Real Estate Information Archive


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Lake Hartwell "out of balance" with Lake Thurmond

by Jay Hufnagel
Yesterday I attended a Western Upstate Association of REALTOR luncheon at the Keowee Key Country Club. Sandy Campbell, Chief Ranger, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was our guest speaker. Sandy’s topic was the “State of the Lake”. She started the presentation with, “we are our own worst enemy … we don’t do a good enough job telling people what we do”. I think the majority of the attendees agreed with her.
Overall, Sandy did a great job with her presentation. Here are a few highlights:
-         Currently Lake Hartwell is out of balance with Lake Thurmond, therefore the Corps will “turn off the spigot” (reduce the outflow) from Hartwell until both lakes are balanced. Sandy’s explanation was that happened because the lower part of the Savannah River Basin received more rain and run-off then what Hartwell received. Something she said that surprised me was that the rain that falls in Anderson runs off into Lake Russell, not Lake Hartwell. The drainage basins that flow into the different lakes consist of the following: Hartwell 2088 square miles, Russell 2837 square miles, and Thurmond 6144 square miles. As you can see, there’s not as much drainage that flows into Hartwell as what people assume.
-         The Corps are in an “adaptive management” mode. Sandy said that in the future they’re not going to take the lake down 4’ in the winter like they have in the past. She’s not sure what level will be set yet.
-         When Lake Hartwell and Thurmond are at least 15’ below full pool Lake Thurmond needs a higher percentage of water, therefore they accelerate the outflow of water from Hartwell. As of yesterday, Lake Hartwell was at 647.87 msl (mean sea level). New projections indicate that Hartwell could be at 651.4 msl by May 16, 2009. That’s about 6 inches lower then last year. Full Pool is 660 msl. Sandy made a comment, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t control the rainfall”. She also added, “God can do anything”.  
-         Every Wednesday new lake level projections are posted on the Corps website.
I asked three questions at the meeting:
  1. She mentioned that the Corps needed to improve their communication. I asked what they’re doing to address that. She explained that they periodically send out information to lake property owners. More needs to be done.
  2. How will the reactor additions at Plant Vogtle affect the water level on Lake Hartwell? Sandy didn’t have a very good answer for this question. She commented that there are still reviews being done by different entities on those plans. She suggested that concerned citizens write and comment to their representatives (see my earlier blogs on Save our Lakes Now and Plant Vogtle).
  3. I asked: who are the Corps representatives that have the day to day “spigot” control over the water flows? She stated that Stanley (Stan) Simpson and Jason Ward have that responsibility.
Overall, I feel that this was one of the better Corps meetings that I’ve attended. One thing is obvious, people and especially stakeholders need to become more active and voice their opinion to leaders and decision makers. I urge everyone concerned with the lakes of the Savannah River basin to contact their State and Federal representatives and let them know your concern. Go to the Save our Lakes Now website for a list of contacts. Jessica Sibley from the Daily Journal was at the meeting to take notes (read her story, "Good News, bad news for lake Hartwell"). You can find her articles and others at . Here are two recent articles on rising waters and tweaking lake levels.
By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty,, , 864-287-7530.

Lake Hartwell Real Estate Third Quarter Sales

by Jay Hufnagel
Have you been praying for rain as hard as I’ve been? I talked with Larry Orr (US Army Corps of Engineer Ranger) this week about the water level. Larry said that we could see historic lows by the end of December if we don’t get significant rain. The Corps has been drawing down the lake (about a tenth of a foot per day) to balance the water level between Lake Thurmond and Hartwell. I asked him if there was a better way that the Corps could keep lake home owners informed on what their plans and projections were so we can plan and react accordingly. Many of us still have our boats in the water and have docks and boat lifts that could be damaged if we don’t act in response to lower water levels. Larry thought that would be a good idea and added that boaters should consider getting their boats out of the lake while there are still ramps open. Also, he cautioned that the lake will become more dangerous for boaters (with underwater obstructions like trees, stumps, etc) as the water level declines. The good news…. three (3) inches of rain fell yesterday. Let’s hope and pray for a lot more.
Here are statistics for the Third Quarter  “waterfront” activity on Lake Hartwell. This list does not include condos and townhomes. (source: SC Western Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non Upstate MLS listings):
                                                                           3rd Quarter     
Homes Sold –               20                                                                  
            Average Days on the Market –                       169                 
            Average List Price -                                   $478,656            
            Average Sale Price -                                     428,320            
            Sale vs. List Price –                                         89.5%             
            Current Active Listings -                                 297                
            Current Homes Pending (under contract) -    8
Waterfront Lots Sold *-       3                    
            Average Days on the Market –                       132                 
            Average List Price –                                  $212,500        
            Average Sale Price -                                     190,166         
            Sale vs. List Price –                                         89.6%             
            Current Active Listings -                                   226
            Current Lots Pending (under contract) -            1
If you’d like to receive an actual list of the homes/lots that have sold in the 3rd quarter, please click on the link below or email Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, at
Lots Sold
The time to buy lake property is now ….”they’re not making any more of it”.   
By: Jay Hufnagel, 770-757-2799, just “Say Jay” for Real Estate
When you hear someone say “nobody’s buying lake property” that’s not quite true. As you can see by the figures below, there are still deals to be had. Buyers are few and far between, but those that are realizing their dream of owning their own “little slice of heaven” are doing so at great prices.
Here are statistics of the Second Quarter and Year-to-date “waterfront” activity on Lake Hartwell. Does not include condos or townhomes. (source: SC Western Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non Upstate MLS listings):
                                                                                 2nd Quarter        YTD
Homes Sold                                                                20                   35
            Average Days on the Market                       125                  125
            Average List Price                                      $500,350       $476,362  
            Average Sale Price                                      457,841         443,237  
            Sale vs. List Price                                          91.5%              93.1%
            Current Active Listings                                               322                
            Current Homes Pending (under contract) -             7
Waterfront Lots Sold *                                               8                     19
            Average Days on the Market                        146                  159
            Average List Price                                       $215,850         $264,984
            Average Sale Price                                       199,937          239,236
            Sale vs. List Price                                           92.6%              90.1%
            Current Active Listings                                                240
            Current Lots Pending (under contract)                       0
   * - one high priced multiple lot sale is excluded
If you’d like to receive an actual list of the homes/lots that have sold, please email Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, at
The time to buy lake property is now ….”they’re not making any more of it”.   

I'm Taking a Day Off

by Jay Hufnagel
What do Real Estate Agents do when they’re not showing property? Well as you can see, some of us take a Snow Day.
Might as well have some fun, don’t you think? Over the last few years, agents have been working 24/7 non-stop. But today, things have changed. Many agents are leaving the Real Estate field because of the housing industry slow down and challenges. Yesterday, at one of my closings, another agent told me that their office had lost over half of their agents over the last few months. I can understand that, but I think those that survive the current market will come out stronger. Since the first of the year, I’ve seen a positive trend of activity. Hopefully with interest rates coming down, lakes filling up with water, and more optimism with the economy, the housing market will improve.
In the meantime, maybe we should have a “Hug your Real Estate Agent” day”. Don’t you think?
By: Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group, 770-757-2799

Lake Hartwell and Keowee Waterfront Home and Lot Sales in 2007

by Jay Hufnagel
If you’re like me, seeing rain in the forecast, and hearing it fall on your roof, is much more satisfying these days then a forecast of mild temperatures and sunny skies. Slowly, the lakes are starting to rise, and if we continue to get a little rain each week, docks will start to float again and boating traffic will start to pick up. Since the 1st of the year, I’ve seen stronger interest in buyers looking for lake property. Most are looking for “good deals” and,  I expect that will continue through 2008.  
Here are some statistics on Lake Hartwell and Keowee “dockable” waterfront activity for 2007 (source: SC Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non SC Upstate MLS listed properties):
Waterfront Homes Sold (excludes Condos & Townhouses) – 164
            Average Days on the Market – 130
            Average List Price - $476,294
            Average Sale Price - $451,538
Waterfront Lots Sold – 58 (includes 3 multiple lot sales)
            Average Days on the Market – 139
            Average List Price - $242,381
            Average Sale Price - $221,615
Waterfront Homes Sold (excludes Condos & Townhouses) – 71
            Average Days on the Market – 162
            Average List Price - $891,628
            Average Sale Price - $841,547
Waterfront Lots Sold – 96 (includes 1 multiple lot sales)
            Average Days on the Market -  155
            Average List Price - $485,232
            Average Sales Price - $470,029
I’d be interested in your comments as to how these statistics compare to what your expectations were and what you would assume they would be.
By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group, 770-757-2799

How does an inch of rain effect lake levels?

by Jay Hufnagel

I’ve heard in the past that an inch of rain equates to about a foot increase in lake levels. According to recent articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and from the National Weather Service’s Southeast River Forecast Center, that is not the case. The AJC stated Sunday that Lake Lanier adds water only when rain is plentiful and steady. For example (currently), one inch of rain water would have no impact on the water level of Lake Lanier. The lake level would continue to fall, but at a lower rate for a couple of days. So much depends on how saturated the soil is and how consistent the rain has fallen. The real change happens when we get at least 4 inches of rain. According to the 11/25/07 AJC article, the lake would rise 1.4 feet over 5 days, then hold steady.


To get up to date precipitation information, and how it’s affecting our lakes, go to the National Weather Service’s Southeast River Forecast Center website. Not only does it have current and forecasted moisture statistics, but also you can listen to a Power Point presentation on the Southeast Water Resources Outlook.

By: Jay Hufnagel, 770-757-2799 just "Say Jay" for Lake Real Estate

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Contact Information

Lake and Home Group
Keller Williams Realty
4878 Manhattan Dr.
Buford GA 30518
GA: 770-757-2799
SC: 864-287-7530
Fax: 770-504-5509