Geneva National Market Update

Geneva National Market Update

There are certain market segments that I try not to write about too often. I usually, or at least mostly, ignore the condotel market. I do this because I don’t like the properties and I don’t like the ownership and I certainly don’t like the lack of liquidity of those sorts of investments. I also don’t like the limitations on use, the fees, the cleaning charges. I do not like them near a harbor or near the course, I do not like them in Wisconsin and I certainly don’t like them in Michigan. I do not like them there or here, it’s obvious I don’t like them anywhere. And since this is my blog, I don’t want to talk about them. If you own one, I’m sorry. If you’re looking at one, please drop that brochure and run (unless it’s silly cheap and the documented historical return provides a sufficient return- just don’t plan on any appreciation). Since I don’t like condotels, I don’t talk about them, but it’s not only places that I don’t like that I prefer not to talk about.

I’ve written at great length about my love of Geneva National, even though I write less about it now because the news from that association is not as much positive as it is anemic. Even though my sore back limits my golf there, it is my very favorite place to play. The restaurants leave at least a smidge to be desired, but they are adequate if not memorable. I enjoy the development, but my continual words of encouragement during those late night conversations I have with GN have not proven sufficient to hoist this once grand property from riches to rags to riches to rags and back yet again to riches. Things are tough in GN, as they have been for the better part of four years, and there appears to be a considerable vastness between today and the date of the pricing recovery for my very favorite planned development.

This morning there are 122 available condominiums and single family homes on the market in Geneva National. There are an additional five properties with contracts pending, and probably a few others that have offers on them that I don’t yet know about. Year to date there have been 19 sales, the most expensive of which sold for $425k. The inventory in the development is downright cheap right now, with 38 properties priced under $200k available this morning. Single family homes are selling for far less than they could be replicated for, even at today’s land prices. There are expensive homes on the market there as well, but recent sales results have shown that the high end buyer has been all but absent in Geneva National over recent years. Oh, and the inventory numbers are skewed a touch heavy with the addition of some fractional properties offered through the MLS. It goes without saying that if I were you I wouldn’t buy a fractional share of anything, except maybe a jet, and since it is going without saying, I refuse to say it.

The funny thing about Geneva National is that from the outside, the development is viewed with a stigma that presents this grand group of homes and golf courses as a bad housing option. The reality is that it is a fabulous housing option, both for primary and vacation home buyers, and that roughly 85% or more of the owners are content with their ownership and do not have their property listed on the open market. There is a feeling from the outside of GN that it is a development in trouble, but in fact the only thing in trouble is the short term pricing and the dried up buyer pool. GN has become cheap, and while Abbey Springs maintains near peak pricing levels that might have dipped only 15%, Geneva National has floundered and currently features a vast array of sellers all but begging for insulting offers. Geneva National deserves better. Foreclosures are present but not rampant, and the overall association maintenance has not skipped a beat even while the market has declined.

Year to date sales for 2010 totaled 15 sales, so our current YTD tally of 19 is a touch better. That increase should be expected as a mere function of prices dropping, and I’d hope that the drop in list prices continues to lure reticent buyers off the sidelines and onto the finely manicured lawns of Geneva National. Financing for all condominiums is a bit tougher than it used to be, and by a bit I mean a ton, but there are still loans being written and deeds being executed. There will be volume at Geneva National this year, but when you consider there were already 43 YTD sales by June 28, 2005, it is apparent that Geneva National has a long way to go before recapturing the momentum of our peak years.

Photograph by Ideal Impressions Photography

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