Blog : Estates

Lakefront Inventory

Lakefront Inventory

It feels like an epidemic. Each day starts full of hope. Each day passes choked with despair. New inventory should be here by now. But it isn’t. Why isn’t it? This is what the people want to know. The smart Lake Geneva buyers are working with me, and I’m working for them, trying to dig up shreds of inventory so that I might offer it to them on this silver platter. Despite my efforts, the silver platter remains empty, carrying only the dust from a desperate summer.

Buyers are active on the lakefront, this we know.  Lots of agents have buyers at the moment. Lots. They’re asking me for inventory. David, what do you have that I might sell? This is sweet of them to ask so nicely, but what they don’t know is that any inventory that I uncover will be inventory that I offer to my buyers first, and to everyone else last. This is why buyers should be working with me, among all of the other reasons, but still, the market persists and summer moves along and there’s no inventory.

But that’s not entirely true. There have been seven new lakefronts brought to market from June 1st through August 1st. Of those seven, I’ve presented three of them under my brokerage. The thing is, five of those seven are listings that were previously on the market. Of the two new ones, I sold my listing (Jerseyhurst, closing next month), and the other listing is an entry level home seeking a buyer (visionary).  While I do see several of these new listings selling this year, it’s obvious to admit to you that our inventory is light at best. Anemic at worst.  But how does it stack up to a typical Lake Geneva summer?

Last year there were nine new lakefront listings 6/1-8/1.  For the sake of this historical reflection I won’t be deciphering which listings were “new” new, and which were  regurgitated new.  The same two months in 2015 brought 10 new listings to market. 2014 saw 12 new, and 2013 gave us 10. For the sake of averages, the market has produced 9.6 new lakefront listings between June 1st and August 1st. If we’re trying to be dramatic, that means the 2017 inventory production is 25% off the pace.

Still, in spite of the lighter 2017 listing volume, we’re still faring much better than the 2007 market. Those buyers were truly up against it, with just 3 lakefronts listed over those two summer months. And back then, the “cheapest” new listing was $2.2MM.  So yes, our inventory is constricted. Yes, that makes it tough on buyers. But don’t for a second think it’s some sort of historical anomaly.  It’s just a bit behind the running average, and I’m confident that August and September will bring some new inventory that will satiate the market.

 

Above, the master bathroom at my pending sale on Jerseyhurst.
700 South Lakeshore Sells

700 South Lakeshore Sells

When I listed this property last August, I knew exactly what it was. It wasn’t the most perfect house on the lake. The kitchen wasn’t exactly the current style. But it was 4 acres and 162 of frontage with so much square footage and so many resort-style amenities. The house had been listed off and on for what felt like ages, as if anyone really knows exactly what an “age” feels like. Still, the property was repositioned with the help of a fresh perspective and some fresh marketing efforts and I was pleased to work for that seller to get that property sold.

Last Friday, I sold 700 South Lakeshore in the city of Lake Geneva for $5,900,000. The sale is the fifth over $5,000,000 since the start of last year. Of those five sales, I’ve represented the seller in four of them. I’m not really sure now what else I can do to help convince the upper bracket market that I’m the man to handle these luxury listings. Perhaps the secret will be unlocked after I sell five out of the last six…

While I’m happy for the seller who now gets to move on to the next chapter of her life, I’m exceptionally pleased for the buyer. This is a new lake owner, with a new reason to look forward to the weekend. There’s something extra rewarding about selling a lake house to a first time Lake Geneva owner.  They don’t yet know what they’re in for, but I do. We do.  A very special thank you to this seller and buyer who allowed me to help bring this sale together.

Pikewood Estate

Pikewood Estate

My grandmother was not necessarily a memorable fashionista. The was too old by the time I was old enough to recognize style, and by then I recognized that she veered towards the loud, and the sparkly. She wore bright red lipstick often, and later in life she would generously apply it in the general area of her very old lips. She was a lovely woman, but she was not a style maker. This is why it was curious that her favorite house on the lake was the understated Pikewood Estate on Pebble Point.

Pier 162 was never the loudest house on the lake. In fact, it looked under built compared to the behemoths both of very old and of very recent. The house was built in 1923 for the family of a barbed wire magnate, which, coincidentally enough is something that I’ll be buying a lot of in the coming years (see here). Later, it was owned by the well known Goes family, of Chicago. It was a classic home, perched confidently in the deep woods of pebble point, with 181′ of level frontage and a view to Black Point, Majestic, and beyond. It was a fantastic house, one that my grandmother admitted often was her favorite house on the lake.

Pikewood Gardens
Hardscape and Perennial Gardens

 

The site, all 181 level feet, all four wooded acres, rests just to the East of Pebble Point. On one side, the magnificent home that is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Falling Waters , on the other, an incredibly beautiful dutch colonial that was built just a few years ago. Behind, off the lake, a huge tract of deep woods where a conservation project is underway to restore those woods to their natural glory. This site is insulated from some of the things that plague other sites. High density nearby, there’s none of that. Associations within ear shot, of course not. Just beautiful land that has been remarkably improved over recent years. And by now you’ve guessed it, Pikewood is for sale.

 

Four Acres of Manicured Gardens
Four Acres of Manicured Gardens

But it hasn’t been without much deliberation. The owner purchased this property years ago with the intent of building his lakefront masterpiece. That is why the impeccable landscaping was done. The bridges were built of stone by meticulous masons. The site designs were completed, the engineering done. Permits were applied for and received, irrigation was installed. Landscape lighting, too. The septic field was installed, subtly, out of the way, where it needed to go. Trees were cleared, and the stream were cleaned. This is a site that has been the subject of intensive work, and now that the work is done, it’s time for someone to build a home here.