palm” that has being hosted by Patty Nugent of Cayman Island Sotheby’s. You couldn’t miss the house. It was truly purple. Patty greeted us at the door and was excited to have someone come and see her. I asked if she did a lot of open houses and she quickly said, “No, not out here.” She had promised the owners, who are friends of hers, that she would try one but on this end of the island you don’t get many lookers.
The 1,656 square foot, two bedroom, two and a half bath house was built in 2,000 on a small lot with 60’ of waterfront. It was clean and neat but it definitely was not a high end build. A slider lead out to a small deck with a level beach leading down to relatively calm waters for the east end. That was what was determining the $875,000 asking price. $875,000 doesn’t buy you much on Winnipesaukee or Grand Cayman, but you can sit in the sun here twelve months a year. I guess that’s another pretty tempting inversion…
Data compiled from the NEREN MLS System.