But before I go into detail about what types of opportunities are available, lets take a closer look at the towns population, climate and demographics.
Demographics, Population and Climate
Population and Tourism
As of 2010, Big Bear Lake had a population of approximately 5,019. Between 2000 and 2010, the population shrank, and in the early part of the decade, reached 5,438. While most investors would be concerned about a shrinking population, Big Bear Lake is different. The population may have dwindled down slightly, but the city has a thriving tourism sector. Each year, the population in the Big Bear Valley as a whole skyrockets to over 100,000 people during many weekends.
What attracts so many visitors?
For starters, the area has tremendous natural beauty, and a natural hot spring. Its been the sight of numerous film locations, including Last of the Mohicans, Gone with The Wind, Daniel Boone, Paint Your Wagon, Old Yeller, and Wargames.
Winter activities are another popular draw. Big Bear is home to a number of ski jumps and the famous Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts. Its a popular resort town in the winter for skiing and snowboarding. Naturally, visitors flock to the Big Bear area to enjoy the lake. Spanning 7 miles long and 1 mile wide, Big Bear Lake is the largest recreational lake in Southern California. Many people enjoy fishing, with catfish, trout and bass being the most abundant types of fish available.
Visitors also enjoy horse riding, hiking and mountain biking in this area. Over in the San Bernardino National Forest, there are numerous trails of varying difficulty that visitors can explore.
Because of its high elevation, the Big Bear Lake area receives a significant amount of snowfall each year. July is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 64.7°F. January is the coolest month, with an average daily temperature of 31.4°F.
Freezing temperatures are not uncommon during every month of the year. In fact, temperatures reach freezing levels 186 days a year between September and June. The highest temperature ever recorded was 94°F in 1998, and the lowest temperature ever recorded was -25°F in 1979. At lake level, the Big Bear area receives about 72 inches of snow each year. In the forested ridges that border the lake, snowfall totals can reach 100 inches throughout the year.
The city of Big Bear Lake had 2,187 households as of the 2010 census, with 25% having children under the age of 18. The median household income for the town was $32,869. Big Bear City, an unincorporated town, is located just east of Big Bear Lake, and boasts a much higher population of 12,304 (2010 census). Altogether, the city had 5,000 households, with 30% of them having children under the age of 18.
Although the city is unincorporated, Big Bear City has seen a tremendous population boost since 2000. At the time of the 2000 census, the town had a population of 5,779. Since then, its more than doubled. This signals a great opportunity for land investors as the area is seeing significant growth.
Big Bear Lake, CA Land for Sale
The Big Bear area is known for its natural beauty, and there is plenty of land to be had in the region. But youll need to be prepared to pay a premium for this land. All of California is relatively expensive, but land prices in this area are a bit higher simply because its a popular tourist town and the nearby national forest does limit the available land in the area slightly.
A few examples properties are available on the market right now:
2,500 sq foot residential lot for $1,475
6,100 sq ft residential lot for $3,999
1 acre lot on Pennsylvania Ave for $499,900
2 acre lot on Big Bear Blvd for $1,499,900
The lot on Big Bear Blvd comes with a retail store, and all utilities are connected a major bonus. Other lots though, on the other hand, might be heavily treed and would require a significant investment to clear and build (if even possible).
The local real estate market is doing well, which may make it beneficial to build a home and rent or flip it. The citys median home value is $282,900, and home values have increased 1.4% over the last year. Zillow estimates that home prices will continue to rise another 3.9% over the next 12 months.
Although the median home value is $282,900, the median sale price of homes in the area is $318,500. This indicates that homes are selling well above their value, which is great news for you as an investor. The market in the nearby Big Bear City is also doing well. The median sale price is $198,250, and prices have increased 4.8% over the last year. There are numerous land investment opportunities in the Big Bear area, but what potential uses do these plots offer?
Potential Land Uses
Like we discussed earlier, the Big Bear is a popular tourist destination, which means you have ample opportunities to generate income through commercial investments.
Depending on where the plot of Big Bear Lake land is, you have the option of setting up a retail store perhaps one that caters to tourists. If you have a very large budget and can find the right opportunity, you may be able to purchase large acreage to build a resort. There are currently two major resorts in town, but these are geared towards winter activities. Consider going a different route perhaps you can open a retreat center near the lake. With the Big Bear area hosting 100,000+ people on many weekends throughout the year, there are many opportunities to generate income and receive a nice return on your land investment.