That the lakefront market is hot provides no consolation to the rest of the vacation home market. There is no joint feeling of relief when one lakefront sells and renders another still overlooked, passed over for the umpteenth time. When a home sells for three million dollars, and the buyer is happy and the seller is too, does this mean anything for the guy with his $500,000 home that he hasn’t been able to sell for months that are stacking into years? For one segment of our vacation home market to be full of activity, there is fun for that segment, but not for the entire market. While a rising tide certainly does lift all ships, that has everything to do with the moon, who gets no individual credit and certainly means little to a housing market.
The Geneva lakefront market finished 2010 with 18 true lakefront sales per the MLS. When I say true sales, I exclude the South Shore Club and others that while seem to be lakefront, are indeed nothing of the sort. 2011 has recorded just 12 such sales year to date, but the growing momentum cannot yet be measured when combing only the sold statistics. It should be noted- there was at least one other lakefront sale that I was aware of during the summer of 2011- the private sale of an estate named Pikewood for $3.8MM. This 181′ parcel just East of Pebble Point is a beautiful piece, and with any luck the home will be renovated and modified instead of torn down. Chances are there will be a wrecking ball in that classic home’s future. Sad.
With 12 sales in the books for 2011, the most recent closed just yesterday for $2.2MM. While I enjoy ridiculing sales prices that I deem to be too high, this sales price represented value for this buyer. The frontage was a touch steep, and the home a touch odd, but it was a beautiful 1.3 acre lot and it was worthy of this sales price. We’ll wait to see if the home ends up being torn down, though it’s doubtful that it will be. The home is nice, the neighborhood comfortable, the lake sparking. It was, all around, a good buy.
Over the weekend, I went under contract on the pretty Glenwood Springs lakefront home that you’re looking at in the above photo. The list price of $2.49MM was steady throughout the summer, and a confluence of buyer activity over the weekend led to an accepted offer on Monday. I’ll let you know the sales price when this deal closes later this year.
There are other active offers on other lakefront homes at the moment, and that isn’t taking into account the recently closed and pending deals on vacant lakefront. I see three or four active listings right now that I fully expect to at least go under contract by year’s end, if not actually sell. The pending sale on South Lakeshore in Fontana is rumored to be scheduled for a 2012 close, but I’m going to be forced to count it as a 2011 sale just because it has been pending for so many months now. Expect to see deals on at least one listing in Cedar Point Park, another in Glenwood Springs, the Basswood home, and perhaps one, maybe two others by the end of the year. That prediction is just speculation on my part, but it’s based on a belief that buyers will recognize value, and savvy buyers will be executing contracts between now and mid-December in order to take advantage of sellers who have their eyes affixed on January 31, 2012.
What’s January 31, 2012? That’s the date the next property tax bill payment is due in Walworth County. Sellers looking to sell don’t like that date all that much, and it’s that date that might help motivate towards a solid deal yet in 2011. The market is rife with activity, yet value remains. The property on Maple Lane that closed this week for $2.2MM was listed for $2.99MM. That’s important to know in the event that you’re eying a property that boasts an elevated asking price. Sellers around Geneva are typically reticent to reduce asking prices, but that stubborn reliance on a subjective price tends to melt away when presented with a motivated, qualified buyer. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the buying season that you’ve waited all year for.