Lake Gaston Sunset    

Lake Gaston  North Carolina / Virginia

More than a LUXURY...   More than a LIFESTYLE...  
It's an excellent

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FAQs about Lake Gaston

In addition to the Real Estate Guide & info that I am happy to send at your request, the following information should be helpful to you in gaining further insight about Lake Gaston. The info covers some frequently asked questions about property and the Lake area.  Please call or email at your convenience if you would like to talk in more specific terms or schedule a visit to see some of our available properties.


Is Lake Gaston a city or an area?


Where can I get information about Real Estate Listings?


Are prices too far out of reach for the average person?


Is this a good market for investment only buyers?


Must you build on your lot right away? 


How large is the Lake?


Is the land flat or elevated?


What kind of boating is allowed on the lake?


How high are the area taxes?


Who owns the shoreline?


Are Boathouses, Piers and Landscaping the Shore allowed?

Lake Gaston Area:  Lake Gaston is a not a city or township, but rather a "community" of the privately owned property surrounding the Lake (no public parks, but public boat ramps).  The 20,000+ acre lake has 350 miles of shoreline in 2 states and 5 counties. Because of our recreational and relaxed pace, our population of residents on the Lake is drawn primarily from a very large and diverse mix of vacation homeowners and retirees.  Approximately half are full time residents.  For maps or a list of zip codes and townships, open MAPS.

Real Estate Listings:  The Real Estate Guide is just that, and many properties in the Guide will have sold since printing of the Guide. This website, however, provides you with free on-line access to the Lake Gaston MLS (Multiple Listing Service) at your leisure. The internet version of our MLS is not as detailed or sophisticated as the professional version, but I have also provided tips for making it a little more user friendly.  Its advantage is that it is always current and provides multiple color photos of the properties, virtual tours, and sometimes plats and other documents. If you find a property of interest, I will be happy to email, mail or fax the detailed spec sheet to you. The Guide, MLS, and photos are helpful, but no substitute for seeing each unique property in person!

Size:  Lake Gaston is an impoundment of more than 20,000 surface acres.  It is 34 miles long and 1.3 miles across at its widest point, with average water depths of 40 feet.  This is a privately owned lake along the Roanoke River Basin created to generate hydroelectric power.  The  facility is owned by Dominion Resources and like all bodies of water this size, it operates within the regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.  It is monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Wildlife Commissions of both North Carolina and Virginia.

Topography/Geography:  The shoreline of Lake Gaston is surrounded by hilly and flat terrain.  Every lot and home is unique, especially when you consider the mix of waterfront, topography, view, water depth near shoreline for boating, swimming, etc.  So I will speak in very general terms to be used as a basic guideline only.  More specific facts can be obtained about a certain property once we have narrowed down our search criteria. There is no major difference between land values or topography between the 2 states or among the 225+ subdivisions.  Each lot and waterfront, even within the same subdivision, is unique, though you may find more opportunities for elevated lots in the NW.  We also refer to the location of our land by quadrants (NW, SW, NE, SE) using the main-lake, Eaton Ferry Bridge as the central dividing line, connecting the north & south shores.

Lake/Boating:  The “main” body of the lake runs east/west and is approx 35 miles long between the dams.  The only bridge crossing over the main lake (Eaton Ferry Bridge) is centrally located and elevated to allow boats to go under. The lake also includes 20 “Creeks” that run north or south off the main body.  All have access to the main body, and some require boating under a bridge. Many people prefer living, boating, or swimming in the coves/creeks on Lake Gaston (large lakes themselves) because they tend to be quieter and there is less wind, surf and boating activity (and it’s less expensive). If a property is not on the “main” lake we consider it to be on a “cove.” The pontoon boat is seen just as often as water skiing boats… and small sailboats enjoy the wonderful breezes across the main body.  Of course, the lake is dotted with jet skis, and those crazy fishermen are out even on the coldest of days!!

Property Values: Your investment in waterfront property here is still excellent, especially when you take a long term view.  In 2010 we saw our market segments turning back up after the 3-4 year slide.  Thankful that our market didn't suffer quite the same damages as we have seen and heard nationally. 

Regarding price...there is something for every budget!  (Open the QUIK Search or Values links for a quick idea.)  Lots that have at least one boundary line shared with Dominion's property are considered "waterfront" and can be purchased for as little as $50,000 and more than $650,000.  As a very general guideline for the 2011 market, you might expect to purchase a “good” waterfront lot on one of the coves for about $250K and up, but there are many nice lots for much less.  Most good lots on the main body are valued higher... around $325K and up.  “Good” = wide water view, 100+ linear footage at shoreline, moderate slope to the land, and at least 4' of water depth for swimming and the boat slip. We have many great values and lots priced well below these averages, but as a general rule, they will lack one or more of the most desirable features, (i.e., the water may be shallower, not a panoramic view, steep elevation, etc.).

Construction costs for homes built on site in this area run about $95/sf for standard or builder grade materials and $120+/sf for upgraded or custom quality. If you are looking for a house on the water, our market offers a wide variety of homes from $250,000 to over $1 million.  Site-built waterfront homes start around $350K, and the average waterfront home price is about $450K.

Taxes:  If you would like relocation info on the 2 states, 5 counties surrounding the Lake (taxes, phone, etc.) this is available through the TAX page. Generally speaking, even though there are 5 different county tax structures for real & personal property, the overall differences may not be significant enough to select one county/state over the other... but NC does favor the Federal retirees!

Building Requirements:  The vast majority of waterfront property is within our 225+ residential subdivisions, and our subdivision Covenants & Restrictions are very, very reasonable considering the recreational nature of our properties.  We have a few townhouse subdivisions and a few "gated" communities.  None of the subdivisions (or an extreme few) require that you build on the lot within a certain timeframe, or even at all!!  That means purchasing a lot with no intent to build can be a very excellent and affordable investment.

Generally speaking, "restricted" subdivisions are limited to site (stick) built or modular homes, and "unrestricted" subdivisions allow single or doublewide manufactured/mobile homes.  Our older waterfront neighborhoods are transitioning the types of housing, and older manufactured homes are being replaced with luxury site built homes.  The restrictions on minimum sq. footage for house sizes are also very reasonable, and annual Homeowner Association dues for a subdivisions run between $100-$350 a year, primarily for subdivision "common" property (roads, boat ramps, picnic shelters) maintenance. 

Shoreline/Water:  (Open WATERFRONT page). Dominion Power owns the lake and the shoreline.  They also own a variable "strip" of land surrounding the shore which is needed for slight variations in lake elevation and emergency flood control.  Your permitted use of the land between your property line and the shoreline (which varies depending on the topo) is regulated by Dominion's operating license, as is your permitted use of the lake for constructing docks.

Some documentation about individual properties make reference to “HWM.” This coined term stands for “High Water Mark" which indicates the linear footage of a lot's boundary line on the end of the lot that fronts the water.  The HWM footage (or your lake-side boundary line) is most often not the same linear footage at the shoreline.  To further explain... if your lot is rectangular, then the HWM should be about the same footage at the actual shoreline. If your lot is pie shaped pointing at the water, then there will be less footage at shoreline than what is reflected in the HWM. Also, the flatter the lot, the more distance between your property line and the shoreline, and the steeper the lot the less Dominion land in between.

Boathouses/Piers /Landscaping at the Shore:  A prized feature about Lake Gaston is that you can build your house pretty close to the water and build a permanent (fixed vs. floating) boat house /dock because of our constant, regulated water levels between the two dams.   That's assuming you have enough shoreline for the pier.  Visit the "Waterfront" Link which provides another link to Dominion’s website and Shoreline Management Plan. If desired, you can view or download the Shoreline Management Plan/Construction & Use Procedures which is the guide for building boathouses and clearing/landscaping the strip of land that belongs to Dominion.

I’ll be happy to explain those regulations to you in person when you come to look at property. Lake Gaston is not a “Corp” lake, but any and all construction of docks, landscaping, water treatments, etc. must be previously approved (permitted) by Dominion Resources. They are very reasonable with their guidelines, and will meet with you in their office to discuss a particular property prior to your making an offer to purchase.

I hope you found these answers helpful.  My intent is not to overwhelm you but inform you.  It will all come together easily once we meet and I have shown you a few properties. Call when the time is convenient for you to discuss your questions and set up a time to get together.

Chris Thompson, VA/NC License
Associate Broker, REALTOR®
Waterfront Properties at Lake Gaston
Toll Free:      877-A-LAKE-4-U
Day/Evening:   252-586-2828 
Mobile:    434-917-3289