Another Off Market Lakefront Sale

Last year 58% of all known lakefront transactions traded off market. The reason this matters is rather simple. If you’re a seller, it’s a trend that cannot be ignored. There are reasons to select this path towards a sale. And if you’re a buyer, the implications for you are quite obvious. If you’re a lakefront buyer and you’re not working with the agent who is transacting most of these sales, are you actually a buyer?

This week, another off market lakefront sale. This one on the North Shore of Fontana with a transaction value in the $6.35M range and a transfer slightly lower after an allocation for personal property. The sale makes good sense by my eye, as the property combined a desirable Fontana location with a wildly charming house that had received some meaningful updates over recent years. A lakeside pool wrapped up the amenities here, and this attractive combination of attributes overcame the absence of a garage and a less than ideal bedroom to full bath ratio on the second floor.

The sale is only the third lakefront closing of 2024, joining a house on Maple Lane in the Birches ($4M) and my lovely sale of pier 501 in Fontana ($12,725,000). At first glance, this would look like the makings of a down year on the lakefront, and that first glance would be mostly correct. We have two other lakefronts pending as of this morning, but even if both close before Memorial Day we’d still be entering summer with only five lakefront sales under our belt. I don’t have interest in spinning this as a positive, but I will suggest it’s a sign of a remarkably stable market.

Consider today there are only three available lakefront homes on market. Inventory remains constricted and a lack of inventory has a way of leaving buyers unmotivated, or at least unexcited. If you call me on a Monday and I tell you about five terrific listings you should drive up to see, you might take that bait. But if I tell you there are a few homes and one is super overpriced and one is in a tough spot, does that entice you to come spend an afternoon with me? Not exactly, and so the market sputters. On the other hand, limited inventory is a boon for pricing, and overpriced outliers create incredible faux-comps for sellers wishing to list at an accurate market price. The market is finding its way this spring, but with this constricted inventory we’re not exactly on pace for some new sales records.

I expect there will be two or more new lakefront listings coming in the next month or so, both of which will be regurgitated 2023 pieces of inventory. I’m sure there will be other bits and pieces coming, but if the latest lakefront sale is any sign, there’s a good chance that if it’s a piece of inventory that I have control over it’ll be sold off market. If you’re a lakefront buyer, we should probably be working together. Unless you don’t want visibility into my off market deal making, then carry on.

I’m grateful to the seller for choosing me to represent this latest sale. And to the buyer? Well, the buyer is about to experience the magic of lakefront living, and if it looks pretty fun on these dreary days in April, imagine how much better it will be in June…

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 27 years ago I did so of a desire to one day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $800,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

Leave a Comment