Lake Geneva Market Update

Lake Geneva Market Update

Lake Geneva Market Update

This morning there are just 15 lakefront homes for sale on The Lake. It’s the last week of October and our colors have peaked. The boats are leaving. the piers being unbolted. My Superjet is one of the only vestiges of summer than remains, and even that watersled will soon make the icy journey from pier to ramp to garage, soon. The snow is coming, my dad says. There are only fifteen homes for sale and there are two ways to look at this. Both are good. Buyers, be happy. Sellers, same.

The key to any off-season is inventory. The key to in-season is the same. The key to all of Lake Geneva is inventory, which isn’t entirely different from any real estate market anywhere, but here, it seems to matter more. That’s because our market is so small. Powerful, but small. In times good, it’s a small market. In times bad, still small. It’s low volume always, and because of this low volume churn we are heavily dependent on inventory. In season, we need it to grease the bearings. In the off-season, we need less inventory to keep the market performing optimally. This year, we had the inventory when we needed it, and now that the seasons have changed and winter is knocking, we need less of it, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

Summer contracts are closing now. You’ve noticed that I’ve closed a few large deals of late, and you can expect the rest of the market to follow through with their sales, those pieces of property that narrowly slipped through my grasp. The REO on Lakeview just closed for $1.4MM, after first coming to market in the summer at $1.092MM. That sale surprises me, as there were two handfuls of offers and many of them, to my knowledge, were very, very strong. I figured this property would print $1.5MM or better, but that isn’t what happened, which is good, because I would have hated that sale at $1.5MM or better…

The entry level lakefront on Park is pending sale, as is the cottage collaboration on Walworth Avenue in Williams Bay. A home next to the Geneva Inn is under contract, as is one in the Geneva Manor. A new listing near the Lake Geneva Country Club is under contract in the high $3s, which his fine by me, at least if you ask me in public. And lastly, the spec home on 60′ in Williams Bay is under contract with an ask in the high $4s. I would expect that all but the spec home will close in 2019, which will be nice for the market, and nice for those agents.

But this isn’t about what’s happened, this is about what is going to happen from this day forward and through the end of 2019. The market will add some new inventory. It will. It always does. Who would list their home in November or December? Someone who would rather sell into a specific market condition rather than someone who would rather sell into a season. The market is low on inventory, with just 15 lakefront homes for sale (one is Clear Sky with shared frontage, one is Westgate with shared frontage, and one on the Trinke’s Lagoon), and there are still buyers actively searching. Does a smart seller wait to list next spring, as the conventional, tired wisdom would dictate? No.

While the new inventory will elicit an excited response, the aged inventory is, at this time of year, in some trouble. It’s time to pick around the edges at this aged inventory, time to make a few insulting offers. Time to see which sellers really feel like making 2019 the year they sell. Remember, just because inventory is aged that doesn’t make it bad. It might be aged because the seller has been stubborn and rejected offers that they realize only now they should have taken. Let’s work together to find these deals, and let’s make November a month of action. This is all possible assuming I survive the freezing, wet-suit-free, Superjet from pier to launch…

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