What Makes Lake County a Great Place to Live?

By Rick White – Konocti Realty


I grew up in Lake County and thought I knew most of what life in this county was about but now I know there is much more about living here than I realized.  In 2005 while waiting for my real estate license to arrive I worked for Kendal Jackson Winery in Lakeport as a sugar sampler. This job required me to go out early in the morning and collect grapes from numerous vineyards throughout the county. I would crush the grapes and bring juice samples back to the lab for analysis.  In the process of doing this I became aware at how big and diverse this county is. Those of us who live here know this place is one of California’s best kept secrets and we have a lot to be proud of and for those who may be skeptical, consider the following:

  • Clean Air – we’re ranked 1st in the state and 3rd in the nation. Not only is clean air good for our health but if you’re a star gazer you will enjoy our evening skies.
  • Lake activities – fishing, sailing, water skiing, bird watching and more. Some of the top bass fishing in the nation is right here on Clear Lake.
  • Lifestyle – Our less congested and relaxed atmosphere is great for anyone seeking a slower paced lifestyle.  This is partly why this county is so attractive to people seeking a place to retire. Other factors that attract retirees are affordable housing.  Close to nature – It’s amazing to see the diversity of wild life in Lake County the list of critters goes on and on but you can expect to see on any given day wild Turkeys, Deer, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Quail, countless kinds of waterfowl and we occasionally see a flock of beautiful white pelicans. When they fly in formation at various altitudes the light shimmers off their wings and provides an amazing aerial show.
  • Agriculture – Back in the 70s when I was a teenager, the big crops were pears and walnuts but now the rising star is the wine grape industry which seems to be growing every year. We now have 20+ wineries in the county and countless vineyards. This in itself is causing more interest in the county.
  • The climate here is also a major factor why people are attracted to Lake County.

People are taking notice of what Lake County has to offer. In 2006 a Hollywood film crew shot major portions of a movie called Sherman’s Way in Lakeport and Kelseyville. The movie recently won the Audience Award for best feature film at the CINEQUEST film festival in San Jose this year.  Not bad for being the only film out of eighty to receive this award. Craig Saavedra the film Director/Producer informed me that they hope to have a special premier showing of the film in Lake County, I look forward to that and hope to see some of the locals which were used as extras in the film. You can learn more about this film by going to http://www.shermansway.com/

Housing in Lake County – Lake County has more affordable homes than in surrounding counties.  According to the California Association of Realtors as of December 2011 the median priced home in Lake County is $114,170 while the median priced home in California is $285,920.*   Like most of the state the real estate market in Lake County is a buyer’s market. I’ve been tracking all county sales activity for single family stick built homes on city lots for the past year to see the typical sales activity and from this analysis the months of April through September are typically the busiest selling times with June being the typical peek month.  This year the pattern has leveled off from the 3 previous years. Many buyers seem a bit wary with concern about what is going on in the lending world. But in the long run real estate is still a good investment. There are still many good loan products available to first time home buyers and investors.  I still see Lake County as a good investment and when you consider the large number of baby boomers that will be turning 65 this year I expect to see a surge of buying in the county this year.

Mortgage rates: Week ending 1/12/2012 30-yr. fixed: 3.89% fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 3.16 fees/points: 0.8% 1-yr. adjustable: 2.76% Fees/points: 0.6% (Source: Freddie Mac)