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Construction is expected to continue into 2022 for Branson Cove, a vacation home rental development on Table Rock Lake.
Photo provided by Foggy River Realty LLC
Construction is expected to continue into 2022 for Branson Cove, a vacation home rental development on Table Rock Lake.

$45M project joins vacation home scene

Over half of Branson Cove properties under contract, sold

Posted online

The development team behind a $45 million vacation rental complex is looking to make a splash on Table Rock Lake.

Branson Cove is a 50-home project off Highway 165 and Dale Avenue in Hollister. House sizes range from 2,100 to 5,000 square feet, with floor plans of four to 10 bedrooms. The individually owned rental homes start at roughly $390,000 and go up to $950,000, said Cole Currier, a member of project developer Branson Cove LLC.

“It’s far exceeding our expectations,” he said of response to the project, which launched last fall. “The demand in the marketplace for the size of home has just continued to grow.”

Currier, who also co-owns Foggy River Realty LLC, said 11 of the development’s homes have sold, with 16 under contract. Branson-based Columbia Construction Services LLC is general contractor for the project, with four houses at occupancy and nine substantially complete, he said. Work is estimated to wrap up in March 2022.

Foggy River Realty’s properties are 95% residential, specializing in higher-end real estate in Branson and the Table Rock Lake area in Stone and Taney counties, Currier said. The firm’s average sales price is roughly $330,000, he said, which makes the Branson Cove homes a bit of a step up.

However, the desire for larger, privately owned vacation rental properties is present, he said, pointing to short-term rental services such as Airbnb Inc. and Vacation Rentals by Owner.

“What’s really fueled the expansion has been the existence of VRBO and Airbnb,” he said. “With technology available to do so, people want to own the place and control the rental of it.”

Go large
Valerie Budd, owner of Ridgedale-based vacation rental property management company RentBranson, said the business is managing several units in Branson Cove. The company, which started in 2005 and also operates as Amazing Branson Rentals, manages nearly 100 rental properties, she said. It serves properties in Stone and Taney counties with rental rates beginning at $100 for a one-bedroom home up to $2,000 per night for a 12-bedroom house during the summer peak season, she said.

“A lot of it at the beginning was just educating the audience of the market, what we are and what we do,” she said of building the business.

She said revenue has grown 10% annually in recent years, declining to disclose figures.

Branson Cove isn’t the only large rental home development for which the company manages properties. It also oversees several houses in The Lodges at Chateau Cove, located near Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center. The homes in the development, completed in 2019, have five- to 12-bedroom floor plans and Table Rock Lake views, Budd said.

Scott Starrett, Taney County Planning Department administrator, said Branson Cove, Chateau Cove and Branson Canyon, an 87-acre development just south of Branson, are the main large-scale, Airbnb-style properties in the area overlooking Table Rock Lake.

He said more would likely be developed as demand warrants.

“It just depends on the market,” he said. “When they quit making money on them as much as they are is when they’ll slow down.”

Chateau Cove served as an inspiration for Branson Cove, Currier said, as both feature extensive amenities beyond lake views and large houses. Both have pools and recreation areas, while Branson Cove also has a park with lake access.

He said weather is generally favorable most of the year in the Branson area, making January and February the only off-season for property rentals. He estimates 150 nights a year is a good number for properties to be rented in order for investors or homeowners to get a return on investment.

“Demand will be really strong in the peak season of summer, particularly for the lake properties,” Currier said. “Those 120 days of summer will almost certainly be booked every single day. That’s the trend we’ve seen.”

Interest uptick
Currier’s hoping that trend continues at Branson Cove, which had a few early commitments from buyers last fall. He thought momentum would really pick up upon spring’s arrival in March. However, the coronavirus pandemic arrived at the same time.

“That was some unfortunate timing with the onset of the pandemic. There were moments there where vacation rental owners, vacation rental investors were pretty nervous,” he said, noting people were canceling travel plans amid stay-at-home orders.

Sales and interest in the development’s homes have steadily increased this summer, he said.

“As soon as restrictions started to ease up and people started to feel more comfortable, what they realized in booking vacations is we feel more comfortable taking our family to stay together in a home than we feel even going to a high-density hotel or timeshare resort.”

Budd said that theory is being reflected in rental activity for her business.

Year-over-year property rentals were up 45% in August, she said. September is tracking even higher as of the middle of the month, nearly 75% more than a year prior.

“People are realizing they like being with their family and friends and can rent an entire home for less expense,” she said of renters staying together rather than booking multiple facilities. “It’s a true staycation.”

As Branson Cove buyer interest continues to rise, Currier said he’s not looking at any development projects beyond it at this time.

“It probably needs some time to experience some absorption into the market,” he said. “We want to make sure any future product has high enough returns for investors.”

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