10 luxurious lake houses for less than $300,000

New Buffalo, Michigan

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Set along the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Michigan, New Buffalo is home to just shy of 2,000 residents. But this charming town, with its many breweries and a thriving artist community, is the preferred vacation destination of many visitors from Chicago, northern Indiana, and Michigan looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life.

“The second home market is booming in New Buffalo and other lakeside towns in southwest Michigan, with homes selling in eight weeks on average, and many selling much quicker than that,” Mike Golden, co-founder and co-CEO of @properties, Christie’s International Real Estate, said.

Just prepare to deal with a very limited property supply. Inventory in New Buffalo is low — down 30 percent compared to January 2021 — with a double-digit price increase over the last year. Still, you can find stunning properties to turn into your lakefront home, like this contemporary $4.125 million home with 125 feet of waterfront.

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Grove, Oklahoma

                          Photo courtesy of Zillow
Photo courtesy of Zillow

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom house on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma, is for sale for $259,000. It has a covered boat dock with a slip.

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Kimberling City, Missouri

                          Photo courtesy of Zillow
Photo courtesy of Zillow

The 3,860-square-foot house was built in 1990. It has a fireplace, sun room, two kitchens and a multipurpose space that opens onto a patio with views of the lake. Outside, there are two decks, one of which includes a fire pit with a removable grill.

6. Ellijay, Georgia

There are a million activities that make Ellijay so special—from apple picking to tastings at small-batch wineries to leaf peeping in the fall. But before all of those late summer activities kick into high gear, there is one activity that is a time-honored summer Ellijay tradition: tubing, floating, or otherwise bumbling down the water (via lake or river). With several bodies of water lining the area, guests can choose from a variety of settings for each day of their vacation, but Carters Lake is truly something special, with its sparkling waters and rugged Georgia shoreline. Whether you pack your picnic for a lakeside lunch or to take in while cruising on a pontoon, Carters will provide the perfect backdrop for those photo-dump IG posts.

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9. Chelan, Washington

With an infusion of guests coming from Seattle and Spokane, Washington (as well as just about every other area of the Pacific Northwest), Chelan sits proudly at number 9 on our Best Places to Buy a Lake House list. While some may expect it to rank higher on our lake-themed list, it’s important to remember we’re looking at cap rate—Chelan’s 4.3% holds steady, as homes run just over $400,000 in this market. Guests travel to Lake Chelan year-round to experience the beauty of the roughly 50-mile lake, surrounded by quintessential small towns, vineyards, and mountains. A major attraction is Chelan’s Evening Farmers Market along the Riverwalk, where locals and guests can pick up just about anything they need to prepare a fresh feast.

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Lake Austin, Texas

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“Having grown up on Lake Austin, I’ve always known this lake to be the gem of Texas. To have a constant level-lake in the heart of the city where people can live and recreate is very special,” Eric Moreland, a broker associate at Moreland Properties, said in an email.

If you're after postcard-worthy lakefront views and would like to stay close to all the modern amenities that a city such as Austin offers, then consider investing in a home near this human-made lake.

A major development, the Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin, is slated for completion in 2025, and it will add 179 new luxury residences to the area. All properties will overlook Lake Austin and offer stunning views, along with high-end amenities such as access to a private marina, tennis courts, and an 82-foot-long indoor pool.

"Since the project's launch in late September, over half of the residences have been reserved (by square footage, gross sales volume, and number of transactions). The incredible reception shows just how deep the demand for waterfront property is now and will continue to be, as people put down deposits three to four years in advance. Overall, it is truly a special project to watch as it reflects the market-wide trends for waterfront property throughout Austin," added Moreland.

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