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As the saying goes, they just don’t make waterfront property anymore. As a result, water frontage is very likely to boost a home’s value to some degree relative to non-waterfront homes. But this waterfront premium varies across the country, and it can be difficult to put a precise number on how much more home buyers end up paying for waterfront properties.
Using Zillow’s database of more than 100 million homes nationwide, we have analyzed the single-family waterfront home market in the United States from 1996 to the present and have a developed a unique home value index for waterfront homes, nationally and the city-level. Waterfront homes are defined as those properties located on an ocean or lakes with a total combined size of 10 square kilometers (3.8 square miles) of surface area or greater. As a reference, Lake Sammamish in the Seattle metropolitan area is roughly 8 square miles in size.
We examine a number of market trends. First, we look at the nationwide difference in waterfront single-family homes versus all single-family home values over time. We then break waterfront trends down to the city level and explore where waterfront homes are most expensive and where the premium relative to non-waterfront homes is the greatest.
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