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The Crowne Pointe Effect

Crowne Pointe is a 90 unit waterfront condominium complex on Lake Martin.  It is off of Centerport Road, along Highway 50, on the south eastern side of the lake.  Its sales history offers a interesting look into the waterfront real estate market on Lake Martin.

Earlier this year, the lending bank took over ownership of Crowne Pointe from the developer.  When they did, they still had about (my wild guess) 3.5 of the 5 buildings’ worth of units to sell and close.  In order to sell the units, they slashed the asking prices from $599,000 to $319,000.

The result:  they are selling quickly.

As a matter of fact, the Lake Martin market as a whole is doing relatively well.  As I have documented, July and June were great months.

A natural question is, how much are Lake Martin sales being influenced by Crowne Pointe sales?

To answer the question, I took a look at the percentage of closed sales in the Lake Martin MLS that were condos or town homes this year, and compared that to prior years.  Here is what I found:

So far this year, from Jan. 1 2009 – July 31, 2009 – 36% of sales have been condos or town homes. Compare this to 12% in 2006, 27% in 2007, and 17% in 2008. If you average all three years, condos and town homes account for 18% of waterfront sales on Lake Martin.

Conclusion: Yes.  At double the normal condo / town home rate, Crowne Pointe is having a huge, statistically significant impact on 2009 sales on Lake Martin.

Another question: Is Crowne Pointe solely responsible for the upswing in sales this summer at Lake Martin?  I think not. Look at it this way:

If you look at all waterfront sales in the Lake Martin MLS from 1-1-2006 to 7-31-2009 – you get 634 sales.  132, or 21% of them are condos or town homes.  That means that this year we have 15% more than the three and a half year average.  If you removed that 15% from 105 total sales in 2009 through July 31, you are still at 90 sales, which is way more than the 72 that were sold through July 2008.

Remove The Crowne Pointe Effect, and 2009 is still a winner.  Leave it in, and 2009 is a strong winner.

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Accuracy is not guaranteed but deemed reliable. The above does not include sales by FSBOs or developers that sell privately and not through the MLS. But, I do think that the above represents a very large majority of all sales on Lake Martin.

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Lake Martin 101: How To Measure Winter And Summer Water Depth

Every now and then I like to include a post that covers the basics skills you need if you are interested in Lake Martin waterfront real estate.

(Please watch the above video, Lake Martin 101: Water Depth produced by John Coley on WellcomeMat)

It’s not really tough math, but water depth on Lake Martin changes in the winter months.  Full pool is 490 feet, winter pool is 480 feet (right now at least).

If you’re wondering why the level changes, read this.

Maybe you’re thinking about buying a waterfront home on Lake Martin, even if you are not insisting on being able to drive your boat from your dock in January, you still need to know the water depth of the homes you are considering.  Water depth, along with other such fuzzy metrics as view and privacy constitute a big part of pricing on every lot or home on the lake.

And if you own waterfront property on Lake Martin right now, you probably already know your winter and summer water depths. But if you are nosing around the market, you need to check the other homes’ depths so you can compare to yours.

If you are curious about any property on the lake, and would like help in pricing something, or finding a home or lot to suit your future plans, please call.  I would love to help you.

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Aquapalooza At Lake Martin – Best Pictures And Video

Aquapalooza 2009 at Lake Martin proved to be a huge success.

I will admit to some head scratching in the time leading up to the event.  How would all those people be shuttled to boats?  Would there be enough anchor room? Would there be enough police?

Russell Marine, Sea Ray, the Marine Police, and Alan Jackson all delivered on a great Lake Martin experience.  It truly lived up to the hype of the biggest party ever on the water at Lake Martin.

Sure, the lines were long for the shuttle boats. Sure, there were hundreds of swimmers in the way if you were boating up and down the lanes.  Towards the end of the afternoon you needed someone in the front of the boat to yell “Move!”  Sure, traffic was congested when everyone left after the Alan Jackson show.  But all in all, it was very well done, and very safe considering the huge numbers of people that showed up.

pic of love shack

Big Thanks To Lake Martin Dock Company

As I said above, Russell, Sea Ray, and Alan Jackson deserve a lot of credit.  But I will submit that Lake Martin Dock Company should be right in there deserving some praise, for three reasons:

1They worked (almost) round the clock for weeks setting up the intricate anchor system that literally kept the flotilla together.  They also supplied much of the barges, marine equipment, and infra structure.

2. The Love Shack! – see the above pic.  Larry Bain and Sharon Johnston had the most creative and festively decorated spot to watch the concert.  They had an old covered floating dock that they transformed into a fun, shady party structure.  The Love Shack was complete with plants, Smith & Hawken lounge furniture, a gas grill, and a port o potty (with shoji-esque modesty screening).  It was a watermark for everyone at Aquapalooza, as in “go to the Love Shack, hang a right, and we’re the fourth boat on the right.”

3. Hospitality – Larry and Sharon and family were kind enough to have my wife and I on board for the day.  It was so nice! We are in their debt.

The Music At Aquapalooza Lake Martin 2009

We had to leave before Alan Jackson played. We were sad to go but didn’t want to burn our kid sitters out.

I must say that my favorite act was Jypsi.  They were a young band, were yankees, and looked like the B-52s mashed up with the White Stripes.  Looks deceived.  They played some mean, fast, crisp bluegrass. I was loving it. When they cut into Muleskinner’s Blues, I got chill bumps in the ninety degree weather.  I think even my Kentucky buddies would have approved.

More Lake Martin Aquapalooza / Alan Jackson Pictures And Video

Professional:

At the risk of hurting Sea Ray’s feelings, I submit that the best professional pics of Aquapalooza were taken by Kenneth Boone. Kenneth (known around town as “Mr. Perfect”) is the newspaper baron in Alex City, and is one of the best photographers I have the pleasure of knowing.  He has outstanding aerial photos, band pics, and the best collection of crowd photos that I have seen. See below for the link, sorry I can’t figure out how to embed the slide show:

Link to Kenneth Boone’s Lake Martin Aquapalooza Photo Album

Amateur:

There are tons of amateur photos of Aquapalooza on the web.  More being added every day.  The best collection of them that are outside of social networks are posted on Bruce Pate’s Lake Martin dot com.

Aquapalooza Lake Martin Video:

Here’s a quick link to the search results for Aquapalooza Lake Martin on Youtube

Also below here is my video from the Love Shack:

and also one that Palmer (you can hear her laughing at me) shot of me getting interviewed by CMT. My (dwindling list of) friends are already sick of hearing about it, and I am sure that I will not make the final edit, but here it goes:

By the way, if you still have not totally lost respect for me from that goofy interview,

and you are interested in Lake Martin waterfront real estate– please contact me.  I would love to help you!

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Alan Jackson’s Lake Stage Highlights Aquapalooza 2009 on Lake Martin

Yep, you heard it right.  The organizers of Aquapalooza 2009 are building a stage on the edge of Lake Martin for Alan Jackson.

And the only way to see the concert is on the water, by boat.

It’s an all day event on Saturday, July 25, with music starting at 11:30 AM and Jackson headlining at 6:00 PM.  Since safety is an issue with an event this size, the concert will be over before dark.

According to The Wetumpka Herald, the stage will be built at the water’s edge, over on the western side Kowaliga Bridge near Sinclair’s Restaurant. There will be a swimming area and dance platform directly in front of the stage.

kowaliga-bay

Click here for a Google map of the Aquapalooza 2009 Lake Martin location.

If you want an upclose view of Jackson, get there early (boats can begin “rafting up” on Friday at 2:00 PM Central).  And please, have at least one sober driver and one sober first mate per boat.  The driver will need to be alert to maneuver, and the mate will need to be the extra set of eyes and help fend off other bumping boats.

There will be mooring buoys with lines in Kowaliga Bay. Attendants on Sea-Doo® watercrafts will direct traffic and helping with boat mooring, and a shuttle service will help you to and from your boat.

Questions about this concert?  Here’s a link to the offical Aquapalooza 2009 website FAQs.

Have fun and be safe.

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Robert M Wins Reader Of Month Award For Elvis Photos

Lake Martin Voice is proud to give the Reader of the Month award to Robert M for his timely, well captured pictures of Elvis’ performance at Jim’s Bait Shop on Highway 50 on July 3.

Elvis Hits a Move

Knowing what a huge fan I am, Robert M acted fast on Friday when I sent out this post about The King’s upcoming appearance.  When I realized I could not be there in person, I sent out an impassioned plea for anyone to take some pics or video.  Al Gore’s “internet” did the job, spreading the word far and wide.  They say that Twitter has proved its chops with the Iranian voting scandal, but I say that Elvis at Jim’s Bait Shop trumps that.

Elvis Pauses In Between "Numbers"

Elvis is patriotism in a white jump suit.

Elvis at Jim's Bait Shop, Lake Martin

I bet he was singing Burnin Love right here.

Elvis Greets His Adoring Fans

The King.

Elvis' Venue - Jim's Bait Shop

On behalf of all Lake Martin Elvis fans, thanks to Jim’s Bait Shop for making this happen.

If you would like to see a slideshow of these, click here.

Do you have any pictures of Lake Martin: wildlife, scenery, people? Add them to the I Love Lake Martin group on Flickr.  It’s free to join, and fun to share photos.

Or do you have any ideas or submissions for stories? If you do, send them to me on my contact form, and you could be the lucky recipient of the next ROM Award.

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Elvis Will Be at Jim’s Bait Shop Tonight At 6:30

As a Lake Martin blogger, and huge Elvis fan, I must say that the above was my favorite headline I have ever written.
Elvis will be here at 6:30
For those of you that are hip to the Lake Martin Voice Twitter stream, you have already heard the news.

Tonight, July 3, 2009, the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley, will be appearing at Jim’s Bait Shop, on Highway 50 in Walnut Hill, Alabama, just south of Lake Martin.

I am going to try to be there to get some video – but if anyone else can get pics or video – PLEASE send it to me.  Or better yet upload it to the I Love Lake Martin group on Flickr. It’s free.  Or you can use Twitpic or Flickr 2 Twitter to upload pics and video, just make sure to type in #lakemartin somewhere in the description so the rest of us can find it!

And yes, the above is a picture of the back of the self car wash & and vacuum area at Jim’s.  The King will truly be amongst the people.

And, as E himself said in King Creole, “Crawfish!”

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Lake Martin’s 2009 Jazz Fest Will Start And End Strong

The Alex City Jazz Fest continues to provide the Lake Martin area with the best value in music and entertainment.  Since the Jazz Fest is free, it’s hard to beat that value.

You can also make the case that, on the Lake Martin concert scale of things, the Jazz Fest offers some of the best music, regardless of price.

A look at prior years’ Jazz Fests rosters shows you talent that you might pay heavily to hear: Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, just to name a few.

OPENING WITH A BANG

Don’t be late to downtown Alex City on Friday night, June 12, 2009.  The first act is old style delta blues master Kent DuChaine.   He starts at 6:00 PM, so you better get there early.

Kent is a throwback to the blues pioneers of the pre-1950s era.  He plays an old steel Dobro, with a slide, of course.  He plays anywhere, anytime.  In fact he has been in the Netherlands or something playing the week before Jazz Fest.  Kent has headlined blues festivals in Europe and the US, but (for some reason) you can still see him at local bars (Marty’s in Birmingham) and private parties.  He plays hard no matter if the crowd is 10 or 10,000.

I won’t go on and on about his impeccable blues lineage, except to say that through his days with Alabama blues legend Johnny Shines, he has a direct tutorial line to Robert Johnson.  In fact I think he plays Johnson’s tunes to perfection.  Most musicians I hear, even self billed blues players, do horrible justice to Robert Johnson songs. Most feel the need to try to have a modern interpretation that just falls flat.  Or, they attempt acoustic and just sound weak, tinny, and condescendingly corn pone hokey.  Kent plays Robert Johnson’s blues not exactly how he sounds on the Library of Congress recordings, but how he would have played them in a beer joint outside of Clarksdale, MS on a sweltering summer night. Think Clapton’s Unplugged “Rollin and Tumblin.”  Rip-roaring. Brazen.  Pillaging the countryside. Unafraid of the Crossroads.  Mocking the hell hounds.

DuChaine also expertly covers the Chess era of the blues.  Muddy, the Wolf, Sonny Boy, and the like. He switches effortlessly between the boasts of “Red Rooster” to the solemn wail of “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Kent also mixes in his own material with the masters.’  Solid Gold.

I’ve heard Kent play probably 30 times in my life.  He only gets better. Do yourself a favor and get a taste of real authentic delta blues.  I almost hate to label him like that, for fear that some may judge too quickly.  But, as my wife –  who “does not like Western movies”  – sobbed uncontrollably through the last 2 hours of Lonesome Dove, I think that most people won’t realize he played delta blues, they will just know they loved it.

CLOSING WITH A BLAST

Susan Tedeschi will be the last act for 2009 Jazz Fest, Saturday Night at the Lake Martin Amphitheater.

She is super talented.  I hear her a lot on the Sirius – XM Blues Channel.  From her recordings, I think we can expect more original stuff than covers, but that’s OK by me, because she’s really good.  It seems like every time I hear a strong, soulful female voice singing on the Channel, I check the artist’s name and it’s her. Tedeschi also just so happens to be married to former Jazz Fest headliner Derek Trucks.

Did I mention the Jazz Fest is free? Don’t let my lack of ink on the other acts deter you.  I’m trying to say that it wil all be good.

Full 2009 Alex City Jazz Fest Schedule

Click Here for Jazz Fest on Facebook

Click Here for Jazz Fest on myspace

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Russell Lands Affiliates With ERA Lake Martin Realty

Russell Lands, the largest private land owner and developer of Lake Martin, Alabama, has affiliated with the national real estate company of ERA.

This is huge news.

I was flipping through the April issue of Lake Martin Living this afternoon.  I noticed a big, nice ad on page 54 from Russell Lands.  The ad cites their website as Russell Lands On Lake Martin dot com.  This caught my attention as it is a new URL. Formerly everything Russell is on Russell Lands dot com.

So I checked out their new site.  It is really nice, goes over a lot of features of Lake Martin, like the new dining at Russell Crossroads like Catherine’s Market and Springhouse Restaurant.  The site also details the many off the water activities like hiking, biking and horse riding in Russell Forest.

Then I clicked on one of the upper tabs marked “Corporate” and then on the “Affiliated Businesses.” It details out many businesses of which I am familiar like Russell Marine and Willow Point.  But the last one really caught my eye: “ERA Lake Martin Realty.” What?

Check it out.  If you click on that link, it takes you to an entirely different site – ERA Lake Martin Realty dot com.

On that site header it calls ERA Lake Martin Realty “A Russell Lands Affiliated Company.” On the page that describes the ERA Advantage, it describes ERA Lake Martin Realty as “formerly Russell Lands Real Estate.”

If you click on the “meet the agents” tab, you will see many (but not all) of the agents that have been advertised in past issues of Lake Martin Homes and Land Magazine and those listed as having their license with Russell Lands according to the Alabama Real Estate Commission.

So I guess that we have an entirely new real estate company on Lake Martin – ERA Lake Martin Realty, which is populated by many agents that were “formerly Russell Lands Real Estate.” Okay.

I think this will have a interesting impact on the Lake Martin real estate market. It will be really interesting to see how they roll out their new plans.  I will comment on the possible effects of this later, but for now, I give congratulations on the new venture; I wish the company and its agents the very best!

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Who Owns My Dirt? A Word On Easements And Setbacks

mending wallA reader in the Lake Martin dot com forum posed this question:

Is there a shoreline zone owned by Alabama Power from the 491 level of Lake Martin to the start of private ownership? This is the case with some reservoirs.  If so, what is the distance?

There were some good answers in the thread, and I thought I would throw in a word or two hereA copy of my answer is below, I thought Lake Martin Voice blog readers might be interested:

Watch your real estate definitions.

Easement – a granted right of one party to another, different from ownership. Like if you owned a 100 acre plot of land that has a power line going through it, you own the dirt, but the power company has been granted an easement to put a power line across it. A Lake Martin example would be where Alabama Power owns the dirt of the floor of the lake, but they give you an easement to build a dock over it, subject to their restrictions.

Setback – a rule that says even though you own the dirt, you can’t build / alter it in a specified zone.  The 30 foot rule on most of Lake Martin’s shoreline is a setback. Alabama Power (in a deeded lot, more than likely) doesn’t own the dirt, they just tell you (via deed restrictions) that you can’t build NEW CONSTRUCTION in this zone. Same deal with lot lines with your neighbor, perhaps enforced by the county or your subdivision. Again, you own the dirt, but are deed restricted (via the deed, set forth in conditions that you agreed to when you bought it) by this.

Shoreline – just because the water on Lake Martin is there doesn’t mean you necessarily own up to it. I have seen all sorts of things here. Sometimes you are in a subdivision that describes the lot as “lot x in the recorded plat of Y neighborhood” which means you then go to the plat at the courthouse (Tallapoosa, Elmore, or Coosa) to figure it out. Also I have seen “metes and bounds” descriptions where someone has gotten a surveyor to plot the shoreline, foot by foot, turn by turn. Also I have seen really old ones that just describe the shoreline side of the lot in such juicily ambiguous terms as the “shore of Lake Martin.”

The key here is that every lot on Lake Martin COULD be different. I have also seen lots that are so old or oddly recorded that the above easement and setback rules don’t apply.

Bottom line – ALWAYS get a professional (lawyer or closing agent) to do a very thorough deed / title search to know EXACTLY what you are getting when you buy. Get a survey, too. Before you build or alter anything, this will give you a good understanding of what the deal is. On Lake Martin the dirt is the most expensive thing, usually, so it pays to be sure about the dirt and the associated easements, setbacks, and other restrictions.

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Low CPI Is Good News For Leased Lot Homeowners On Lake Martin

83331457Every cloud has a ray of sunshine, to mix cliches. The latest news from Washington means more money in the pocket of people who own leased lot homes from Alabama Power on Lake Martin.

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, Consumer Price Index, or CPI, has hit a 53 year low.

This is significant to leased lot homeowners because in the lot leases with Alabama Power, the yearly change in the lease amount is tied to CPI. Every lease is different, of course, so consult a lawyer to look over the fine print. But speaking generally, every waterfront lot lease on Lake Martin that I have ever seen has a clause that addresses lease increases and decreases. Every year the lease amount changes by the CPI. According to the WSJ, core CPI last year was up 1.7%. Many people don’t realize that. They think that Alabama Power locks you into a lease and then can “raise the lease to whatever they want.”

Untrue. Even in real estate boom years like 2005, the lease increase is capped by CPI. In slower years, they still can’t go up willy nilly.

That’s how a weak CPI is good for leased lot homeowners on Lake Martin!

Curious about leased lot homes on Lake Martin? They are an extremely affordable way to own a home on the lake. I have three for sale starting at $274,900 and about $355 a month lease. Your total payments would be less than owning a condo, plus you would have the privacy of a home. Check out the homes of 19 Longleaf, 26 Claytons Lane, and 145 Captains Road. I think you will be pleased.

Related Articles:

Mythbuster: Alabama Power Leased Lot Homes On Lake Martin
5 Questions and Answers – Leased Lot Homes On Lake Martin

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