It’s been a couple weeks since I wrote a foreclosure update, so if you’ve been frantically waiting for one, pacing up and down your hallway on sleepless nights, I apologize. I’ve reviewed both the scheduled foreclosure auctions and the lis pendens filings, and while much of it is more of the same, there are some newsworthy developments. The bulk of the foreclosure activity remains confined to Elkhorn, Whitewater, Geneva Township, Pell Lake, the City of Delavan, and Darien. To a lesser extent Walworth, Delavan Township, and Lake Geneva are also affected. The strongest communities that are fighting off foreclosure issues remain Williams Bay and Fontana, with the latter being a particular stalwart.
The Lake Geneva vacation home market has seen a few foreclosures in recent months, including the only lakefront foreclosure of the year that sold last week for $1.25MM. Foreclosures involving single family homes and condominiums with lakerights or lake frontage are still far and few between, and Cedar Point Park appears to have the only residential foreclosures pending. Two homes in the Park are scheduled for foreclosure auction, and it looks like at least one other has a lis pendens affecting it. Abbey Springs has a new lis pendens filing, so there may be another foreclosure coming to market there in the next several months. The Abbey Springs foreclosure that was on the market recently has gone under contract, as have at least two other homes. Abbey Springs remains the hottest individual market in the Lake Geneva real estate market.
Geneva National has a small, child sized handful of foreclosures, both on the market and in the process of foreclosure. It should be noted that I think Geneva National has faired fabulously in this down market. Whenever you see a foreclosure in Abbey Springs or Geneva National and you want to interpret it as a ominous sign, you have to remember that the developments have over 1600 combined units. A handful of foreclosures out of 1600 units is of no consequence to the health of the market in the long run. I wrote an offer a couple weeks ago on a beautiful foreclosure in Geneva National, and the seller wouldn’t even negotiate with my capable buyer. Sort of throws a monkey wrench in the line of thought that says banks are always willing to cut bait and run. Usually, but not always.
I’m surprised that the lakefront condominium market on Geneva has steered clear of any foreclosure trouble so far. When you think about it, condominiums should have a higher default rate than single family homes, since the owners are paying hefty association fees on top of mortgage payments. The same is true with Geneva National and Abbey Springs, and yet the vacation home condo market here has shown remarkable strength and staved off any significant trouble so far.
I expect foreclosure filings to remain steady for the next 12-18 months, so if you’re a buyer and you like the idea of buying distressed properties at reduced prices, you still have plenty of time to act. Buying a foreclosure doesn’t always mean you’re getting a good deal (as the lakefront sale for $1.25MM has shown), but many times the values are tremendous. The foreclosure at Abbey Springs that is currently pending sale was a value, as are several of the properties in Geneva National that are bank owned. For now, the Lake Geneva real estate market has survived, and when compared with other vacation home markets nationwide, the survival is pretty impressive. Pretty, pretty, impressive. This weekend is going to be in the 60’s and sunny, and aside from an important Bears game that I mustn’t miss, I’m all yours.