For a mere $12.8 million, this Okoboji home could be yours

… and if you don’t have $12.8 million handy or prefer a more intimate setting, come visit us.

Lakeshore real estate market heating up?

The market has gone from a 60-month supply of houses in the range of $800,000 to $1.5 million to an inventory of less than a year’s supply …

“At one time, there were 72 or 73 properties for sale on West Lake (Okoboji), and now it’s probably down to 26 or 27.”

— Eric Hoien, Realtor, featured on 10news

See the video and read the full story on Peace Harbor, the Okoboji home with a record $12.8 million asking price.

See Trulia’s overview of  Spirit Lake/Okoboji real estate trends.

Spirit Lake population up 3.7%; household income at $53,971

Spirit Lake’s population is up 3.7%, to an estimated 5,018 people, with median household income of $53,971 annually, and per capital income at $29,589, according to the recently released 2015 Annual Fiscal Conditions Report, Spirit Lake, Iowa, published by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The city reported improved revenue of $4,414 per person, up from $3,442 in 2014, but still down from $5,987 in 2013.

About 32.5% of those employed work in management, business, science, and arts, with 21.9% in sales and office work, and 20% in production, transportation, and material moving. About 24% of Spirit Lake residents attain a college Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to about 26% statewide. According to the report, workers without degrees may have a hard time supporting their families.

Urban areas tend to have higher levels of college-educated workers, but the numbers tend to be lower in rural communities. This trend may have a negative impact on rural communities, because in the current economic climate, it is challenging for people with a low education level to find employment that pays a living wage capable of supporting a family.

Fortunately, 87.6% of Spirit Lake residents work inside Dickinson County, which helps maintain the local economy.

If residents commute to jobs located outside the city, there is a good possibility that their retail expenditures are made outside the city. The city loses sales tax revenue as a result. However, if a city has a lot of people that live elsewhere but work in the city—the city may gain sales tax dollars as a consequence.

Property taxes for 2015 increased to $455 per person, compared to $441 in 2014. McClelland’s Beach residents will be happy to note that, according to the report, a slight raise in property taxes is a good thing as it means property values are holding or increasing. Property taxes made up 10.3% of the city’s revenue stream in 2015.

It is generally desirable for per-capita, real property tax to remain stable or marginally increase over time. A decline may indicate lowering property values or tax delinquencies.

The Spirit Lake housing vacancy rate, based on 2014, the most recent year available, sits at 14.4%, compared to 39.4% in Dickinson County and 8.6% statewide.

Spirit Lake residents’ average age is 41.9 years old, according to the most recent estimate from 2010.

Reliance on intergovernmental revenue, “monies obtained from other governments” that “can include grants, shared taxes, and contingent loans and advances” increased 387% from $150 per person in 2014 to $567 in 2015. However, according to the report:

Over-reliance on monies from either federal or state government is not recommended. The revenue streams of both these levels of government are dictated by broad economic conditions. Therefore, an economic slowdown could potentially put local governments at risk if funding is reduced or lost for local services so vital to the smooth functioning of cities.

Read also: Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy bets $3.6 billion on Iowa

Before bikinis on McClelland’s Beach

Before bikinis - north shore - Spirit Lake - 1902 - near McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - IA - 51360
North Shore of Spirit Lake, from A History of Dickinson County, by R.A. Smith

Before bikinis on McClelland’s Beach, women wore quite a bit more clothing. We would hate to think about what would have happened if one of these fully-skirted women fell overboard in 1902. This picture is from the digitized version of “A History of Dickinson County”, by R.A. Smith, once only available in rare, hard-copy first editions, now available free at The photo was taken about a mile west of McClelland’s Beach, according to the book. Many thanks to the IAGenWeb Project for their efforts at making history and geneology accessible to all.

By the time beach owner and McClelland descendant Mildred Bartels hit the scene, below, swim garb had evolved a bit. Mildred often swam across Spirit Lake for exercise, probably not length-wise, but to somewhere on the eastern shore. Knowing that Mildred Bartels was born in 1906, and based on tips from the fashion swimwear history site, we’re guessing this is a 1930’s photo.

Interested in living on the lake? We have city amenities and you can live here all year. Cruise McClelland’s Lane and 104th by car. Many lots are not posted for sale, but available, so if you see something you like, take a photo and contact our realtor.

Before bikinis - McClelland's Beach - Mildred Bartels - swimwear - 1930s - McCclelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

Like history? Read also:

Younger Margaret McClelland’s story of her brush with the outlaw

Margaret McClelland - handwritten account - encounter with an outlaw - McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

McClelland’s Beach founder was a hero in 1866

William and Margaret McClelland - founders - historic portrait - McClellands Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360

Grandma Bartels’ recipe box: Bean Hot Dish

Recipe box - Mildred Bartels - McClelland's Beach - Spirit Lake - IA - 51360

Railroad depot museum a treasure trove of Dickinson County history

From the Dickinson County Museum website.

Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy bets $3.6 billion on Iowa

Iowa wind turbine - Warren Buffet's MidAmerican Energy bets $3.6 billion on IowaRead also: Northwest Iowa a hotbed of economic activity

McClelland’s Beach welcomes Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy and all our new friends landing in Iowa as wind energy creates jobs. We invite you to come visit and play in our neighborhood!

The location for the new $3.6 billion wind power project remains unknown, but the company is already heavily invested in Northwest Iowa wind farms.

Largest economic development project in Iowa history

“The proposed $3.6 billion project is the largest wind project MidAmerican Energy has ever undertaken, and it’s being done without asking for an increase in customer rates or financial assistance from the state to pay for it.”
MidAmerican Energy press release

“Every wind turbine you see in Iowa means income for farmers, revenue for counties and jobs for Iowa families.”
– Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

Iowa hooks Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Inc. and Facebook Inc.

Farmers and other landowners hosting wind farms receive lease payments, and wind-farm operators pay property taxes, which local governments use for schools and other expenses, (Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad) added. Iowa’s relatively low power prices and high renewable-energy quotient have attracted companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Inc. and Facebook Inc. to the state.
Wall Street Journal

Northwest Iowa a hotbed of economic activity

… and the smart ones taking advantage of the hotbed of economic activity will live at McClelland’s Beach, their one-stop work and play home.

Midwest ‘green’ job growth to outpace U.S. employment

“…in the next 12 months, the rate of Midwestern job growth in environment-friendly enterprises is projected to outpace U.S. employment growth overall.”

Wind turns Northwest Iowa into a hotbed of economic activity

“Lately, the vast wind resource has turned the rural Northwest Iowa county into a hotbed of economic activity. A bevy of companies are moving ahead with large-scale projects that would harness and export the renewable energy to more populated regions.
Sioux City Journal

Wind energy boom blows into O’Brien County, SW neighbor of Dickinson County

The undertakings are projected to spur hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and create thousands of temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs, as well as fill local tax coffers and grow communities that have seen an exodus in population in recent decades.”
Sioux City Journal

Ill-fated Younger Gang visited McClelland farm, now McClelland’s Beach

At some point, a member of the ill-fated Younger Gang visited the McClelland family’s farm in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Here is what a young boy remembers. All spellings are as they appear in the original newspaper clipping.

Read also: Margaret McClelland’s brush with the outlaw

Spirit Lake Beacon, October 31, 1902 Recollections of Jim Younger. Sioux City Journal.

The recent suicidal death of James Younger,
the paroled convict of the notorious James
gang, recalls to the memory of Claude F. Perkins
a unique meeting he once had with the
noted bandit.
For a whole week Mr. Perkins roomed and
slept with the outlaw, and just at the time when
he, with the rest of the gang, was planning the
Northfield bank. Mr. Perkins did not know
with whom he was rooming, and only later
learned that he had been living on terms of
intimacy with one of the boldest robbers in the
criminal history of America. He was only a
boy at the time, but the impression the man
man made on him is indelibly impressed on.
his memory.
The meeting was as strange as it was unusual.
It occurred at the home of William McClellan.
Mr. Perkins in recalling the incident, “when
we learned that the man with whom I had been
sleeping was the noted bandit. One would
never have thought him anything but an honest
man from the way he conducted himself at
the McClellan (sic) farm. He was out for big game,
and I believe was really above small and petty
“The incident occurred just this way: It
as just in the busy time of the year on the
farm, and Mr. McClellan was looking for assistance
on the farm. One day a stranger rode up
a fine horse. He was a tall man, but did not
impress one as being tall because he was s
well proportioned. His head was round an_
rather bullet shaped. His manner was pleasing
and he fitted well wherever he was.
“The stranger said he was riding through the
country and that his horse had gone lame. He
wanted to get some work on the farm while
his horse was improving. Mr. McClellan gladly
gave him some work and he took to it like a
man who was earnestly in search of employment.
Everybody on the farm liked him. He
was a good talker and had many interesting
stories to tell, though none of them was of a
character to awaken suspicion.
“At the close of the week the stranger left,
and we were sincerely sorry to see him go, I
was especially so, because from rooming with
him 1 hart become quite attached to him.
“You can imagine our surprise a short time
later to recognize in the picture of one of the
men engaged in the Northfield robbery our
friend of a week. It was none other than
James Younger.
“I don’t know what he was doing there, but
suppose that the lameness of the horse was the
real cause of the delay. He wanted to have »
good animal upon which to travel when the
time of need should come.”

Spirit Lake – Why Polaris chose to build products here

McClellands Beach - Spirit Lake - Iowa - 51360We agree with Polaris. Those of us living on McClelland’s Beach in Spirit Lake get the best of Iowa’s best lake as well as a great city.

“Spirit Lake, Iowa, population of 4,907 people, is one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in the Midwest. Spirit Lake is a full-service city offering a wide variety of recreation, employment and social opportunities to citizens and visitors. Spirit Lake has a vibrant downtown with a variety of retail businesses and an industrial park that provides current employers and potential companies with attractive amenities. Spirit Lake is a great place to raise a family. It is a rapidly developing city, boasting one of the fastest growing economies in Northwest Iowa.”
— Polaris website

Spirit Lake beach property part of home equity surge?

That beach property you’ve always wanted or own now could be valuable later. Iowa home prices are up 4.4% and the Washington Post reports that home equity surged across the United States.
From: Iowa home, property ownership back on the short list of growth investments?

Take advantage of Iowa home buyer tax credit program

“The program provides eligible home buyers with a tax credit against their federal income tax liability every year for the life of their mortgage, as long as the home is used as their primary residence, up to a maximum of 30 years.”
— Iowa Association of Realtors

Iowa home, property ownership back on the short list of growth investments?

Home Sales Chart – Iowa Association of Realtors

That beach property you’ve always wanted or own now could be a profitable asset to cash out on later. Iowa home prices are up 4.4% and the Washington Post reports that home equity has surged across the United States.

Between the third quarter of 2014 and the same period in 2015, Americans’ home-equity holdings grew by nearly $1.3 trillion, according to the Fed, thanks mainly to rising home prices.
Washington Post

Iowa home sales, prices see strongest third quarter in 8 years

McClelland’s Beach residents know this is a hidden paradise. It’s interesting that many Iowa communities are getting a lot of attention from the media.

“Our communities have been receiving a lot of national attention from magazines and online media outlets. Iowa truly is a great place to grow!”
– IAR President Jon Yocum

Get the full story at

Read also, Home again: US-flag swimsuits, Coors, Cheez-Its and cannonballs off the dock.

Home again: US-flag swimsuits, Coors, Cheez-Its and cannonballs off the dock

Ed Bartels and friends fishing - McClleland's' Beach - historic photo.
Ed Bartels, left, and friends with a big fish haul – McClleland’s’ Beach – Spirit Lake – historic photo.

Up north is Spirit Lake, which tends to be quieter, and more of a place for the locals to boat and fish. It is, however, the state’s largest natural lake and known for some of the best fishing in the area. So it’s worth an angler’s effort to get there.
– Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune

When the Chicago Tribune takes notice, you know you’ve got something, especially after you’ve just hauled in the big one off your dock at McClelland’s Beach. This is a wonderful piece on the “coming home” effect of the Iowa Great Lakes vacation areas. Read the full story.

Learn more about the real estate climate and McClelland’s Beach community.