Given the vast array of properties available in the Lake Geneva real estate market, it should come as no surprise that there are, at most times, dead segments. Most of these segments will align by price level, while others will present themselves on an association specific level. For instance, Cedar Point Park can be dead, while Country Club Estates can be thriving. When this happens it is only strange because the two properties possess similar lakerights and operate in similar price ranges. But today, on a broader level, there is a very dead price point. Two of them actually, but today we're only concerned about one.
Today there are four lake access homes pending sale priced under $300k. These pending listings, two in Country Club Estates, one on Sybil Lane, and the fourth in the Loch Vista Club, are all fine homes. The Sybil Lane one will appear to most to be the best value (listed in the low $200k range), but I prefer to think that my buyer who is under contract to buy the home on Lower Loch Vista is the winner of this brand of value. These four homes in this entry level market are all going to be nice sales, at nice prices, and they will all make perfect sense.
Travel over $300k in our lake access market and the scene is strikingly different. Priced from $300k to $600k there are 39 available homes, ranging from small cottages to relatively fancy homes, and not a single one of them shows a pending contract this morning. This is a dead spot, and with not one pending sale (per MLS) amongst 39 contenders, this is troublesome. So what gives? What's the reason behind this sluggish segment of our lake access market? If only I really knew.
This segment should be doing well right now. The lakefront is humming, the low end entry level is moving, and there have been spurts of activity in the $600k to $900k lake access range. This $300k to $600k portion should be benefiting from stable stock markets, low interest rates, and a bountiful supply of inventory. And what of that inventory? It's quite impressive and varied. There are homes with slips, homes with views, homes with remarkable and worthy proximity to the water, and other homes still that rest away from the lake and offer some higher end finishes. There is something for everyone, or in this immediate case, something for no one.
If the market were lacking quality inventory, I could see a slowdown in this middle segment of our lake access market. If there were no unique properties, I would understand. But this isn't the case. There are classic cottages in rarefied locations (Belvidere Park, Harvard Club), there are homes in wonderful associations (Loch Vista Club, Glenwood Springs), and there are homes with ridiculous proximity to the water (Summer Haven, Cedar Point), homes with slips (Lake Geneva Club, Glenwood Springs) yet these homes are failing to attract buyers with any regularity. I cannot fully understand why.
Beyond trying to understand why this segment is slow, we should consider that this momentary softness provides buyers with a negotiating edge. Buyers, pay attention. There are deals in this segment, all sorts of them. There are list prices on many that do little to inspire motivation, but this is why the concept of offering low just to test the waters is so valuable right now. If you're afraid to jump in at the asking price, I don't blame you one bit. I would be too. But if you're willing to lob a few offers around and see who wants to play ball, this is the time to do so.
It's not the time to do so in the same way that every Realtor everywhere says now is the time to buy, no matter what the time is. This is different than that generic, annoying approach. Now is the time to do so because there is inventory, there are low interest rates, there is sluggish market behavior, and there is another Lake Geneva summer barreling at you in a mere 34 days. The stars are aligning for buyers in this segment, if only they'd look up to notice.