South Shore Club Update

South Shore Club Update

Ideal Impressions Photography

I spent a portion of my weekend at the South Shore Club. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lounging poolside. Nor was I preparing lunch for friends and family at the clubhouse Viking grill. When I didn’t finish making lunch, I also didn’t take one of the eight association boats out for a cruise. I didn’t call the concierge to reserve the 27′ Cobalt for a 6 pm cruise on Sunday night, and I most certainly didn’t ask her to put 6 Diet Cokes and 2 bottles of water in the boat for me either. When I didn’t finish with the boat ride, I didn’t throw the keys to the waiting pier help, and I didn’t sit down in my golf cart for a ride back to the house that I don’t own there. Instead, I showed the same house three times to three different customers, in hopes that on some weekend later this summer they’ll be able to turn my didn’ts into their dids.

Ah, the South Shore Club. An enigma in the market since its inception, continually contorting and adjusting to find its place in our broader lakefront vacation home market at Lake Geneva. Originally, the prices were too high for most to entertain. The vacant parcels were very expensive, and relative to the price of private frontage, the development didn’t make much sense to me. As time went on and prices for the vacant land slipped, the development found more favor, and at this point in time, only seven of the forty lots are still owned by the developing group. Pricing has softened considerably, even though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the asking prices. Here’s all you need to know about the pricing of the vacant land at the South Shore Club- the last lot to sell on the open market in the SSC was lot 21. This lot was listed at $1.39MM, and closed at $799k. That lot sold for roughly 58% of the asking prices. In other words, if you’re considering the South Shore Club, it doesn’t make much sense to pay attention to the list prices.

The housing in the South Shore Club continues to stagnate on the open market. Nothing has sold on the open market since 2008, and there are currently 7 homes on the open market. The prices continue to fall, and we’re getting close to a point where some of the properties will sell for prices that the properties couldn’t be replicated for- even at the newly discounted lot sales prices. Most interesting in the South Shore Club is the emergence of a bank owned property there. This house is listed in the low $2MM’s, and there’s reason to believe that this property might sell at a price that was previously unheard of at the South Shore Club. This is the house I was showing over the weekend. And this is the house that anyone who has been picking at the SSC for years should most seriously consider. This is also a house that will sell over the next couple weeks, and if I am wrong, I’ll be sure to sheepishly point that fault out on this very blog.

A quick note- the dues in the South Shore Club are not cheap. They are $1650 per month, per lot. That’s $19,800 per year for association fees. Now, before you get all angry about it and slam your computer screen shut, consider the numbers a little closer. There is essentially no landscaping required for individual homeowners here, so you’re saving as much as $2500 per season on this expense. There is also no reason to buy or maintain a boat in this association. These savings are considerable. The SSC has beautiful boats, and the use of those boats is included in your association fees. You don’t even have to pay for gas. Some of the boats they have are boats that would cost in excess of $100k. Look at it like this. If you rent a slip at the Abbey or elsewhere, you’ll spend around $4000 for your slip, maybe more, maybe less. Your in/out service through the marina for your winterizing and maintenance of the boat will probably be around $700. Your winter storage will cost around $1000. Your gas, assuming you burn through a tank of gas every two weeks at $4.99 per marina gallon will cost you around $2000 for the season. If you’re a light boater, let’s say it’s $1000 for the season. Those costs, before you purchase the boat, add up to around $6700 per year. And that’s before something breaks. Those landscaping and boating savings amount to more than $9000 annually, which is the equivalent of almost 6 months of association dues. That’s before you consider the snow plowing and use of the clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis court, playground, putting green, and most importantly- the bocce ball court.

While I didn’t spend the weekend at the South Shore Club living a life of high style on the shores of Geneva Lake, you most certainly could. If you’d like to turn my didn’ts into your dids, please consider emailing me and then driving up this week for your private tour of this amazing, and increasingly affordable, property.

South Shore Club Update

When this year was young, the South Shore Club was gilded both in copper and slate and stone, but also shrouded in a fairly heavy cloak of uncertainty. In January, changes were made. New representation was brought in (hi), some prices were cut and others were reaffirmed. The price structure was as it had been, but with a few minor adjustments to the built inventory and a 30% reduction on the few remaining unsold developer lots (six in total). The South Shore Club was positioned for a new run at the same market, and in January of this year it was only time that would tell whether or not these changes would bring any meaningful yield.

To have built in the Club over recent years meant to display a fairly significant dose of faith. Faith that the market would reward your efforts, and faith that the same efforts would provide enough of a lifestyle boost to justify the expense. But it also meant faith in the market surrounding you, because the resale drought at the South Shore Club that existed from 2008 through the beginning of 2012 was intense enough to make this summer drought look downright oceanic. The SSC segment was a member of the broader Geneva Lake lakefront real estate market, but as this year began it was very unclear how exactly it fit in.

And then, without much warning, there was a sale. A great big sale. My sale in May of a beautiful home right down on the lakefront end of East Lakeside Lane for $3.575MM set a price point that the rest of the SSC cannot help but honor. This sale, combined with the sale of an REO property in 2010 at the very back of the association near the tennis courts for $1.75MM set a very broad range that the SSC operates within. The sale up front set the high end, the sale in the back set the low end, and it was becoming clear where everyone in between figured into the equation.

With the sale up front at $3.575MM, it was clear that all but one spectacular home in the club would likely sell at that number or below. That one exception, by the way, isn’t on the market. Instead, it’s being used as these homes were intended- each and every weekend by a family who chooses to summer lakeside, in style. With the front sale and the back sale, we needed another sale to further cement the scope of value. And in the spring, another sale did just that. This one was a private sale, near the swimming pool but not so close to is as to be damaged by the proximity, and at $2.5MM this private sale provided the third leg to our SSC platform. $3.575MM up front, $1.75MM in the back, and $2.5MM near the middle. A market that entered 2012 with no clear direction and no clear indication of value had, as of the end of May, found very solid footing.

If that price structure hasn’t been convincing enough, enter now the fourth substantive sale. Over the weekend, I re


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