Geneva Lakefront Market Update

Geneva Lakefront Market Update

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I take it all back. Last week, I asked for ice. For cold. For a delay in the spring that I know I won’t be ready for. This morning, at six degrees below zero, with my feet nearly frozen while sitting in a warm office, I’m prepared to tell you that I was entirely, completely, and thoroughly wrong. My intentions were good, if selfish, but those same intentions were short sighted. I don’t want this sort of cold. I want a winter where the cold days are 25 degrees and the normal days are 35. I want some sort of winter, with some white snow and enough ice, but I don’t want this. This isn’t Lake Geneva, this is Winnipeg. And Winnipeg is a horrible, horrible place.

The lakefront today is icy, but somehow, some way, the market is quite hot, still. There’s at least one more pending sale on Geneva, this one a $2.8MM house on Swinghurst on the south shore of Geneva, near the Geneva Inn. I’ve always liked the name Swinghurst. It’s nice. But I don’t care so much for this house, as it’s a recent remodel with some very remodel-y features that I’m not a huge fan of. But alas, I am not the buyer, so weather or not I like the floors doesn’t really matter. At 120′ of frontage, the $2.8MM price is a bit of a premium for this house in this location, but I’m swallowing my rapidly diminishing pride and abiding by my “all volume is good volume” mantra.

The lakefront market this morning is getting a bit light on inventory. By my count, just 30 true lakefront homes exist. That’s including Glenwood Springs, but excluding the South Shore Club, for now. There is inventory coming to market, I’m sure of it, but there isn’t much out there right now. There are plenty of homes on the market that will sell soon enough, and others that will probably find a way to close before 2013 is out, but there isn’t a general feeling of generous supply right now. There are 30 active lakefront homes available on Geneva Lake, and a surprising five more pending sale at the moment. In January. At minus 6.

I think it’s obvious that the market is begging for inventory, but just what sort of inventory are the buyers looking for? Well, there are a number of property types that will sell with relative ease right now. Properly priced entry level homes in the $1.2-$1.4MM range should have a good chance at moving right now, particularly if they are nice enough that they won’t require a major renovation. The appetite for entry level tear downs on Geneva has all but disappeared over the past five years and I don’t see that changing any time soon. The other property, perhaps the most desirable right now, is something with a nice enough house on it and a 100′(+) estate style lot (think Basswood, South Lakeshore Drive, Snake, etc) in the $2.6MM to $3.2MM range. There’s little out there that I like in that segment, and if something hit the market with those attributes there would probably be a buyer on it before too long.

The last segment that looks like it needs inventory to me is the $4MM-$6MM range, but not just any home would do in this strata. This is the range where I see many of the recent tear down and rebuilt properties needing to sell, and if something fantastic and new came to market in the right geographic area, that’s something that would sell. There’s a gorgeous house for sale on Conference Point Drive in Williams Bay. At $5.2MMish it’s a lot of house for the money, but it’s not in an area that wants to support the $5MM price tag. Up to $3.5MM in that short stretch is easily possible, but to reach for a five handle is not an easy maneuver there. If something came on with a Fontana or Black Point to Fontana location (possibly the most desirable stretch of the lake right now), and it was a newer home with high end finishes and an estate style lot, that home would attract attention even if the price was in the $5s.

So what’s good in the market today? Plenty of these homes, but certainly not all of them. My Folly Lane listing continues to stand out as the best pure value play in the market, and once it sells I think the market will reflect back on it as a rare bit of value in this recovering(ed) market. There are other deals as well, and if you’re looking to secure one I’m here and more than willing to help. See you at Eastbank on Saturday, 11-2 pm, just south of downtown Lake Geneva off of South Lakshore Drive. We can talk snow sculptures and real estate.

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