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TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2007

Land value, water level drops at Lake Martin amid drought

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The value of land on the shores of Lake Martin has dropped with the lake's water level, according to a longtime real estate agent.

RE/MAX agent Betty Litsey said the drought has stopped a two-year surge in real estate values.

"The drought has been a godsend as far as a price adjustment," Litsey, who has sold real estate for more than 20 years, told the Montgomery Advertiser. "It's hard to sell waterfront without the water."

Prices began rising in 2005 and continued through 2006, she said, but are stabilizing now as demand has dropped with the water level. Docks and piers around Blue Creek and the eastern shores of Lake Martin stand above dry land, not water, due to the drop in the lake level. Summer usually finds the lake at full pool, or 490 feet above mean sea level, but the drought has helped drive the reservoir down to less than 482 feet.

David Barrett, who grew up in Auburn and has been coming to the lake since he was a child, built a small house on Blue Creek in 1989. The commercial contractor, his wife, Missy, and their children visit the lake house several times a year from their home in Cartersville, Ga.

"I'm 41, and I can't remember it being like this, and it probably won't happen again for another 40 years," he said.

While Barrett believes the lake will go lower, he's not upset about the time and money he has invested in the house.

"I hate it's down, but we come over about as much as in years past," he said.


Information from: Montgomery Advertiser,

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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