June heralded the distinction of Leelanau County as Michigan’s most affluent, according to financial technology entity SmartAsset. This distinction, rooted in median home values and household income variables, has placed Leelanau in the spotlight for its upscale real estate. Although some critique its title, given the county’s diverse income strata, its appeal to the financial elite is undeniable. The county is a magnet for the retired elite, affluent professionals seeking vacation homes, and tech magnates wanting picturesque family homes.

Jonathan Oltersdorf from Oltersdorf Realty states that 43 residences worth $1 million or more are currently on sale. This is a significant third of the available homes, with 17 priced beyond $2 million. What makes Leelanau the heartthrob for premium residences, and what typifies their buyers?

The Affluent Homebuyers

Leelanau’s luxury property market is thriving, as Roger Schaub of Schaub Team Premier Realty indicates. Despite macroeconomic shifts like inflation and increasing mortgage rates, Leelanau’s luxury homes continue to find buyers. Oltersdorf echoes this sentiment, noting that while 50% of last year’s luxury home purchases were cash-based, that number has surged to 65% this year.

The buyer profile? Affluent professionals, often from pricier real estate locales. For many Californians, Leelanau’s luxury homes seem a bargain. Schaub highlights the impeccable quality of these homes, often offering more value than equivalents in places like California or Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Experts concur: the typical luxury buyer in Leelanau is an affluent individual, often seeking a vacation or retirement home. Schaub sees many eyeing the county as an ideal retirement spot. Oltersdorf observes a younger demographic, often in the tech sector, gravitating toward Leelanau, thanks to the flexibility of remote work. Kimberly Bork of Venture Properties has witnessed a significant interest from states like Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and even parts of Michigan. Intriguingly, Cincinnati, Ohio, emerges as a substantial source of luxury buyers, particularly drawn to Northport.

Luxurious Homes and Their Allure

The million-dollar question: what does $1 million buy you in Leelanau? The answers are as diverse as they are fascinating. Schaub showcases a $1.85 million property overlooking the magnificent South Lake Leelanau, boasting 30.5 acres of scenic beauty. The allure? Vast stretches of open land and a beautiful farmhouse. Yet, the real gem is the expansive waterfront. Whether it’s the sunset vistas of Lake Michigan or the charm of North Lake Leelanau, the water is a magnet for luxury buyers.

Bork sold a $4.05 million “private harbor house” in Northport. Its features? An expansive waterfront, direct access to Lake Michigan from an under-house boathouse, and luxurious interiors. Oltersdorf’s top listing is a $2.195 million beach house designed to provide an immersive water experience. From a deck overlooking the beach to a great room offering panoramic bay vistas, the house epitomizes luxury by the water.

Forecasting Leelanau’s Luxury Future

Leelanau’s luxury market future appears promising. Schaub perceives no waning in the market, especially with the influx of cash buyers. Bork anticipates stability, citing the equilibrium between buyers and sellers in certain regions. Both believe that Leelanau’s enchanting beauty and the appeal of its luxury homes will continue to draw the affluent, promising a buoyant luxury real estate market.