Sixty-two waterfront homes are currently listed on Zillow, which for a body of water as large as Lake Martin means one house on the market for every 12 miles of shoreline.
"I'm seeing a lot of the numbers of homes sold are down from last year, and we're still at really low inventory," Lake Martin Voice owner and real estate agent John Coley said.
The low sales volume isn't for lack of demand, but lack of supply. Lake Martin developer Russell Lands reported waterfront housing inventory at an all-time low last month, with a 1.74-month supply of waterfront property, one-quarter of what it was two years ago.
Despite fewer sales as a result of the "nearly bare" shelves, the company said, waterfront home prices are up 38% from two years ago (by comparison, home values in Alexander City, Our Town and Dadeville as a whole went up 18% during that time period). In a market update Thursday, Russell Lands said its realtors were "beating the bushes, looking for property owners that may be willing to sell."
According to Coley, some homeowners are beginning to respond.
"I'm optimistic that inventory's going to go up in the future," he said. "Sellers have noticed that we have had price increases this year in some cases 15-20%."
Meanwhile, the other option, building more houses, is limited by a slowdown in the construction supply chain and most of the undeveloped land in the hands of two companies.
"Because Lake Martin is really owned by two companies we have Alabama Power and Russell Lands, Relative to our whole market you don't really have many lots for sale," Coley said.
Russell Lands is catching up, however. Another 200 residential waterfront properties are slated to go on the market next year with completion of Russell Lands' "The Heritage" development, anchored by a Coore & Crenshaw golf course that'll be open in 2023.