Lake Geneva Market Update

Sometimes, I like to see if I have more money than I had one year ago. It doesn’t matter when I engage this frustrating exercise, it’s just something that I feel as though I should do from time to time. Sometimes, the exercise puts me into a deep funk, when I realize that I am very good at treading water, but less capable at advancing directionally. Other times, I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that I have at least $15 more than I had during the same month of the prior year. Either way, whether satisfied or saddened, the exercise is always enlightening. Let’s be enlightened as to the state of the broad Lake Geneva vacation home market, shall we?

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I have, at current, plenty of lakefront listings. I have large ones and small ones, bland ones and shiny ones. I have great land for sale, regular land for sale, all sorts of things for sale. Because of this, I have a pretty nice gauge on the market activity for these lakefront homes. The activity, at this advancing date in the summer of 2015, feels very spotty to me. One weekend will be great, the next poor. One day showings will be set, anticipation will run high. The next day the showings will occur and the results will be mixed, though I would argue that for results to be mixed that would mean I’d get an offer or two. This has not been the recent case.

This is why we’ll look back over the first half of this year and consider how we’re doing relative to the same period last year. Snapshot broad measure shows we’ve sold 40 lakefront and lake access homes on or near Geneva Lake. That’s not bad, not at all. 2014 YTD had just 35 sales, so we’re advancing. 11 of the 2015 sales have been lakefront, and 11 of the remaining 29 lake access sales printed below $300k. In 2014 we had closed just 9 lakefront sales by this date, and of the remaining 26 lake access sales 14 of those closed under $300k. This makes sense, as buyers who are more sensitive to interest rates have been moving more quickly than the rest of the market.

For my involvement, last year I had sold three lakefront homes by now, and this year I’ve sold two. That doesn’t seem so bad, but it feels bad, so if you’d like to buy a handful of lakefront homes from me this year, would you mind hurrying up a bit? Thanks.

Geneva National has been the king of the head fake over recent years, sometimes rushing out of the gate only to fall off as the year grows old. This year, it sprinted out to a sizable lead. 38 homes and condominiums have traded this year, with three of those printing over $500k. 2014 saw just 22 YTD sales, with only one over $500k. This is a huge improvement for GN, but just as it might be easy to think that GN has completely recovered and things will be wonderful from now on, a huge piece (maybe the entirety?) of Foxwood, a failed enclave within GN on the far northwest corner, is heading to sheriff’s sale. Remember my GN advice? Don’t buy a condo in a sparsely built out enclave, because you’ll regret it. This advice holds is proven yet again with the Foxwood foreclosure.

Abbey Springs has long been a steady performer, and this year looks to be no different. YTD there have been eight sales per the MLS, contrasted with nine over the same days in 2014. This isn’t particularly terrific activity, but it’s plodding along just like Abbey Springs has a tendency to do. I have that beautiful home at 62 Saint Andrews on the market for $765k, so it’s obvious that we’ll have at least one sale in the coming months, assuming a buyer shows up in search of a great home for a great price in a great association.

The snapshot today proves the market has been consistent and that mostly we remain in a growth phase. Volume is increasing nicely, and prices in some segments are following suit. Mostly at this point in the year I’m on the lookout for buyers who want to pick away at the certain segments that are offering potential value. Those segments are mostly lakefront, but there are certain off-water homes that look ripe for the picking.

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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