'Lakefront Empire': the Glitz, the Glam, the Ozarks and More

What used to be “the greatest kept secret” in real estate is revealed, thanks to HGTV's Lakefront Empire — premiering on March 11.

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Enter the Hamptons of the Midwest: Lake of the Ozarks, which boasts multi-million dollar estates spread out across 1,500 miles of waterfront property. It might just be the country's best-kept secret — until now, that is.

HGTV's Lakefront Empire is taking us inside the region's real estate industry. We'll watch a cast of genial local real estate agents entertain both buyers and sellers, while showcasing an array of properties worth a modest $100,000 to multi-millions.

Ahead, we break down what Lake of the Ozarks is all about. We have everything you need to know: the facts, the myths and more.

A History of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks — made up of more coastline than California — is an astonishingly beautiful part of the country, nestled between St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago.

Forget what you've heard about the Midwest: This region is exploding with rolling hills, ancient forests and sparkling waterways. The rich history of the area boasts Native American, frontier and European influences, allowing visitors and residents to immerse themselves in savory home-cooked restaurant meals, craft fairs and legendary ghost tours. The Ozarks are also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Activities such as hiking, fishing, boating and camping are popular, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an active lifestyle.

Real Estate Diversity in the Ozarks

This real estate market keeps agents on their toes. Long-time residents often look to upgrade, while transplants from all around the country compete to establish roots in the highly sought-after community. There's more than 100,000 properties along its coastline, but four main neighborhoods hold the most appeal to buyers: North Shore, Four Seasons, Porto Cima and Osage Beach.

With pricing as low as $100,000 and premiere properties extending upwards of $10 million, there’s truly something for everyone. Older cottages that have been owned for generations are great for families looking for a budget-friendly fixer upper. In turn, newly renovated homes are ideal for buyers seeking a luxe vacation getaway.

The median home price in the Ozarks rings in around $380,000 — which checks out, given the clients on Lakefront Empire range from billionaires (think professional athletes) to working-class families.

Why Are Buyers Flocking to the Ozarks?

Affordable waterfront housing: Compared to other coastal regions, the Ozarks offer a haven for budget-conscious homebuyers, with charming properties at accessible prices.

A variety of properties: Homebuyers in the Ozarks can find a range of property types, from cozy cabins and cottages to larger homes with acreage.

Calm water access: Many properties have a pre-existing dock for swimming, boating and other water sports.

Nearby nature: City dwellers are eager to trade the urban jungle for pristine forests, sparkling lakes and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Small-town gemütlichkeit: 1,500 miles may seem like a large coastline community, but this is a place where neighbors gather, local businesses thrive and residents feel a sense of belonging. To many, the area feels like a playground for adults.

Quaint communities feature local merchants and amazing restaurants. The social scene in the Ozarks is next-level.

Quaint communities feature local merchants and amazing restaurants. The social scene in the Ozarks is next-level.

Most Popular Areas in the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks: Missouri's playground offers boating, fishing, swimming and lakeside relaxation.

Table Rock Lake: A fisherman's paradise known for its abundant bass and crappie, with charming towns and serene coves waiting to be explored.

Bull Shoals Lake: Nestled between Arkansas and Missouri, this vast lake boasts stunning bluffs, hidden waterfalls and opportunities for camping, hiking and wildlife watching.

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park: This destination has both suspension bridges and waterfalls. Visit to marvel at the breathtaking natural wonder of Big Bluff with its panoramic views.

Lakefront Empire premieres Monday, March 11 at 10|9c. Get the latest on the new series on HGTV.com and via #LakefrontEmpire and @HGTV on Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok and Threads.

Next Up

These 'Lakefront Empire' Locals Run the Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Scene

HGTV sits down with the cast of Lakefront Empire. Learn more about Peggy Albers, Amanda Smith, Cierra Grein, Gerardo Cornejo and brothers Jonas and Justin Farrell.

HGTV Meets the Luxe Waterfront Properties of the Ozarks in 'Lakefront Empire'

“We used to say that the Lake of the Ozarks was the country’s greatest kept secret. Now, the secret is out.”

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