Lake Geneva Market Update

At this point in the summer there are things that we all know. We know that the Harold Smith deal fell through, or at least it was under contract and now it’s not. We know that the lakefront market has added some inventory, as I suspected it would. We know that the smoke from the reckless Canadians has spoiled more than a couple of our otherwise sunny summer skies. We know the the stock market has been upwardly stable, and we know that rates have been stuck around 7%. We know that it’s the middle of July now and that it’s still very much fully summer, but that by August first summer begins to feel old and vulnerable. And by now we know how the market at Lake Geneva has performed and likely how it will continue to perform into the nearish future. There are things we’ve learned, and by we, I mean me, and I’m here to share those with you.

I listed two properties with lower price points over the past month, those being a condo in Abbey Springs in the upper $500s and a cottage in the Loch Vista Club in the upper $600s. These price points should be more sensitive to interest rates, as a majority of buyers in this range will be seeking financing. Yet in both of these examples, the properties sold very quickly after a rush of initial activity, proving my simple theory that a lack of inventory renders all other typical and historically important market dynamics impotent, at best. In this off-water market there are some offerings attempting to press the upper end of that market to new, elevated, levels, and this effort has, so far, failed. The market might be incredibly strong, but buyers for off-water homes still understand that off-water is still, well, off-water.

The lakefront market is absolutely humming along, with off-market transactions continuing in spite of some objection from parties who are not involved in the transactions. There’s an off market transaction on the south shore in the upper $4Ms, an another one on the north shore north of $15M. As you likely know by now, I closed an off market transaction in Loramoor two weeks ago at $14M, which is proof that buyers love new and high end, and if you add a pool then you’ve really got something. I listed the house in the 700 Club last week for $8.695M and quickly sold that over the weekend. I have another off-market sale pending in the mid $5s, and my wide Birches lakefront parcel is pending with a $5.195M ask. There’s another off-water lakefront on the south shore pending somewhere around $9M. I’ve been spoiled this year by this incredible run of activity, but don’t assume that means the market is uniformly blessing its inventory.

There is a listing on the north shore that’s dragging on the market, and a couple on the south shore as well. Sellers at all price points are likely failing to recognize that buyers are not frantic as they might have been from mid 2021 through mid 2022. I’ve personally had sellers unwilling to accept that comparable sales matter, and if a seller is trying to press a specific market segment to all time highs they would be wise to consider market context as they negotiate. Lakefront inventory in lesser locations, or in some diminished level of condition or finish, is in the process of sitting on market as buyers are not willing to quickly overpay simply for opportunity. I imagine sellers will react with price adjustments if their inventory goes unsold for another two or three weeks, but I hope buyers don’t fall for the Overton Window and assume a lower price point makes a property automatically worth considering. Some of the existing inventory is going to be overpriced no matter how many minor price adjustments are teased to the market, so if you’d like to know what I think of various properties you’d do well to choose me for your representation. But you already knew that, that’s why you’re reading.

I expect the lakefront market to continue in this current pattern where interesting or otherwise unique properties with appropriate prices sell rather quickly, even as obviously overpriced inventory sits stagnant. I have some new inventory coming to market in the near term, so as always, if you’d like to know what’s happening behind the scenes, I’m here to help.

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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