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How a Man-Made Lake in Alabama Became a Hotspot for Luxury Homebuyers

When dreaming of owning a waterfront home or weekend getaway, it’s typically the West Coast and the Eastern Seaboard that come to mind. But it turns out there’s a new shoreline that homebuyers are flocking to, and it’s in Alabama.

Lake Martin, a 40,000-acre man-made body of water about an hour’s drive east of Montgomery, has long generated interest from high-net-worth buyers. However, over the last handful of years, the quaint towns and planned developments surrounding the lake have seen an influx of out-of-town buyers swooping in to scoop up what’s now considered some of the most sought-after real estate on the Gulf Coast, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Steve Arnberg, vice president of real estate sales at Russell Lands, reported a significant increase in home prices in just the last five years. Specifically in Alexander City, Dadeville, and Tallassee, in addition to residential neighborhoods like The Ridge, Willow Point, The Heritage, and StillWaters. A new Russell Lands development dubbed Wicker Point Golf Club is set to open in September, with lots seeing bids in excess of $1 million.

In July, the annual average sales price for a single-family home clocked in at roughly $1.3 million. To put things into perspective, that’s around a 95 percent spike from just four years prior, when residences along Lake Martin’s 800-mile shoreline were going for $668,000.

Among the area’s recent buyers is Bruce Pearl, head coach of Auburn University’s men’s basketball team, who picked up a property in an upscale resort-style development known as The Ridge in 2019. Pearl shelled out a cool $900,000 for his waterfront lot and estimated he put in about $3 million into building his 8,000-square-foot lakeside mansion. “There’s just no way you’d expect, in the middle of Alabama, to have this amazing lake, these incredible golf courses, and these multimillion-dollar homes,” Pearl told the WSJ.

One of the most expensive pads currently on the Lake Martin market, listed for just shy of $6 million, is a six-bedroom, seven-bath home in Alexander City. Built in 2016, the home sits on over an acre of land in the North Ridge neighborhood and comes with a pier that juts out into the lake, a boat slip and lift, and a three-car garage. You’ll also find a massive outdoor pavilion with a kitchen, a state-of-the-art wine cellar, and three fireplaces.

“You just can’t help but enjoy yourself here,” remarked Robert Cobb, a member of the Willow Point community. “It’s so peaceful and serene.” For vacationers who want to make Lake Martin their next home away from home, its central location provides access to many of the area’s popular attractions. Come summertime, jet skiing, cliff jumping, horseback riding, and pulling off at dock-and-dine restaurants are a few ways residents like to spend their days.

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