If you pay attention to our lakefront market, you know there is a rather heated debate about the persistence of off market transactions. While many market participants decry the practice, you’ll see those same participants gladly engage in the off market process should the opportunity present itself. In spite of the occasional blowback, I remain a steadfast proponent of the practice. If a seller can sell at his or her terms, without subjecting the property to the open market, why wouldn’t they? The argument against this practice is that the open market very well might provide a higher price for that seller, and this is, of course, potentially true. But this isn’t a zero sum game, as a property exposed to the open market has no choice but to suffer valuation destruction if the property endures a lengthy tenure on the open market. Look to luxury real estate headlines the world around and you’ll see examples of open market valuation misses and their ultimate sales prices. Elevated market time does not come without a penalty, and that penalty is nearly always a diminishment in value. For the five year period just ended, we saw off market deals go from 0% in 2017-2018 to making up 58% of the total market volume in 2023. Much to the dismay of some, off market sales in Lake Geneva are here to stay, although I do suspect they’ll moderate in frequency in the coming years.
That said, if you want to know what’s happening behind the scenes, you should, by now, know who to call (me).