I can feel it. It’s in the air. It’s in the way the grass looks and so many lilacs. Everywhere lilacs. The boats are here, they’re in the water and they’re on trailers and they’re everywhere. The streets are more alive than they were in April, more alive than March. Everything is more alive than February. It’s about that time when the people who know find their way to the lake. Not to any lake, but to this lake. To this place. To the place that’s better than all the other places combined. It’s nearly summer in Lake Geneva, and you’re either ready or you aren’t. There’s no real in between now. A week from Friday is Memorial Day Weekend, and if you’re not ready, you never will be.
The market shows signs that many people understand this coming inevitability. They see summer on the near horizon and they’re trying their best to be prepared. There are deals pending all over the board, with an especially strong showing in the $200-$600k price range. Buyers in this range are paying attention and they’re making their moves to be ready. There are 10 lake access homes pending this morning priced under $600k. There are another 12 condominiums in Geneva National pending under $600k, and no fewer than three pending in Abbey Springs. The market is alive in this pricing segment, and with the only exception being the lakefront condo market. Currently that market is attracting interest, but there aren’t any pending sales to speak of.
And that brings us to the lakefront market. To the big time. The lakefront currently has 28 homes for sale (counting South Shore Club- 1 property, and counting one property that’s only sort of lakefront), with three more vacant lakefront parcels available. That’s 31 lakefront properties available, and of those there are four pending. The four pending include one on the hill in Cedar Point in the mid $1MMs, two on Lackey Lane (mid $4s and $2MM), and a fresh contract on my lakefront listing at 976 South Lakeshore Drive in Fontana ($3.395MM). I tried to tell you that the new Fontana lakefront was going to sell, and after a month on the market we fielded two offers within a matter of days and now the property is under contract. The market loves Fontana, this we all know.
Of the 31 active lakefronts, I have 10 of them listed. That’s significant, because if you’re a buyer looking for inventory, then you’d be wise to talk to the agent that handles the inventory. That’s me. Of the four pending lakefront sales, three of those are my properties, either on the buy or list side. That’s also significant, because of the obvious. I think at this point there’s been enough beating around the bush. If you’re selling lakefront property on Geneva Lake, I’m your guy. If you’re buying lakefront property on Geneva Lake, I’m your guy. It seems as though there’s very little reason to argue at this point.
The lakefront is going to do one of two things this summer. It’s either going to stall out on new inventory, in which case we’ll see buyers ultimately pick off the inventory (much of it is quality) that’s currently available. If the inventory stalls, there’s no way we come close to matching the 2015 volume statistics. Prices might tighten up, which will be good for existing sellers, but we just won’t see the same sort of movement that we saw in 2015. Either that happens, or we add inventory, which will be snapped up by buyers who have already dismissed the available properties. This was the case with 976 South Lakeshore. It came to market at a time when little else was available, and because it’s a unique and special property, it sold quickly. If new inventory presents in May and June, expect July and August to be banner months. That’s the trend from 2015, where the lakefront market was sluggish until the end of June.
Weather does play a roll in this, no matter how much we’d prefer it didn’t. If we have a hot, sunny summer, sales will be good. If we have a rainy summer, with poor weekend forecasts, sales will lag. If it’s 77 and sunny every day from now until Labor Day, this won’t be good for any of us. Because then we’ll be selling entry level lakefronts for $5MM and our buyers will be international sorts and we’ll all be priced out of our own market. So let’s hope for a large percentage of sunny days, but not too many.