Lake Winnipesaukee Real Estate

Lake Winnipesaukee – The Heart of New Hampshire’s Lake Region Real Estate

By Mark J. Donovan

Lake Winnipesaukee is in the heart of New Hampshire and is a Mecca for summer vacationers from the northeastern part of the United States. With its crystal clear waters, it is centrally located in the Mount Washington Valley area, and is only 2 hours from Boston, MA.

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire covering an area of 72 square miles. It has 182 miles of shoreline and 253 islands. Because it is near the White Mountain National forest, Lake Winnipesaukee is also a vacation destination in the fall and winter as well.

Only the mud season (spring) is when the lake sees little traffic. As a result of its beauty and recreational opportunities that it offers, and its limited waterfront, Lake Winnipesaukee has historically been a hot real estate market. Waterfront properties range in price from as low as a few hundred thousand dollars for a basic camp on the back-waters of the lake, to as high as $50M for major McMansion estates. Yes, $50M. There is a home listed on the lake at the time of this writing for $50M. On average, however, you can expect to pay around $1M to $2M for a lakefront home on the Big Lake.

Having been a resident of New Hampshire for over 35 years, I have spent a great deal of time on Lake Winnipesaukee. I started visiting the lake regularly as a teenager, and bought my first home on the Big Lake in the late 1990s. I sold it and purchased my second home on the Big Lake in 2012 and have been living there since. Suffice it to say, it is just a slice of heaven that is just too hard to walk away from. In both cases, I purchased my lake homes in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, which is a quaint small town on the northern end of the lake.

Moultonboro has waterfront property on both Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake, both of which were in the film “On Golden Pond”.

Here is a vacation home on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Like many people who buy on the Big Lake, I bought a seasonal camp on it and then razed it and built a new large year round home on the property. We used the home year round for nearly 12 years before we sold it and purchased a slightly larger home that was built the same year we built our first home.

As stated earlier, having been a resident of New Hampshire for over 35 years and been a member of the Lake Winnipesaukee community for 15 years, I have had the chance to witness the growth and changes in the Lakes Region. Suffice it to say, the area continues to change and grow. Each year there are many old camps that are torn down and replaced by new large vacation homes. The Adirondack style seems to be the most popular style home built on the lake now days.

In the late 70’s the typical well built cottage sold for around $100K on pristine waterfront. Today, a similar type cottage on similar waterfront would sell for around $1M, basically just for the land.

Lake Winnipesaukee - a vacation destination in Central New Hampshire.

By the time the new home is constructed the typical 5,000 square foot Adirondack property will list for around $2M to 4M dollars. Prices came down somewhat after 2006, but at the time of this writing prices have begun rising again.

Overall, Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront homes tend to hold up fairly well during a downturn in the economy. The main reasons for this are that there is simply limited waterfront property, and most folks who own the properties own them outright. They have no mortgages and thus can afford to hold onto them even in a downturn in the economy. Even during the last downturn new homes were commonly being built on the lake.

In terms of where to purchase property on Lake Winnipesaukee there are a couple of key factors to consider. The northern part of the lake, such as in Moultonboro, Center Harbor, and Tuftonboro, has lower tax rates, simply due to the fact that there are less full time residents and school age children living in the towns. Thus, a $1.5M home will have a property tax bill of around $12K.

In the southern part of the lake, such as in Meredith, Alton, Gilford or Wolfeboro, you can expect lakefront homes to cost around the same as in the northern towns; however the property taxes will be double.

The northern part of the lake is less commercialized and is quieter than the southern part.

New Home Construction Bid Sheet

However, it does take more time to get to the northern part of the lake. Depending upon what town, you can expect an extra 15 to 30 minute drive. Since my primary home is in the southern part of New Hampshire, and I prefer a quieter lifestyle and lower property taxes, Moultonboro is the perfect Big Lake town for us.

If on the other hand you want to be close to lots of off-water activities, and have a shorter trip to the Big Lake, then the southern part of the lake maybe perfect for you. The southern part of the lake boasts more restaurants, movie theaters, the largest arcade in the world, a premier concert pavilion where top bands play during the summer, and the Weirs beach area.

Maintaining a Lake Winnipesaukee Waterfront Property

With a lakefront vacation home there is more maintenance to think about than your traditional home. There are docks that need to be put into the lake in the spring, and then pulled out in the fall. Likewise the same is true for boats. There is also fall clean up which involves leaf raking and putting away all of the deck and lawn tables and chairs. Then the process begins again in the spring. During the winter months, snow removal needs to be done to ensure you, and emergency vehicles, have access to your home.

If you close your home down for the winter, pipes need to be drained, water supplies shut off, and the home overall winterized for the frigid cold months. All of this maintenance takes time and money. So be prepared. A home is not self-maintaining and that certainly is true of a lakefront property.

To conclude, buying property on Lake Winnipesaukee is a fantastic investment. It’s also a fun investment. Instead of watching you money growth, and shrink, in the stock market, you get to enjoy your summers on the lake with family and friends. Just make sure you consider all the important factors mentioned above and do your homework before making a purchase. Lastly, keep in mind that if you do buy a home on Lake Winnipesaukee you have a responsibility to protect it for future generations to enjoy. More specifically, make sure you do your part in protecting its shoreline and water so that it stays pristine for generations to come.

If looking for more information on Lake Winnipesaukee Real Estate feel free to contact me at Though not an active real estate professional, I do hold a New Hampshire Real Estate license and can refer you to some extremely knowledgeable New Hampshire lakes region real estate professionals.

For help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home addition project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home addition building costs.

Related Information

Free Home Addition Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on a house addition from one of our prescreened and licensed home addition contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your house addition price estimate.