Lake Geneva Lakefront Update

Lake Geneva Lakefront Update


Whatever this last weekend was supposed to be- spring, winter, or some hideous spawn of the two- it is thankfully over. This week, whether it finds us warm or cold or somewhere in between, will, too, be over soon enough. Then this coming weekend, if it is warm and rainy or cold and snowy, it won’t matter much, because it will soon be in our rear view mirrors, and we never check those anyway. These are not days that anyone especially enjoys, these blended days of wintry spring, but instead they are days that we must trudge through and when they are completed, or at least mostly completed, we put big red crosses through the dates on a calendar. We are counting down to something, all right, and these days are not the ones we’re waiting for, they are simply days that stand in the way of where we have been and where we’d like to soon be. Have I mentioned lately that I hate early spring?

The lakefront market on Geneva doesn’t hate spring, though I shudder to think how much more active the market could be if the weather was properly springish, if 50 weren’t some myth but an actual common occurrence. The market is active, as I’ve said many, many times this year, and now, some more proof. A lakefront on Sauk Trail in Fontana closed Friday for $3.8MM. The buyer is of some esteem, so expect to recognize the face around the lake this summer. At $3.8MM it’s a fine sale, though no particular win for either side. The house was nice, but nice in a peak times sort of way. Large on luxury but perhaps not the sort of style that graces the Luxe magazines with 2014 dates on their covers.

At $3.8MM, it’s a very nice house, but the 100′ of frontage is steep, cliff like, and the lot shallow, with limited parking compared to a typical $4MM lakefront home. If you wanted to come to the lake to throw a baseball with your kids on a Saturday morning, that’s not really possible here, as yard is not something this property does well. But, to each his or her own, and so the property is now sold. The deal printed as cash, so we should all be happy to welcome another strong owner to these shores. I can’t help but think this property sold in large part due to limited lakefront inventory. If nothing new is available in a price range, buyers are forced to revisit properties that they ruled out earlier for one reason or many others. I think that’s likely the case with this sale, but again, a sale is a sale is a sale, and we like them all.

This closing brings the lakefront sales for 2014 to five, and while I didn’t represent buyer or seller in this most recent sale, I did represent one of the parties in three of the prior four, so that’s good. There is another property pending on the lakefront today, that of a large parcel on Southland, and I have the buyer represented on that deal as well. A deal in the Birches on a $2.15MM home that had been listed as pending sale for many months is no longer in this category, so that deal must have fallen through. That, I think, is a good thing. The Birches lakefront is rife with inventory, and has seen the bulk of the lakefront there either sell or be offered for sale over the past three years. View that as you may. The new lakefront there for $1.499MM is not under contract yet, but we can expect that it will be very soon.

I’ve been harping on a need for lakefront inventory for quite some time now, and the promise of January inventory was broken by February first. February inventory didn’t come true either, and now March is proceeding quickly with nothing much exciting. I have some inventory coming to market in the coming weeks, but it is all big inventory, at the top of our market. While that inventory is needed, it isn’t exciting to 90% of the lakefront buyers currently looking for something, for anything. The weather may have played a role in keeping new inventory from market, but now that the weather is slowly improving, we should see this inventory, if it is to come at all. There will be some inventory that failed to sell in 2013 coming back to market, but that’s more regurgitated inventory, and that rarely excites.

I’m beginning to think that perhaps the 2014 inventory just isn’t going to come. Maybe this will be a light volume year, limited not by buyer enthusiasm but by limited inventory. Or maybe the limited inventory will still churn out activity, as buyers revisit what they once thought unworkable. It just happened at the $3.8MM sale in Fontana, so perhaps it’ll be happening more and more. That scenario plays out well for sellers, but buyers are probably not excited about the possibility of biting into last year’s leftovers.

(Above, a sneak peak at an upper bracket listing that I’ll bring to market in May.)

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