Near Cascade Mountain, Devil's Head
Portage is where much of the characteristic, creamy yellow brick of the Midwest was manufactured. Some of that brick was recycled into the construction of this house seven miles from Cascade Mountain ski area.
The rolling, 7-acre site, ringed by oaks and pines, includes a 2-acre swimming and fishing pond that freezes in winter to create a large skating rink. "The setting is naturally gorgeous," says Daniel Lee of Don Lee Real Estate. "It offers a lot of privacy, it's quite secluded, but it's fairly close to the interstate, so it's not hard to get to. It's high-end for our market. Our average selling price is $125,000."
The town of Portage is three miles away, and Madison is only an hour distant. As a consequence, this region appeals to both commuters and second-home owners. Since 1985, every year has been a record-setting one for Lee's office.
"We have a market that never really develops peaks and valleys like most resort areas," says Lee. "It's pretty steady year after year; that's why you end up with 15 years of record sales. There really isn't a segment of that market that's dead."List Price $275,000
Square Footage 2,350
Price Per Square Foot $117
Year Built 1987
Beds/Baths 2 bedrooms/1 3/4 baths
Acreage 7 acres
Condo Dues N/A
Taxes In 1998 $2,478
Listing Agent Daniel Lee, Don Lee Realty, Portage, (800) 642-4897; www.donleerealty.com .
Boyne City, Michigan
Near Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain
This home is technically a condominium, but an unusual one. It's part of a 53-unit development called Harborage Park, where the condos are freestanding, single-family homes and the development is designed to mimic a Twenties-era village.
Each home has a separate garage and a big front porch open to the street. Sidewalks lead to nearby shops and Lake Charlevoix. The development is derivative of Seaside, the Florida village that set the standard for New Urban design, which is itself a throwback to days when neighbors knew and talked to each other.
The houses are cedar-sided, painted in a variety of colors, offered in seven styles and outfitted with high-end Pella windows. "What the developer wanted to accomplish was the sense of a village, of a small town," says Becky Voice of RE/MAX of Boyne.
This property is mid-market; a teardown directly on the lake might sell for $525,000, says Voice. Last year, the price on condos at another development jumped from $319,000 to $375,000 in six months.
"We aren't the well-kept secret that we were before," says Voice.
List Price $259,000
Square Footage 1,936
Price Per Square Foot $134
Year Built 2000
Beds/Baths 4 bedrooms/3 baths
Condo Dues $124 per month
Taxes In 2000, $7,122 for Michigan residents if a second home; $4,275 for others.
Listing Agent Becky Voice, RE/MAX of Boyne, (800) 968-5092; www.beckyvoice.com .