Lake Geneva Market Update

You know I don’t care about Other Lakes. What Other Lakes? All of the Other Lakes. I think they’re terrible. Oh, your friend said this Other Lake is more quiet? I know that’s because it’s wretched and no one wants to be there. Your brother has a home on this Other Lake and he says he loves it? That’s like the people who love Dairy Queen Blizzards because they’ve never had a Concrete Mixer. These people aren’t wrong, they’re just uninformed. Imagine then my surprise this past week when I had some buyers asking about Other Lakes. I checked the inventory. Each lake, all of them, barely anything for sale. A few houses scattered about. Pending sales galore. 2020, you’ve been terrible for our souls but very good for our real estate markets. Other Lakes, you’ve never had it so good.

That’s the extent of my Other Lakes coverage, because Geneva Lake has enough to discuss right now. As of this morning there are 13 lakefront homes for sale, 14 if you count the Harvard Avenue listing in Glenwood Springs. Two of those 14 have shared frontage. If you want dedicated private frontage without any shared amenities, you have one option between $3-4MM with the remainder of our inventory consisting of homes priced between $4MM and $14MM. This is a nightmare scenario for buyers, but also a nightmare scenario for real estate brokers. We have oodles of buyers and nothing to sell them. Want to know why the Other Lakes are so hot? This is one of the reasons why.

In spite of this limited inventory, contracts are flying. There are two homes for sale on Lackey, both rumored to have had offers recently. If the small cottage on Lackey indeed sells you can expect to see your vacant lot dreams priced at $3MM or less go up in smoke. The condo house on Bonnie Brae is under contract ($1.75MM), my fantastical cottage listing in Glenwood Springs is pending sale ($1.89MM), and the Bluff Lane cabin is pending ($1.875MM). Above that mark, a home on Maytag just closed last week for a smidge over $3MM, and the spec home in Cedar Point is rumored to be closing this week (High $4MMs).

I’m having constant and continual showings on my upper bracket listings and off-water listings alike, as buyers pick through what little bits of inventory we can offer them. Buyers who prefer to hem and haw for a while before purchasing are being left behind, as buyers who pounce on anything new are winning the bids. After all, this is about winning and losing, right? In this context, winning means you’re spending the weekend on your boat, in this place, and losing means you’re spending this coming weekend at home, or worse yet, at some Other Lake, because you weren’t patient enough to wait out the Geneva market.

As for me, I currently have around $30MM worth of property under contract on behalf of buyers and sellers. Much of that is off-market, which leads me to my next thought. Expect the upper bracket on Geneva to continue its march toward off-market sales. The local MLS will hate this, but it’s just bound to happen. If you’re a seller and you want to sell but only at a certain price, and you don’t like the idea of hoards of mask-wearing buyers waltzing through your home, wouldn’t a direct deal be a better idea? And if you’re a buyer, would you prefer to fight it out with open market competition where you know you have to act quickly or miss the opportunity, or would you rather have a direct deal waiting for you? The answers to both questions are obvious, no matter what the local MLS wishes. Market forces are like that. They move whichever way they please, no matter who wishes for the movement to stop. Interested in Lake Geneva lakefront property? You should be working with me…

Above, my W4484 Basswood Drive listing. The best house on the lake, by a million miles. Currently scheduled to be shown three times this week…

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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