The lake access market really is the meat and potato portion of our vacation home market at Lake Geneva. While the lakefront commands most of the attention, the reality is that not everyone can spend several million dollars on a summer home. I know, it’s unfortunate for me too. So the lake access market is the next best thing. One lane associations where all owners share a lakefront park and pier are indeed the most unique in this market, but large associations like Cedar Point Park and Country Club Estates are also desirable for basically the same reasons. This entry level market, priced from around $200k to $700k, has seen its share of ups and downs this year. With 76 homes with lakerights to Geneva in that price range, it’s not necessarily a positive sign or a negative sign that we only have 4 of those properties listed as pending sale. A volume recovery isn’t too likely in 2009, as our 16 YTD sales for this segment of the market nearly exactly mirror the 2008 YTD figure of 17. With 4 properties pending and all signs pointing to a solid fall, we should indeed eclipse 2008 year end totals, potentially by as much as 20%. It should be noted that of the possible 32 transaction sides for 2009 within this market, I have 6 of them to my credit. So, if I may, I’ll use a phrase that an annoying firm around here uses – I’ve dominated that market this year.
The inventory right now around the lake in this entry level lake access market is quite strong. We have listings available in associations that rarely have inventory including The Lake Geneva Club, Club Unique, and the Loch Vista Club. Yes, lots of clubs here. Some of the best properties are in that $500k to $650k price range, including one gem of a home in the Loch Vista Club, and my fixer upper with slip and view in the Lake Geneva Club. There are also plenty of opportunities in Country Club Estates and Cedar Point Park in this price range, and many of those opportunities are in the low $300k range. Country Club Estates has been hit particularly hard in this slow down, and I sold a home in that association two weeks ago for a price that was at least 20% less than the market high. Associations like Belvidere Park and Buena Vista in Fontana remain inventory challenged.
The associations offer so much more than most people realize, and the amenities are indeed mostly intangible. While some associations, like the Lake Geneva Club boast a boat house, elaborate pier system, and tennis court, most associations have only a lakefront park and pier. What you cannot understand however is how valuable that simple park and pier really are. Throw in a diving board and you’ve got vacation utopia. I stood against the railing pictured here, and talked with a couple old clients on Saturday afternoon. These clients were once just vacation home gawkers as well, but decided to jump into the market and embrace the lifestyle that comes with such a purchase. These clients now stood, leaning against a simplistic metal railing, talking about how wonderful it is to have a place here.
They hail from Park Ridge and Glen Ellyn, but on the weekends, Williams Bay is their home. Yes, the same Williams Bay that shrouds its lakefront in weedy mystery. It was a hot Saturday afternoon, and one even made a blog worthy remark about how sweaty and bored their neighbors back home must be. We weren’t hot at all, because the breeze off the lake was devine and refreshment was only a shirt throw and a jump away.