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Island Life: The cost of waterfront living

The real estate market has been booming across the country, and that's also the case for one of the most secluded communities in Northeast Wisconsin.
Posted at 5:54 AM, Feb 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-09 11:59:31-05

WASHINGTON ISLAND (NBC 26) — Buying a lakefront home on Washington Island or opting for a blank slate and building your own home on an available lot will certainly set you back, but how much?

If you're curious what it might cost to relocate to Washington Island, Real Estate Agent Amy Jorgenson is the island's expert and has been connecting families with their new properties for 17 years on Washington Island and the surrounding Door County mainland.

"So, Washington Harbor; we have Schoolhouse Beach. Schoolhouse Beach is right over on this side over here. It's very popular in the summer. We get sailboats, speedboats, we get some jet boats, jet skis, we get some swimmers. This is a very popular area. Some people even like to swim across the harbor," Jorgenson said while showcasing properties on the banks of Washington Harbor.

Jorgenson says buyers are often eager to share their must-have list when shopping for a waterfront property.

"What makes this so special besides having the deep water frontage, this beautiful white rock beach are these clusters of cedar trees. So it makes it really easy to navigate the woods," Jorgenson said while showing an available waterfront lot.

She says properties on the north and west side of the island typically sell for more money, because the water is deeper, and buyers like that, because they can dock bigger boats in those spots. However, she says buyers often love to find properties with exceptional sunsets, and that's a a big draw for the island's west side too.

Jorgenson says waterfront properties typically sell for a couple hundred thousand dollars more than an inland home, which might sound like a lot, but she says when people enjoy the water and only walk a few short steps through their back door, they don't worry as much about the price.

"It's more about what life is really about, and that's hunting, fishing, spending time with family, spending time with friends. It's quality of life," Joregenson added.

Jorgenson adds the real estate market has been booming for the last three years, but she expects it to taper off with changing interest rates, and there's currently a limited inventory.

She says a majority of buyers either outgrow their homes and start looking for a bigger space, or out-of-state buyers are looking to eventually retire so they buy a vacation home they can rent out for a few years and fix up to eventually transition to spending more time on the island.

Jorgenson says whatever someone's reason is to relocate to the island, she loves being able to connect people with the perfect place and takes pride in it.

"It gives me goosebumps, because to see how happy they are and see how it's worked for their family, it's the best feeling," Jorgenson said.

Jorgenson says the cabin-style home and lot sold for nearly $850,000 in August of 2022, and the adjacent lot without a home is currently listed for about $400,000.

To learn more about island life and what makes Washington Island and the surrounding region so special, you can click here!