An Insider’s look at investing in vacation homes in the Lake Harmony Area
The Lake Harmony area has long been a popular Pocono vacation spot and for those who rent their properties, business over the past few years has been very good. The Lake Harmony area benefits from two nice lakes, two ski resorts, two golf courses, some nice restaurants, and a beautiful setting year-round. The Lake Harmony area is centrally located, near the intersection of I-80 and I-476, convenient to those coming from the New York/New Jersey area as well as Philadelphia and beyond.
The Lake Harmony area has just about every form of vacation home, from lakeside condominiums and townhomes to the massive party houses that easily sleep more than 20 people. Understanding the various communities and developments in the area can be complex, hopefully this will make it a little simpler.
If you look at a map, the zip code of Lake Harmony, PA 18624 covers most of Kidder Township. Most homes in Kidder Township are vacation homes and Kidder Township has had a reasonable STR Ordinance and Code Enforcement in Place. Kidder Township also has a Police Department and volunteer Fire Company which you can find next to the few restaurants and night clubs. These include Shenanigans of Lake Harmony, Louie’s Prime Steak House, Terra Cottage Restaurant, and Nick’s Lake House.
The area boasts two lakes, Lake Harmony and Boulder Lake. Public access to both lakes is limited, the folks at the Lake Harmony Inn have a day pass to enjoy their lakefront area, and the Boulder View Tavern can provide you with access to Boulder Lake. There are five community associations that are part of the Big Boulder/Jack Frost development and as an owner you can join the Boulder Lake Club. Guests and Short-term renters in member’s homes can join the lake club with a temporary membership during their stay. The club has a nice pool, boat rental, clubhouse, Har-Tru tennis courts and being right next to the Boulder View Tavern, a great menu!
Member Communities of the Boulder Lake Club are:
- Blue Heron (condominium townhomes)
- Mid-Lakes (low-rise lakeside condo buildings)
- Boulder Lake Village (mid-rise condo building) – one of eight planned builders was constructed before the real estate crash.
- Laurelwoods (townhomes, duplex units and single homes) overlooking the lake and ski resort.
- Snow Ridge Village (townhomes) that are adjacent to the nearby Jack Frost Ski Resort
Each of these are condominiums, most units are owned as investment properties or vacation homes. The Condo Associations all allow STR and may have requirements as to registering your guests.
The actual lake called Lake Harmony is surrounded by private homes, not part of a community association. A cooperative group controls the lake. There are paths and access points around the lake and various right-of-way agreements for the floating docks on Lake Harmony. If you own property there, you’ll find a way to the lake! Just a few blocks off the lake is a planned community called Lake Harmony Estates. Property owners in Lake Harmony Estates can enjoy two lakeside lots owned by their HOA. Lake Harmony Estates features many very nice homes, some very grand. The HOA does allow STR and requires homeowners who rent their properties as STR pay an extra $500 annual permit. The Lake Harmony Estates HOA does not require that guests be registered. There is no community clubhouse, just the lakeside lots and a small park with a tennis court.
At the opposite end of Lake Harmony from Nick’s you will find the Split Rock Resort and a vacation home community called Split Rock. The resort was sold in 2020 and the new owner has been steadily upgrading the facilities. The resort features the Lodge with lakefront bars and lodging, a very nice golf course, time-share townhomes and the Galleria Town Center with hotel rooms, movie theater, arcade, and an indoor water park. Many of the amenities are open to the public and charge and are pay-as-you-go. Some of the amenities (like pools, beaches, tennis courts) are restricted to only resort guests. Scattered throughout the several hundred homes that are technically stand-alone and not part of a HOA. Many of these homes were built when the resort was first built, but over the years building keeps going on. The homes in this area are very nice and the owners have a voluntary membership group called the Split Rock Cottage Owners Association that strives to serve the community. Roads in this area are maintained by the resort and owners pay a modest annual fee for road maintenance. There may be some additional deed restrictions on these properties, so always check with your realtor to see what the impact of those may be.
Tucked in between Boulder Lake and Lake Harmony is a condo development called Harmony Ridge Townhomes. They have a small clubhouse and pool and allow STR. One property owner there told me she bought a timeshare in Split Rock to gain access to their facilities proving there are creative ways to navigate the many different entities in the area!
Much of the area is served by a central sewer. The properties in this area are in Kidder Township which issues STR Licenses and handles Code Enforcement. Local businesses understand the area is a vacation destination and offer everything from Golf Cart rentals to Paddleboard lessons and boat rides on the lake. The nearby Pocono Speedway will let you drive a NASCAR Stock Car on the track or rent you a SlingShot (one 3 wheeled vehicles) and adjacent to the track you can go on one of the many area Pocono Outdoor Adventure UTV Tours.
The area has something for everyone, something for every budget. Lake Harmony is a landmark destination close to highways and yet far from it all. No wonder so many people have vacation homes in the area and why so many more come to visit. Short-term Rentals are alive and well in Lake Harmony and anyone interested in investing in the Poconos should take a hard look at opportunities in the area.
Here are some of my clients who have done just that:
Luxury Retreat, hosted by Serene Escapes
Laurelwoods II (Big Boulder)
Luxe Family Ski Home w/Views/Sauna/Hot Tub/Games, hosted by Yuriy
Not far away you will find:
Bear Creek Lakes:
The Retreat at Bear Creek Lakes, hosted by Samuel
Cozy Cottage/Pet Friendly Near Waterparks/Ski Resorts, hosted by Susan
Cozy Poconos Escape, hosted by Evolve
The Mountain Manor, hosted by Pocono Rental Management
Wild Antler Hideaway, hosted by Liana
White Haven Pocono:
Poconos Cottage, hosted by Raj
Investing in real estate has risks and you should always research any opportunities that come your way. In another article, I discuss STR Analysis, Running the Numbers as a way to estimate the success of a given property or community. For most, STR is much more than just investing, Running Short-Term Rental is Running a Hospitality Business. Lake Harmony is a popular vacation destination and looks to be that way for years to come. If you are interested in buying a property in the area, there are many options available.
And if you like what you see, here are some of the latest property listings from the Pocono MLS: