Geneva Lakefront Update

I read an article yesterday about how one Japanese day trader made thirty-four million dollars last week. He had a hunch about the markets, and rode large positions of options to an incredible win. I did not do that. I bought some stocks on one day, lost money the next day. Sensing the opportunity, I bought some more on the following day and then lost more on the day after. I have never made a winning stock trade in my life. In the same way, I have never made a bad real estate move in my life. I should, I suppose, stick to what I know best, and leave the real money making to the day traders who buy and sell options in between playing video games and online poker. That trader made money, I lost money, and I expected the real estate market here to respond to the tumult. It didn’t.


Showing and offer activity has not slowed down. Maybe it’s because everyone was expecting a correction in the indices. Maybe it’s because the swing was so low, so fast, and then back up, even faster. Maybe people just don’t care like they used to. Our weather has been decidedly lame over the past two weeks. First, the winds blew. They blew so hard for so long that “world class” sailors in large scows decided that it was just too windy for them. In a related development, I’ve decided take today off because I’m too broke. When the wind stopped, the rain came, and with it the fog and the strange, soggy, summery still that I find so pleasing. But while I found the cool, calm to be tasty, those wishing to squeeze more summer out of these remaining weeks were none too pleased.

Yet for the market shake up and the soggy afternoons, the market hasn’t taken notice. There are buyers, so many buyers that in fact it’s quite a spectacle. The lakefront market is leading the charge, with a particular attention on those upper bracket homes priced in excess of four million dollars. As a reminder, this market typically prints one sale over $5MM annually. Today, we have buyers for every segment, though it’s obvious to me that the market is yielding the best value on aged inventory, and most of the entry level lakefront segment. To make this easy on you, and better than just sending you a picture today with some nonsensical motivational quote, here’s the rundown of lakefront activity.

If you read along weekly, which I do hope you do, you’ll know that the auction house on the East shore of Geneva is pending sale. That’s rumored to be around $2.75MM, also rumored to be a sale to a buyer who was new to the market. Not a surprise. A sale is pending next to my Starboard Cottage listing ($2.375MM), that of an old cottage in tough shape listed at $2.175MM. There’s an entry level lakefront in Geneva Manor with no garage and no yard pending for $1.75MM. An off-market home in Geneva Bay Estates with a $2.65MM ask is under contract, having found the buyer easily and quickly without ever listing in the MLS. I showed that home twice, earlier than anyone else. Did you know about that listing? No? You should have been working with me. Continuing our westerly route, I have an offer on my Bonnie Brae listing, though it isn’t yet under contract. A lakefront in Cedar Point priced in the mid twos is under contract, a nice house on a reasonably nice lot that will now sell at what I presume to be a nice market price. The Loch Vista lakefront next to my parents’ home just sold for a bit over two million, so my father now likely assumes his house is worth well in excess of that (spoiler, it isn’t). The little shell of a lakefront on Outing just West of George Williams College is under contract off of an $879k ask.

The Orren Pickell built home on the hill in Fontana is pending sale in the $5s, and an old lakefront in Glenwood Springs with a $1.85MM ask has a buyer. There’s a contract on a For Sale By Owner at pier 511, the $4.5MM ask easily assumed to be value by the market. That’s the rare offering of a nice enough house on a nice enough lot, and $4.5MM is something the market can easily support. And so after two offers last week, that one is under contract. As an aside, I showed that home several times, to buyers that are smartly working with me, which is why they had early looks at that offering. Keep that in mind if you’re working with an agent and you weren’t made aware of that property, or the other one in Geneva Bay Estates for that matter. If you think that waiting for ads in a Chicago newspaper is the best way to find a lakefront home here, that’s how you end up at auctions and not in the living rooms of off-market listings.

The large ranch-ish house on Basswood is pending with an ask of just under $5MM. That house features a nice lot and some normal finishes, but it’s a great spot on the lake so I’m okay with it. I have a contract on my South Shore Club listing priced at $1.649MM, so expect that last bit of aged South Shore Club inventory to be cleared within the next month. There’s also an accepted offer with a client of mine on the last available vacant lot in the South Shore Club, lot 8. Rounding out the lakefront contracts, the small vacant lot in the Elgin Club is pending with a $1MM ask. That’s no fewer than 13 lakefront properties with contracts at the moment, and it’ll be 14 if I can get my other current lakefront contract put together this week. That’s unprecedented activity, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Is it frothy? Yes. Are the prices toppy? Not really. Excepting a few sales, these properties all make some sense at the prices they’re scheduled to sell at. Some are outright deals, others are market prints. Some are outliers, selling at silly prices. If you’d like to know which ones are which, let’s chat.

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.

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