Lakefront Condominium Update

I spent Sunday lakeside, mostly. It’s always good to spend a beautiful day by the water, assuming that water is 5400 acres worth and not in a kidney shape in your back yard (see Friday’s post), and yesterday was no exception. The newest generation swam and splashed their way through the piers and around the shallows, and I was reaffirmed in my belief that kids who swim off of piers are vastly superior swimmers to those who swim off beaches. My kids are incredible swimmers, and for that I’m thankful. While the kids splashed, the adults of my age talked work, golf, money, boats, money some more, boats a bit more, jobs some, and then money again. The old folks talked about whatever it is they were talking about, inside that porch, sitting in those white wicker rockers. It was a good day, but not one that was spent without observations.


The lake was busy yesterday. There were pleasure boats of all makes and models, a Riva that came in close to pick up some friends from a nearby pier. Streblows and Cobalts as far as the eye could see. But also some horrible rental boats, and pontoons. Too many pontoons. I saw a pontoon pulling some kids on a tube, right in the lane of traffic, which we all know to be stupid at best, highly dangerous at worst. The kids fell from the tube, and instead of that unwieldy floating living room making a wide turn back to pick them up, the “boat” just killed its outboard engine and waited for the kids to swim back to the tube. That tube was some 100′ away from the kids that were swimming in the water, and the forward momentum of the ‘toon kept pulling the tube further from the kids’ reach. All the while other boaters whizzed by the kids, the tube, the pontoon. I watched this unfold and thought that I should have some form of authority on this lake, to go out and commandeer the boat and pull it from the water before escorting both the highly stupid adults and their highly offensive boat to the state line. Alas, I have no such power.

But if I did, I’d also remove that absurd LINN FIRE boat from the lake. It’s becoming exactly what I knew it would become: A sideshow. That boat, no matter what anyone says, looks ridiculous. It’s ugly, hideously so, and instead of staying quietly out of view until it is needed (which will be nearly never), that boat spent Sunday afternoon ripping around the lake, and at one point I saw what I believe to be the spray from its water cannon. To put this in context, have you ever seen a fire truck just cruising around on a Sunday? Stopping once in a while to shoot some water aimlessly into the sky? Cranking the music while it rolls through a downtown city center where the drivers can gawk at the beautiful women? I’ve never seen it, until Sunday anyway. The fire boat turns this classy lake into a carnival scene, and I dislike carnivals for the obvious reasons. Linn should really put the adults in charge of this boat, and it should remain out of site until such a rare time arises that it is needed. Until then, I don’t want my Sunday view interrupted by the sight of a 40 mile an hour sprint by a cartoonish red metal boat.

Enough about that, let’s talk about condominiums. The lakefront condo market on Geneva, to be specific. The market is, unfortunately, not great. How badly I wish it would be, but just as I wished for that pontoon boat to leave my view alone, I am not able to wish things into being. There is, according to the MLS, one lakefront condo pending sale. That unit is my listing at Fontana Shores, and it’s a nice unit for $369k. I have other units for sale, including a two bedroom at the Fontana Club for $489k and a four bedroom at Vista Del Lago for $569k. Both of those sellers are ready to sell, both are ready to be bought absolutely right. Yet both still pine for a buyer. At least they have company in their pining, as not a single unit is under contract at either Bay Colony building, Vista Del Lago, Geneva Towers, Somerset, or Stone Manor. I have the ground floor anchor unit available there, and it’s marvelous beyond description, but all that really matters is that I haven’t sold it yet.

The lake access market in the $300k-$750k price range has had a very solid year. That price activity should carry over to the condo market, in theory, yet it obviously hasn’t. There are quality offerings, reasonably accurate prices, and some highly motivated sellers. This, in conjunction with high stock market indexes and low interest rates should allow for a growth year in the lakefront condo market. That isn’t the case, yet. Far from this being a negative post on the condo market, this is actually a positive post for buyers who are even loosely considering a lakefront condo purchase. There are deals to be had, and while the market in general is not brimming with value (entry level lakefront sure is), the lakefront condo market is poised to give up a few deals yet this summer.

Note I said “Yet this summer”. Yet implies that it’s not obvious that there’s still much time left. After all, yesterday was the longest day of the year, and it’s all downhill from here. Except that yesterday was also the first day of summer. Not the last, not the middle day, the first day. There is summer splayed out before us, and any motivated buyer could buy now and still spend all of August and September lakeside. I know, I know, why spend the summer here when you could spend it in your backyard? Why go through the trouble and expense of purchasing a place where your family and friends can spend time together in a different setting and in a different way? Well, because that sunset up there was taken last night, by a client of mine, from his pier. That sunset happens every day of the year, and that’s reason enough to gather some motivation.

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.

Leave a Comment