What does the Silver Lake Reservoir’s dry look do to home prices?

Eastsider file photo, June 2012

Silver Lake Reservoir pictured earlier this year | Barry Lank

By BARRY LANK

SILVER LAKE — There are many reasons why residents were happy to hear that the now barren Silver Lake Reservoir would start to be refilled next spring. But one reason is of particular interest to homeowners: the boost their property values get from a water-filled reservoir.

A view of the reservoir – even if it’s one where you have strain your neck to see some water – is enough to brag about in real estate listings. It’s going to take longer than expected to refill the reservoir, and it’s not clear how much of the basin will be refilled in a time of drought. Does a delay in refilling the reservoir lower the price of nearby homes? We asked a couple of real estate agents their opinions.

For Tracy Do of Compass, Silver Lake’s real estate market remains attractive, even with a temporarily dry reservoir. “Inventory remains tight, prices are steadily rising and I do not see demand slowing anytime soon,” she said.

And while the delay in refilling the reservoir is unfortunate, she predicted it will have no impact on local real estate values.

“When we tour our clients through Silver Lake these days we do see some initial disappointment, but it’s quickly shrugged off,” she said. “Home buyers understand that the work being done on the reservoir is temporary.”

But does the reservoir matter to an individual home price? Yes.

“If the reservoir were to disappear tomorrow, I estimate that property values for homes with reservoir views would fall by 10 percent,” she said. “That’s a lot.”

Rob Kallick, with Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Feliz, said the effect on price is hard to measure, since it seems like very few homes with reservoir views have come onto the market so far this year. But he agreed that the reservoir makes a huge difference.

“Being able to look at a large body of water as well as the hills and mountains beyond is what makes Silver Lake so unique and special,” he said. “People are willing to pay a premium for a prime reservoir view.”

Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.

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