By Ken Sturtz | Photos provided
Lakefront properties in Onondaga and Oswego counties continue to top the list of high-end homes in the area
“Now, Mama said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs, and the rest is just for showing off,” Tom Hanks’ character advises viewers in “Forrest Gump.”
He easily could’ve been talking about the lavish Skaneateles Lake estate that sold earlier this year for $6.75 million.
The sale of the property, which comes with a boathouse and three-car garage on a private drive, is the highest price paid for a residential property in Central New York so far this year.
It’s not an outlier either.
ABC news anchor and Central New York native David Muir purchased a lakefront estate in Skaneateles several years ago for $7 million. And last year scrap tycoon Adam Weitsman, already the owner of an ultra-expensive mansion on Skaneateles Lake, forked over $13.1 million for a second lakefront estate.
The real estate market has remained red hot throughout the pandemic thanks to low interest rates, low housing inventory and intense demand.
Those factors have sent home prices skyrocketing, with sellers often receiving scores of offers well over asking price.
We reviewed the most expensive single-family homes on the market in Onondaga and Oswego counties and found that the priciest homes continue to be waterfront properties. In Onondaga County that means exclusive real estate along Skaneateles Lake. In Oswego County it means the tranquil northern shore of Oneida Lake
2890 West Lake Road, Skaneateles
asking price: $7,750,000
square feet: 5,212
year built: 1972
agent: Jerry Morrissey,
Finger Lakes Realty Partners
If you’re looking for seclusion you can’t do much better. Situated on the western side of Skaneateles Lake, near the state DEC boat launch, this massive property covers 29 acres and includes 618 feet of lakefront (the length of two football fields). In addition to the main house, there’s a cottage on the water, a two-story boathouse and two barns.
The former owners were nature lovers and let much of the property grow from farm fields into woodland over several decades. There’s a long private treelined drive, a stand of birch trees and significant wildlife including everything from deer, foxes and eagles, to hawks, geese and ducks. All that nature, and the distance off the main road, adds to the privacy of the property.
“It’s like driving into the Bat Cave,” said Jerry Morrissey, of FLR Partners. “You turn toward the lake and the trees come in around and it’s secluded and private; it’s just very unique.”
The main house includes five bedrooms and four baths. The house is dated, but is spacious and features a beautiful vaulted ceiling, floor-to-ceiling fireplace and a long row of windows that offer stunning views of the lake. Morrissey said the house could be renovated or torn down and replaced with another structure by the new owner.
About 21 acres of the land is in a conservation easement. The property is also for sale for $5,900,000 without the lakefront cottage.
3333 East Lake Road, Skaneateles
asking price: $3,950,000
square feet: 4,800
year built: 2009
agent: Jim Carroll, Washington Street Partners
Located a mile from the village of Skaneateles and tucked away on the east side of the lake, this property exudes charm and elegance.
Start with the main house, custom designed by local architect Andrew Ramsgard, which comes with four bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths. Custom quarter-sawn oak woodwork can be found throughout the house. The imported stone and tile make the home’s design really pop. Even for a lake house this home has a lot of windows, offering a spectacular view from virtually every room. There’s a state-of-the-art kitchen, multiple fireplaces and even a wine cellar.
Jim Carroll, of Washington Street Partners, said the home is LEED certified because the owners were concerned about energy efficiency. Features include six separate in-floor radiant heat zones, on-demand hot water and a heat recovery system to make the house more sustainable.
The two-car detached garage doubles as a guest house and includes a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment above the garage.
The property includes more than 100 feet of lake frontage and a newly reconstructed permanent dock. Carroll said the owner is in the process of designing and implementing a lakeside sitting area and outdoor kitchen for entertaining guests.
538-40 State Route 49, Cleveland
asking price: $895,000
square feet: 5,350
year built: 1926
agent: Michael DeRosa,
Michael DeRosa Exchange
If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own lakeside retreat and an investment property rolled into one you’ve found the right place.
Located just across state Route 49 from Oneida Lake, Bayside Manor & Barn offers scenic views and comes with a main house, a two-bedroom carriage house, a one-bedroom cottage and detached two-car garage as well as 500 feet of shoreline complete with peninsula and dock.
“The view of the lake is breathtaking,” said Michael DeRosa, of Michael DeRosa Exchange. “Astonishing sunsets at day’s end never fail to amaze.”
The main house features hardwood flooring, a wood-burning fireplace and an enclosed porch with views of the lake. With four bedrooms and two and a half baths, the house can accommodate 14 people. The barn at the back of the property juxtaposes rustic wooden barn beams with a recent renovation including a modern kitchen and bathroom. The space, which includes a patio, has two bedrooms and can sleep six people.
The current owner operates the main and guest houses as Airbnb rentals with prices ranging from $175-$350 per night. DeRosa said the property generated a gross rental income of more than $96,000 in 2021.
The buildings are being sold fully furnished and DeRosa said the new owner will have the option of continuing to operate the estate as a rental property or making it their personal home. Either way, it has endless potential.
“Lake property will hold its value regardless of the market we are in due to the limited supply,” he said. “This is a great investment.”
50 Taft Bay Road, Bernhards Bay
asking price: $599,000
square feet: 2,448
year built: 1950
agent: Liz Busch, Syracuse Realty Group
With two separate dwellings this property offers the opportunity to enjoy living on Oneida Lake while also bringing in a steady stream of rental income.
The main house is a three-bedroom one-and-a-half bath ranch that sits on 75 feet of waterfront. Features include hardwood flooring, a custom chef’s kitchen and a spacious open floor plan. The best part though is the four-season sunroom on the front of the house. Rustic woodwork, cathedral ceilings and a huge wall of windows along with a sunken hot tub make this the perfect space to hang out and enjoy the lake any time of the year.
“They’ve got a really nice panoramic view from where they are in the bay,” said Liz Busch, of Syracuse Realty Group.
Up the driveway sits the rental house, which has a barn-style gambrel roof. The building has three bedrooms and one and a half baths and another room upstairs that could be turned into another rental unit. A two-car detached garage is also located on the property and has an unfinished loft.
Busch said the property has been well-maintained by the same owner for nearly 40 years. The owner previously lived in the main house and rented out the second building, but both houses could be rentals. The property also has the benefit of being fairly secluded, Busch said.
“It’s on a deep private road so you’d have no idea there’s houses on that road unless you turned down and drove down there,” she said.
Note: At the time of publication a sale is pending on the property.