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(Photos by Bill Hemmel of LakesRegionAerials.com)

Update: Results of New Hampshire Primary: Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire; Paul takes second, Huntsman third.

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Original Post:

Mitt Romney is no stranger to high-end real estate. The former Massachusetts governor owns a home in Boston and boasts a southern California beauty on the beach at La Jolla.

But it’s Romney’s lake house in Wolfeboro, NH, (picture above courtesy of CBS News) that has locals in “the oldest summer resort in America” wondering what a potential Romney presidential win would mean for the quiet shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

The Romneys’ summer house on New Hampshire’s largest lake is a 3-story, 6-bedroom, 5,400-sq-ft contemporary set on an 11-acre lot. It is secluded from the road, with a guest house and upwards of 800 feet of lake frontage. Romney and his wife, Ann, bought the place for $3 million in 1997, added a parcel later, and now the place is valued at about $10 million.

New Hampshire Home Value Data

  • Change from Peak: 24.3% (Peak Nov. 2005)
  • Foreclosure Re-sales:  N/A
  • Sold for Loss: 33.1% (The percentage of homes in New Hampshire that sold for less than the previous purchase price (e.g. a home purchased for $250k and then sold for $225k). This excludes foreclosure transactions.)

But beyond the dollars and cents, the value of the Romney’s summer place to residents of Wolfeboro, incorporated way back in 1770, and other surrounding communities could change drastically, especially if Romney were to make good on his ambition to supplant Barack Obama as president of the United States.

Can Romney turn Wolfeboro into the Crawford of the North — minus the G.W. Bush penchant for brush clearing?

Time will tell.

Mitt and Ann Romney watch their grandchildren and family members perform on the grounds of their Lake Winnipesaukee compound. SOURCE: MittRomneyCentral.com

Today,  Romney gets to test his quasi-native son status in New Hampshire.

After a narrow victory in Iowa, Romney heads into the Granite State as the favorite. He leads Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, New Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman in the Republican primary and is looking to solidify support despite evidence of a fractured Republican Party base that pundits say is still looking for more choice — and less Romney — for the November election.

In Wolfeboro, reporters have made a cottage industry of stories about the Romney family’s  summer encampments at their lakeside compound.

According to Reuters, Romney was introduced to the Wolfeboro area by members of the Marriott hotel clan. Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, the devout Mormon businessman who founded the company. Romney later bought the lakefront property from Butch Cash, another hotel executive, for less than $3 million. In 2004, real estate broker Robert Hughes sold Romney, then Massachusetts governor, a small parcel of land abutting the main property.

While the Romneys have already brought some big-league political clout to Wolfeboro, including visits from foreign heads of state, the town is now having to consider “The Big What If.”

We’re already talking about how we might change this business if he is the nominee. We know things would change if he’s the president,” said Judith Colcord, co-owner of the Downtown Grille and Cafe.

“I would like to talk to businesses in Kennebunkport about how it changed their community,” said Colcord, referring to the coastal town in Maine where George H. W. Bush spent large amounts of time while he served as president and vice president.

 

> See Homes of the GOP candidates

About the Author

Laura Vecsey is a former sports columnist, news reporter and politics writer and has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Sun, Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union and Harrisburg Patriot-News. She was also a regional editor with Examiner.com. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

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