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Will the next generation of Minnesota cabin owners be able to afford the costs?

A lot of younger Minnesotans might soon find themselves with a lake property – and the costs that come with it.
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This is for those of you who have ever spent time on the deck of the family cabin looking over a sparkling lake and thought, "Some day this will be mine."

Minnesota's cabin owners are now mostly in retirement, but there are concerns that younger generations won't be able to afford the costs of lakeside living in future years.

The latest lake home and cabin ownership survey by the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocaters found that as of 2016, the average length of lakeside property ownership is 34.6 years – including one that had been in a family for 104 years.

It's therefore unsurprising that the average cabin or lakeside home owner's age rose to 68 in 2016 – compared to 62 in 2005, and 58 in 1999.

This figure is described by the advocacy group as a "disturbing trend," according the Duluth News Tribune, as it means Minnesota is about to undergo the "largest intergenerational transfer of shoreline property in our history," as younger generations inherit the land.

With younger people facing student loan debts, plus rising health costs and housing prices, the group's director said inheriting the family cabin could give them the added pressure of maintaining another property and keeping the shoreline healthy, the newspaper notes.

Owners find it expensive

The costs of having a cabin can be severe in some cases. Six percent of owners surveyed by the group said they'll sell in the next three years as they can't afford it any longer, with one saying he spends $30,000 a year on upkeep, taxes and maintenance, according to the report.

Two percent said the upkeep costs too much, and 3 percent said they can't spend that much time in their cabin because of the costs.

Around 72 percent of lakeside property owners bought it for recreational use or retirement, while 20 percent of owners inherited their property or bought it from a family member.

That latter number is likely to rise considering the increasing age of the current crop of owners, meaning some Minnesotans will be getting some premium property over the next few decades – but also hefty upkeep costs, leaving them the choice to stick it out or sell.

Average costs of lakeside property vary greatly depending on the area, but realtors from Lakeplace.com put the average first quarter sale in 2015 at $206,578, according to the Star Tribune.

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