Now that I’ve predictably sabotaged our lovely fall weather by writing about how much I love it, and how much longer it will last, let’s get up to speed on the market conditions at the lake. It’s the time of year where two distinct things happen. Well, three, if you count our impending snow. First things first, the market wraps up fall closings. Deals that were struck in September, while summer was still hanging on, and those deals that were bridged in October, when the colors were bright, those deals close now. The second thing that happens is nonchalant buyers take some time off from their search, which is why most nonchalant lookers make huge mistakes by sitting out the prime time.
The closings on the lakefront have been pretty consistent this fall. 2015 is going to end up being one of the best years (of all time) for lakefront sales. I fear this may skew the impression of the market as felt by sellers, but it’s a good thing no matter how you slice it. There have been ample deals in all segments, though the entry level market is still trapped in a bit of a funk. The good news for the broad market is that the activity has been comprised of both new inventory that has sold quickly, and aged inventory that finally fell to a suitable price and was absorbed.
Along the lines of new inventory, the large lakefront parcel at pier 514 came to market this summer and sold this week for $3.95MM. It was originally listed in the mid $4s, which is a price that made sense. The parcel was 186′ along the water and 3.7 acres deep, and it was deserving of the attention the market paid it. I should have sold it, as I had several parties interested, but alas, I wasn’t involved in the transaction. At $3.95MM that’s a reasonable sale price, and we can now expect that the home will be torn down in the coming years and replaced with some new ode to importance.
Other sales this month include my listing on Bonnie Brae- $2.65MM for 2.75 acres of Snake Road woods, and 100′ of dead level frontage. The parcel on Oakland sold, that of an unremarkable ranch with 100′ of elevated frontage, closed for $1.7MM. The entry level house in the Highlands that I wrote about earlier closed for $1.305MM, and three off water properties in Cedar Point (2) and Academy Estates (1) sold between $615k and $1.2MM. All good sales that make sense, excepting maybe one of the Cedar Point houses because I don’t love houses in the $600s that lack good views, slips, or anything unique. The small ranch in Cedar Point that feels like lakefront but isn’t is now under contract in the low $1s. I sold my Eastbank listing this week for $1.195MM, a fully furnished, highly polished gem with slip, view, and short walk to downtown.
Activity remains strong, as sellers entice buyers with slight price reductions to make sure they know the market is still open for business. One such maneuver occurred on Lackey Lane. A pretty Pickell house hit the market this summer for north of $5MM. The market, even in its sometimes irrational state, didn’t bite. $5MM+ is still rare air here, no matter if a few homes that had no business selling north of $5 did just that. The Lackey house dropped a few times, settling last week in the mid $4s. I brought in the buyer last weekend and that property is now pending sale. I sold it because the seller wanted to sell and a buyer knew that it didn’t matter what time of year it was, a good house is a good house and a good price is a good price. Thanksgiving season or not.
For the remainder of 2015 expect very little by way of new inventory, though that doesn’t mean there won’t be any. Expect buyer activity to slow, bearing in mind that motivated buyers will be active and will, most likely, secure a reward for being active while others sit out the season. If you could plan a time of year to be a successful buyer here, it wouldn’t be June. It wouldn’t be February. It would be right now.