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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
HAVE A GREAT DAY…and A GREAT LIFE ON LAKE