North Carolina Lakes – Real Estate for Sale

Lakeside Homes – Lake Norman Area Real Estate for Sale

The Lakes of Charlotte

North Carolina Lakes – Real Estate – I focus on the three major Charlotte area lakes that are all part of the Catawba River chain of lakes. There are a total of 11 lakes in the watershed, with Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, and Lake Wylie numbers 5, 6, and 7 in the chain, respectively. The chain starts in the Smokey Mountains with Lake James, followed by Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory, and Lookout Shoals Lake to the north. Then there is our subject lakes of Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake and Lake Wylie. Downstream from there into South Carolina is Fishing Creek Lake, Great Falls Lake, Rocky Creek lake, and Lake Wateree, after which the Catawba merges with the Santee River at Lake Marion, which ultimately flows out to the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Romaine, just south of Georgetown, SC.


Lake Norman

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes (click in the link to view all current listings) are sometimes referred to as the “inland sea” of North Carolina; it offers 520 miles (840 km) of shoreline and a surface area of more than 32,500 acres or 50 square miles. It is the biggest lake in NC. Full pond at Lake Norman is 760 feet above mean sea level. (Note: When reviewing surveys of lakefront property, the legal waterside edge of a lot is known as “the 760 line” for that reason. Similar rules apply for downstream lakes.) Interstate 77 and North Carolina Highway 150 cross Lake Norman at different points, and North Carolina Highway 73 passes just south of the lake at the foot of the Cowans Ford Dam.

Lake Norman Real Estate provides electricity to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. It powers the generators at the hydroelectric station at Cowans Ford Dam, and is used by Marshall Steam Station (to the north on Hwy 150) and McGuire Nuclear Station (To the south on 73) to cool the steam that drives their turbines. The lake supplies water to Lincoln County, NC Real Estate, Iredell County, NC Homes, Mooresville Real Estate, Charlotte, and other towns in Mecklenburg County, particularly Davidson Homes and Huntersville Real Estate.

Duke Power partnered with the state of North Carolina to establish Lake Norman State Park on the north end in Troutman Homes. It has also built two bank fishing areas and eight public boating access areas along the shoreline. One site is leased to Mecklenburg County and one to Iredell County. Popular game fish in Lake Norman include catfish, crappie, bluegill and yellow perch, as well as striped, largemouth, white bass along with multiple types of turtles. A brand new park with a man-made sandy beach is being planned in Cornelius.

There are also 13 waterside dining spots where you can pull up your boat and enjoy a meal and a beverage. They range from Fine Dining (Port City Club, North Harbor Club) to comfort food (Rusty Rudder, Blue Parrot, The Landing) just to name a few. These are extremely popular – what can be better than watching the sunset while dining on fresh local cuisine and then going home by boat?!

As a place to live, Lake Norman is tough to beat. Just a short drive north from Uptown Charlotte, many who work in Center City live at the lake. Towns on the I-77 corridor include (from south to north) Huntersville, Cornelius Homes, Davidson, Mooresville, and Troutman. Towns on the west side of the lake include Denver NC, Sherrills Ford, and Terrell and have recently benefited from the completion of the new Hwy 16 bypass which makes for a breeze of a commute. In general, the east side is more cosmopolitan and has more to offer in the way of shopping and dining. However I-77 traffic can be brutal and the planned construction of new toll lanes will begin next year – so this will most likely exasperate the issue. The west side is more rural but is developing quickly now that the new highway 16 is complete. Commuting to downtown from the west side is considerably shorter. Both sides offer high-end subdivisions as well as hidden gems in unincorporated areas – so it’s all about what you like.

Some quick LKN facts:

Year Completed: 1964

Area: 32,510 acres at full pond

Length: 33.6 miles

Width: 9 miles

Shore line length: 520 miles

Maximum Depth: 110 feet

Average Depth: 33.5 feet


Mountain Island Lake

Mountain Island Lake Homes for Sale (click in the link to view all current listings) – is just northwest of Charlotte and created in 1924 to coincide with the building of Mountain Island Hydroelectric Station. It is named after the mountain which appears as an island in the lake, and the surrounding area is identified by the lake’s name. The shape of the lake follows the Catawba River’s course, dammed near the Mount Holly Wastewater Plant. Mountain Island Lake is the smallest of the three subject lakes and is also managed by Duke Energy. Full pond elevation is approximately 647.5 feet; 112.5 feet lower in elevation than Lake Norman. The lake has around 3,281 acres of surface area and 61 miles of shoreline. The average depth is 17 feet but many lots still enjoy deep water due to the hilliness of the area; hence steeper drop-offs. Much less “famous” than its big upstream sister, Mountain Island is a hidden treasure that offers a lot in privacy & serenity, is closest to Charlotte and has much less boat traffic as it is much less populated. In fact, over 76% of the shoreline is still undeveloped.

Mountain Island Lake – the primary function of is to provide drinking water for over 800,000 residents of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County Real Estate, as well as Mount Holly and Gastonia, Gaston, NC County. The lake is also accessible to the public for boating and fishing use. There are two boating access areas on the lake and a fishing platform for bank fishing in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. There are many stories of the lake having monsters. Some myths say the ‘fish’ could capsize a whole boat!

A big upside to Mountain Island Lake Homes for Sale is that it’s very close to downtown Charlotte. Highway 16 bisects the lake and I-485 is just a few miles south, so access to the entire metro area is easy. Inside of Mountain Island Lake is a large island called Mountain Island which is a big landmark believed to be haunted. Other area attractions include the historic Rural Hill Farm, Historic Latta Plantation, and the Carolina Raptor Center.

On the downside, the Duke Energy plants on the lake have left some pockets of local groundwater contaminated with high levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and cobalt. The discharge has come from a lack of lining in older coal ash ponds containing namesake waste. While the offending plants have been shut down, the ash ponds remain. Fortunately they are targeted as part of the massive cleanup effort funded by Duke Energy (and its shareholders) that stemmed from the recent Dan River coal ash spill in the north part of the state. I wouldn’t let this completely eliminate MIL from consideration as water quality in the lake is actually quite safe. (After all it is Charlotte’s primary drinking water source.) However there is sediment that has higher levels of contaminants than desired. At the end of the day, as long as you don’t eat the fish from the lake on a daily basis (periodically is fine) you have little to be concerned about. Of course any further due diligence on this issue is up to each buyer’s discretion.

Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie Real Estate Homes for Sale (click in the link to view all current listings) are straddling both South Carolina and North Carolina. The lake has a surface area of 13,400 acres (21sq mi) and features 325 miles of shore line. It is the next lake downstream on the Catawba River watershed from Mountain Island Lake. The lake was first formed when the Catawba Power Company built the Catawba Dam and near India Hook, South Carolina in 1904, so it is the oldest of the three lakes featured in this document and second oldest in the chain. This dam impounded the Catawba River and created Lake Catawba, which was utilized to create hydro-electric power. In 1924 the Southern Power Company raised the level of the dam and built the new Catawba Hydroelectric Station to replace the original. This new facility opened in August 1925, increasing the surface area of Lake Catawba from 668 acres to its current size of 13,400 acres. The Southern Power Company was later merged with Duke Power Company in 1927. In 1960 the power station was renamed the Wylie Hydroelectric Station and the lake was renamed Lake Wylie, both in honor of Dr. Jake Stephen Wylie, one of the founders of the original Catawba Power Company that had originally created the lake.

Lake Wylie’s location on both the South Carolina and North Carolina borders makes it a common recreational destination for residents of nearby cities including Charlotte, Fort Mill, and Rock Hill. Duke Energy manages six public boat access areas on the lake. There are also two towns that are located on Lake Wylie including Tega Cay and Lake Wylie Real Estate Homes.

The average depth of the lake is just over twenty feet. While it is a deeper average than Mountain Island, the topography is more flat so many waterfront lots are somewhat shallow. This is important to consider when looking at lots – in the drought years of 1998-2002 many waterfront homeowners on Lake Wiley were “mudfront” and couldn’t access their docks for the entire summer seasons, so deep water lots are much more desirable.

Although they are not native to the area, alligators are sighted in Lake Wylie every few years. In 1999 Catawba Nuclear Station employees spotted a 5–7 foot alligator in a nearby lagoon and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officers captured an eight-foot alligator in August 2002. More recently, three small three-foot gators were spotted around the Elks Park Campground in 2009 and many have been spotted since . Wildlife experts generally agree that the likeliest cause of alligators in Lake Wylie is illegal dumping and it’s a little far north for them to be prevalent. It’s a cool fact, but not really a concern.

Prices on Lake Wiley versus comparable homes on Lake Norman are slightly less. Generally speaking they are ~5% lower. Taxes are also lower. Fort Mill school district is renowned for excellent schools. On the flip side, the water quality is better upstream as is the water depth and waterfront amenities.

It’s all a matter of taste and what matters to you most. There are amazing homes on all three lakes. I look forward to our conversation and helping you find your dream home – North Carolina Lakes – Real Estate for Sale!

Lake Norman – Mountain Island Lake – Lake Wylie: Waterfront Homes

Listings 1 - 20 of 206   next

118 Hadley Harbor Court -- 5 BR, 5.1 BA
Price: $4,790,000 (7456 sqft)
Subdivision: The Point
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Clarke Crawford | MLS # 4120597 | Active
14515 NC Hwy 73 Highway -- 4 BR, 4.1 BA
Price: $4,500,000 (5714 sqft)
Subdivision: Vista Lago
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Kathy Day | MLS # 4085004 | Active
199 Wilson Lake Road -- 4 BR, 4.2 BA
Price: $2,500,000 (4946 sqft)
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Pauline Williams | MLS # 4138390 | Active
22340 Country Club Lane -- 3 BR, 2.1 BA
Price: $2,150,000 (2328 sqft)
Subdivision: Country Club Shores
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Sean Hill | MLS # 4157665 | Active
489 Kenway Loop -- 3 BR, 3.1 BA
Price: $1,449,000 (2964 sqft)
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Beth Graichen | MLS # 4146769 | Active
126 Emerald Drive -- 4 BR, 2.1 BA
Price: $1,374,126 (3766 sqft)
Subdivision: Diamondhead
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Sandra Dunn | MLS # 4144841 | Active
21101 Island Forest Drive -- 3 BR, 3 BA
Price: $1,125,000 (2686 sqft)
Subdivision: Island Forest
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Jayne Cantello | MLS # 4143832 | Contract
7351 Gabriel Street -- 4 BR, 3.1 BA
Price: $1,099,000 (3491 sqft)
Subdivision: Caccia Cove
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Michael Toste | MLS # 4130987 | Contract
142 Regency Road -- 4 BR, 3.1 BA
Price: $635,000 (3723 sqft)
Subdivision: Regency Lake Village
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Jolene Handysides | MLS # 4007878 | Contract
139 Hollen Lane -- 10 BR, 11.7 BA
Price: $21,999,900 (9870 sqft)
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Hart Real Estate | MLS # 4096193 | Active
14051 Island Drive -- 5 BR, 6.2 BA
Price: $18,000,000 (12636 sqft)
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Premier Sotheby's | MLS # 4020713 | Active
18019 Harbor Light Boulevard -- 6 BR, 7.4 BA
Price: $16,000,000 (15048 sqft)
Subdivision: The Peninsula
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Premier Sotheby's | MLS # 3895525 | Active
154 Tennessee Circle -- 6 BR, 7.2 BA
Price: $12,500,000 (11112 sqft)
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The Agency - Charlotte | MLS # 4099910 | Active
16716 Belle Isle Drive -- 5 BR, 5.3 BA
Price: $12,000,000 (7209 sqft)
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Ivester Jackson | MLS # 4129916 | Contract
149 S Longfellow Lane -- 5 BR, 6.1 BA
Price: $11,500,000 (8124 sqft)
Subdivision: The Point
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Ivester Jackson | MLS # 4155969 | Contract
123 Saylors Watch Lane -- 5 BR, 5.4 BA
Price: $10,400,000 (7754 sqft)
Subdivision: Saylors Watch
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Corcoran HM Properties | MLS # 4156012 | Active
173 Rehoboth Lane -- 5 BR, 5.3 BA
Price: $9,000,000 (8750 sqft)
Subdivision: The Point
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Keller Williams Lake | MLS # 4087619 | Active
16700 Tinker Place -- 7 BR, 8.1 BA
Price: $8,700,000 (11656 sqft)
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Allen Tate Lake Norman | MLS # 4150366 | Contract
21437 Country Club Drive -- 6 BR, 6.3 BA
Price: $7,950,000 (8796 sqft)
Subdivision: Country Club Shores
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Helen Adams Realty | MLS # 4141805 | Active
17807 Largo Place -- 4 BR, 5.1 BA
Price: $7,895,000 (7176 sqft)
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Re/Max Diamond Realty | MLS # 4123359 | Active

Listings 1 - 20 of 206   next

The Martin Real Estate Team of Lake Norman

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