First, I wished for a deep cover of ice. And then the lake froze solid, with so much ice that it only fully receded just two days ago (there was a winner in the ice contest, FYI). Then, I wished for a delayed spring, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to push away from this keyboard, or put down a paintbrush, and drive rapidly to the lake to crank an old Johnson engine and soak a minnow or strip a clouser. And then spring came but only sort of, only for a day or two, and now it’s 34 degrees and spitting snow and I’m feeling absolutely miserable on the inside. And at some point during my stupid wishing session I also wrote a wish for lower lakefront inventory. All of my dumb wishes have been coming true, and I couldn’t be unhappier about all of them.
I neglected the first rule of wishing, which is that you should be careful what you wish for. I’m nothing if not a reckless wisher. I wish for all sorts of things, and these wishes never used to come true. But now that they do I’m going to wish for better things, for good things. For things that aren’t entirely self serving, though if I wish for warmth and sunshine I suppose both of those things would, at this point, be for selfish reasons even though you’d benefit too. Whatever. The issue of the day is the lack of inventory on the lake, and whether or not I’m solely to blame for it.
At first glance, the inventory on the lakefront is ample enough. There are beautiful homes for sale in the South Shore Club, but not too many of them. There are entry level lakefront homes for sale, mid range homes for sale, and some bloated big fat lakefront places that come with the standard bloated fat lakefront prices (think $7MM+). If we’re just surface scratchers, like most, then we’d be satisfied with the inventory, but I’m not satisfied with much, and I’m certainly not one to just paw at the surface of anything. I brought a shovel today, and it’s diggin’ time.
Among the inventory that classifies as Geneva lakefront there are 38 available homes per the MLS this morning (under Geneva Lake search category). The number is deceiving. Of those 38, one is duplicated by offering a built price versus an as-is price. Down to 37 now. Remove the South Shore Club, because even though it is lakefront in practice and in market lingo, it is not technically pure lakefront. Now remove lakefront homes that actually share lakefront with other homes, or the one lakefront home that’s for sale that is attached to another lakefront home. Not pure. Now we’re down to 31 lakefront homes for sale.
There are at least three lakefront homes pending sale today (four actually, but the one is already pending in the MLS so it isn’t showing as active). Now we’re down to 28 lakefront homes. These are true, accurate, pure, unadulterated or otherwise inconvenienced lakefront homes. But we’re not done, because I went through the trouble of bringing this shovel and I’m sure as heck not going to just move a couple spoonfuls of earth with it. If we are to gauge the true health of the inventory, and the true quality of it, then we must discard those lakefront homes that have been for sale for 12 months or longer (one will reach its 12 month anniversary next week, so we’re lumping it in with the aged group), including those that have been recycled through several years of selling seasons. Remove that aged inventory and our number is decimated. Now we have just 13 lakefront homes to look over.
I’m still not tired, and my pile of dirt is still relatively small, so it’s imperative that I dig some more. Of those 13 lakefront homes, we should discount or at least recognize the homes that have recently sold and have been put back on the market by the new owner, either for reasons that involve a change of plans, a change of fortunes, or just a discovery that they don’t like crystal clear water and beautiful, unmarred scenery. Of our 13 remaining, 3 fall into the category of re-tread. We now have 10.
If you’re a new buyer to the market, you needn’t peel back the layers quite that deep, as old inventory is new to you if you’re new to the market. But if you’re a long suffering lakefront buyer, intent on finding the perfect lakefront scenario on a shoreline that has been thoroughly scoured, then you’re left with just 10 homes that might strike your tiring fancy. What does it all mean? Well, it means that if you’re a seller, you’ve found your somewhat captive audience, and they’re hungry. It might be time to throw the market a bone.