Houghton Lake & Higgins Lake/Roscommon County Homes for Sale and Real Estate
Natural beauty abounds in this area in the center of Michigan’s northern lower peninsula. Considered by many to be the unofficial start of “Up North,” Houghton Lake is Michigan’s largest inland lake and a favorite getaway spot from Metro Detroit and Lansing; the population of nearly 4,000 virtually doubles in the summer months. Of the area’s three major lakes, Houghton Lake is the most developed and offers the biggest selection of restaurants, resorts, motels and businesses. Houghton Lake has its own Class C school district, which is the town’s largest employer.
Higgins Lake, renowned for its deep, crystal-blue waters, has been called the world’s sixth most beautiful by the National Geographic Society. Two state parks anchor the lake and small communities with whimsical names like Ritz Corner and Daytona-on-the-Lake dot the shoreline. Roscommon Area Public Schools serves a 350-square-mile area and has about 1,200 students. The schools are small enough to encourage kids to try everything – it’s not uncommon to see a football player change uniforms at halftime, grab an instrument and join the marching band.
While more young families are moving in, about 60 percent of the population is over age 50. The area leans Christian and Republican and has an active roster of volunteer service clubs.
In Houghton Lake, thousands of cottages, single-family houses and businesses border the lake, whose shoreline is quite developed. Tear-downs of small vintage properties are becoming common as new buyers seek bigger houses with more modern amenities. The area was hard hit by the recession but is showing signs of a healthy rebound.
Nearby Higgins Lake/Roscommon County has mostly small- to medium-sized single-family houses, though there are pockets of opulence. Expanding existing homes is more common than new construction for growing families. Lots of undeveloped land is available. The cost of living is lower than in Michigan’s cities.
If you love the outdoors, you'll appreciate the area's outdoor activities and natural setting with an “away-from-it-all” feel.
In Houghton Lake, you won’t find a single chain restaurant in town – virtually everything, including the resorts, is locally owned and operated. And over in Higgins Lake/Roscommon County, rather than merely endure winter, the area embraces it with a large annual festival complete with cardboard sled race.
Those ready to exchange a traffic-filled commute for communing with nature. They'll also enjoy lakefront living combined with the convenience of nearby shopping and services.
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The Houghton Lake Historical Village includes 13 vintage buildings, including a tiny chapel, print shop and log schoolhouse, and a 1927 playhouse that hosts a variety of live performances. For the past 67 years, Tip-Up Town USA has drawn thousands of visitors onto the frozen lake each January for ice fishing, snowmobile racing, dog sledding, chain saw carving and a polar bear drip.
In Higgins Lake/Roscommon County, tourists come for the lake, of course, but also more than a dozen golf courses including top-ranked Forest Dunes. Hundreds of miles of marked trails attract hikers and, in cold weather, cross country skiers, and there are 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Lear Corporation, an automotive supplier, in Roscommon is the area’s biggest employer, with some 500 workers. ARAUCO is building a particleboard plant in nearby Grayling that will employ 250. The new Roscommon Sawmill Business Incubator encourages small business development. Nearby Lake St. Helen to the southeast has 18 miles of shoreline – 15 of which are undeveloped. The South Branch of the scenic AuSable River originates here.