Great Lakes
Kyle Telechan / Post-Tribune

Great Lakes - Lake Michigan Property Values in Indiana Are Climbing Despite Erosion Issues. One Possible Cause: Residents Fleeing Illinois.

Lakefront erosion is not hurting property values for communities along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, where housing prices have been on the rise since months after the COVID-19 pandemic and because of Illinois residents heading across state lines for lower taxes.

That was the takeaway of a Thursday panel discussion featuring local real estate agents, a representative of the Porter County Assessor’s Office who handles residential assessments, and members of the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.

Many lakefront homes are actually across the road from Lake Michigan and its beaches, distancing them from rising lake levels that are eating away at beach space, said Beth Doherty, a real estate agent who works in Beverly Shores and Dune Acres.

This year’s real estate market, she said, started hot and slowed because of the pandemic.

“Then somebody let the cat out of the bag and it hasn’t slowed down since,” she said. “I haven’t seen an impact on property values so far.”

Real estate agent Mark Hull, who lives in Dune Acres, said lake levels go up and down but this year has been an exception.

“It seems to be as bad as I’ve ever seen it,” he said, adding Ogden Dunes was especially bad. “There’s almost no beach there.”

He gets a lot of concerned calls from Chicago residents looking at homes in the dunes, he said, and can’t be sure lake levels will stop rising.

“Has it impacted the values? It’s hard to see. It’s a special situation with COVID. A lot of people from Chicago are wanting to escape the city,” he said, adding there aren’t a lot of homes available on the lakefront.

With hiking and biking trails, birdwatching and other pursuits available in lakefront communities, Herndon said she thinks people buy homes there “for other reasons than the lake.” Since high waters and shrinking beaches have been an issue for so long, she added, many people don’t know that the communities once had beautiful beaches.

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