Lakeshore Value


Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 14:21:08 -0500
From: “Korth, Robert”
Subject: Lake value perimeter

Hello there

For some time there has been an interest in finding ways to show that clean, healthy lakes are important to our nation’s economy. Some states such as Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine and Wisconsin have had some economic studies, hedonic modeling and other work done that look at the variation in waterfront property values with different parameters, such as water clarity, how does value change when there is removal of shoreland vegetation and so on.

We looked at a simple premise: if we could discover the length of the frontage around lakes and we had some idea of the going price of a front foot in a given county, we should be able to get a rough idea of the value of bare lakeshore frontage (not considering improvements) in a given county. By calculating the number of feet around the lakes in a county, we felt the information could be used to give a county a rough idea of the value of their lake frontage.

Here is our Shoreline Length Analysis giving the number of feet around Wisconsin lakes by county and for the total state. (See the attachments which describe the methods used and give a break down by county: Shoreline Length Analysis by County.doc and shoreline_length.xls )

The approximate length around WI lakes, ponds, flowages, reservoirs (including the Great Lakes, but not including rivers or streams) is:
· 29,305 miles – greater than the circumference of the earth around the equator.
· 154.7 million feet of frontage. If you picked a number such as $1,000 for the average value of a front foot of shoreline, that would equate to a total value for the frontage of all the lakes in WI of: $154.7 billion dollars. To come up with more accurate values for your county, use what you believe is the average value per front foot in your area.

For comparison purposes, we pulled together some numbers on agriculture and forestry land:
· According to USDA Economic Research Services, total farmland in WI in 2002 was estimated at 15.7 million acres. Using a value of $3000/acre, this would equate to approximately $46 billion dollars.

· According to the US Forest Service, total forestland in WI in 2006 was estimated at 15.9 million acres. Using a value of $3000/acre, this would equate to approximately $48 billion dollars.

(This information was compiled by Robert Korth and Tiffany Lyden, UW Extension Lakes at UW-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources, working with Doug Miskowiak, at the Center for Land Use Education.)

Please feel free to share this.

R Korth, T Lyden

Robert Korth

800 Reserve St
UWEX Lakes
UW Stevens Point
College of Natural Resources
Stevens Point WI 54481

Tiffany Lyden
UW-Extension Lakes
800 Reserve St.
College of Natural Resources
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Douglas Miskowiak
Land Use/ GIS Specialist
Center for Land Use Education (CLUE)
Global Environmental Managment (GEM)
College of Natural Resources
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
800 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
ph. 715.346.4989


Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 12:34:07 -0400
From: “O’Neill, Mike”
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] Value of lakeshore perimeter

Just a thought about these calculations…

An acre of land is 43,560 square feet (a square of approximately 209 feet on a side). Using those dimensions and the estimate provided in the email, an acre of unfinished lakefront property would be valued at $43,560,000 – probably well beyond the fair market value for such property. I’m guessing that a “building lot” of lake front property goes for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000. You can estimate the value of the lake front by first getting the square foot cost and then multiplying by linear feet (or miles) – you probably get an estimate of $4 – $5 per linear foot of waterfront – substantially lower than the $1000 estimate. This would put the value of lake front between $619 and $774 Million.

Cheers, Mike

Michael P. O’Neill
National Program Leader, Water Resources
202-205-5952 Voice
202-401-1706 Fax

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