The infrequent, though steady drip of Lake Geneva foreclosure activity continues. It’s been a while since my last foreclosure review, but I had a few moments yesterday to review the lis pendens filings for Walworth County, and the results were about as expected. The Lake Geneva vacation home market has not been able to avoid foreclosures entirely, but the market here has fared better than any other vacation home market that I’m aware of. The impact of our foreclosures has been minimal, though it’s impossible to buck the downward pressure that foreclosures put on pricing regardless of the strength of the overall market.
2009 was the first year where significant numbers of foreclosures affected the vacation home market here, and even for all the national froth regarding distressed sales, I would estimate that the Lake Geneva vacation home market saw perhaps a dozen foreclosed properties all year. Those figures do not include some vacant land foreclosures in Geneva National, nor do they include time shares in the area. You know how I feel about time shares, so I won’t repeat here what a horrible, absent minded “investment” they are. The big news in 2009 regarding foreclosures was the distressed sale of a lakefront home in Lake Geneva. I didn’t think it was too big of a deal, as the home was entry level and in horrible condition, which made it a prime candidate for a distressed sale.
The news today is that I do see another lakefront foreclosure in the works. This home, like the last one, is a dump. As much as I enjoy crappy cottages in great locations, this is neither. Instead, this home is architecturally boring, and it’s in a fairly poor location. Those two attributes make it a prime foreclosure candidate, and I’d expect we’ll see this property on the market at some time in the next six months as REO property. If you’re interested, you need to email me so we can be on top of it. When I term it a poor location, you still need to keep in mind that it’s on Geneva, which is like saying that your lobster tail at dinner last night was a little too small. It was still lobster.
Abbey Springs appears to have at least one active lis pendens filing, which could result in a foreclosure. This is a single family home in the development, which surprises me. Common sense tells me that condominium units would be more prone to default because they are paying heavy monthly fees, which should compound financial difficulty, yet the last couple foreclosures in Abbey Springs have involved single family homes. Be sure to email me if you want me to watch this property for you as well.
Cedar Point Park in Williams Bay has a very cheap REO that just came to the market yesterday, and there are at least two more foreclosures in the works in that development. The homes aren’t too exciting, but low prices make up for a lack of architectural or geographical intrigue. That’s the thing about foreclosures in general, as a buyer rarely gets everything they’re looking for in a vacation home by buying REO. That said, if you’re more interested in price than you are location, and you don’t mind putting time and money into a property, these REO’s may be of interest.
Geneva National has a couple pre-foreclosures out there as well, which should come as no surprise given the extreme size of the development. When a development of 1100+ units has a couple foreclosures every quarter, what’s surprising is that the the foreclosure tally is so impressively low, not that the foreclosures exist. GN continues to do a fine job avoiding a rash of foreclosures, and that should help position GN for a solid year.
The Bella Vista in Lake Geneva has a unit with a lis pendens filing, which appears to be the only such filing affecting a lakefront condominium on Geneva. That’s a positive for the market, as condominiums historically have a higher default rate than single family homes. The Geneva lakefront condo market is bucking that historical trend, and I have a feeling that while the lakefront condo market may give up a foreclosure this year (outside of the Bella Vista, which isn’t really lakefront), the market will largely avoid foreclosure trouble.
All in all, if bargain prices interest you more than location and condition of the home do, you need to be on top of the Lake Geneva REO game. If you’re following the blog waiting for me to mention some new REO deal, you’re probably going to get in on the action a little too late. If Lake Geneva REO’s interest you, it’s best to email me and let me know what sort of property you’re looking for. While REO’s can at times be bargains, the transactions are generally difficult, and the properties will generally need significant amounts of work. Even so, for those who value price more than location or utility, the REO scene at Lake Geneva is one that might be worth your time.