Lakefront Housing Market – A Review of 2020 and Forecasting for 2021

Just as the market was about to boom in the Spring of 2020, the novel coronavirus swept the world and closed its doors. For the lakefront real estate market in the Finger Lakes, this interruption was brief and bounced back into a record-breaking year with some of the most unusual trends we have ever seen.

2020 Finger Lakes Lakefront Real Estate Report – January through December

2020 Lakefront Market Report for the Finger Lakes Region, NY
Statistics above are provided by Finger Lakes Premier Properties Real Estate Department.

Let’s Talk About Growth

We started 2020 discussing the seller’s market and how it would be a stellar year for those looking to cash in on their lake homes. Turns out that was a massive understatement! Across the lakes the average sale price shot up 18.33% and the Average Days on Market (ADM) reducing by 11.29%. When you look at specific lakes, you’ll notice the localities with the lower average price show the most success year over year. Part of that could be attributed to those who originally purchased the home as an investment were quick to cash in and reap the benefits. But you’ll notice, overall, there were not nearly as many transactions in a year when the conditions were so perfect to sell.

The lack of lakefront inventory in 2020 did not surprise any realtor. Those who had their slice of Finger Lakes paradise were not easily persuaded. With the sudden switch to work remotely, and many companies being slow to return to the office, homeowners and their families had the added luxury of finally being able to utilize their second home for longer periods of time. Additionally, if they were not enjoying it themselves, it was easy to find someone who would.

In 2020, the demand for vacation rentals across the nation exceeded that of traditional hotels. As the leading property management company across the Finger Lakes we can attest that our region has thrived as a popular family destination in this unprecedented year. Our full-circle of property services allows homeowners both near and far to enjoy the financial benefits of renting, without the endless hassle of self-managing.

Competing for Lakefront

It’s no secret that the past couple of years have been a seller’s market both on and off the lakes. But throw in a global pandemic, and the demand for personal and private shoreline in an established tourism destination raises the stakes, and the offers. In fact, our real estate team saw a 167% increase during last 8 months of 2020 of qualified buyer inquiries specifically looking for lakefront homes.

Not only were there more buyers, but they were more competitive. Typically, lakefront buyers are willing to wait for the perfect home that checks all of their boxes. This past year they were willing to sacrifice some of their must-haves in order to secure a home for them and their families to simply have a destination of their own.  And fast.

As you can see from the market report above, across the region homes sold 11% faster than the previous year. Some lakes, such as Keuka Lake, have consistently been in high demand selling almost 74% faster than in 2019. Thanks to technological advances including virtual tours and video-chat walk throughs, the playing field was leveled as it was no longer a matter of who could visit the home first, but who could get a competitive offer in and accepted. These trends are continuing to push through the first months of 2021 as available listings remain low and the pandemic prolongs families and professionals to return to “normal” life.

Forecasts for 2021

The lakefront real estate market in 2021 is going to continue to be a seller’s market. The first quarter is usually a slow period for selling homes, but if we continue at the pace we are seeing, it is nearly standstill with no new inventory.

As mortgage rates continue to stay low buyers are willing to push their budgets a little more. Many buyers will consider renting as another opportunity to offset the cost of buying. However, until the economy is more stable and (hopefully) the pandemic subsides, buyers are still not going to be willing to overpay for any home, even lakefront.  

Homeowners who are ready to sell will see multiple offers, if priced right. Typically, an owner will know they’ve priced too high if their home doesn’t move within the first couple weeks of listing. That timeframe with the increased demand will be dwindled down to just days. In 2020, our real estate team was able to sell lake homes 23% faster than the regional average. We have developed a successful process to match the right buyers to new listings, easing the property transfer for both parties.

Want more information?

Whether your considering buying or selling a Finger Lakes waterfront home in 2021, our real estate team is here to answer any questions you may have. Our 28 years of lakefront experience combined with our focus solely on lake living, we are best suited to provide you an easy experience to achieve your real estate goals this year.

Contact us today at 855-442-7285 or email Sales@FLPPlake.com.

Start start looking for your next lake home, click here to browse all lakefront listings in the Finger Lakes.

Lakefront Real Estate Market Trends

Finger Lakes, NY | Quarter 3, 2020

The year of 2020 is one of extremes. And for the Finger Lakes’ lakefront real estate market, this may be a massive understatement. Never before have we seen the demand, the number of quick and uncommon sales, and the pure rush for homeowners to sell now to take full advantage of the seller’s market.

real estate trends in the Finger Lakes NY

Highest Demand in History

For everyone, the first quarter going into the second was rough as the state shutdown to avoid massive spread of the pandemic. Then on April 1, 2020, the Empire State Development Agency deemed specific real estate brokerage activities essential. The real estate market was officially open and our theoretical doors swung wide with floods of prospective buyers looking for lakefront homes.

In fact, year-to-date our lakefront sales team has seen a 167% increase in buyer inquiries specifically looking for lakefront property in the Finger Lakes. That is in addition to the buyer leads we have from our 27 years of managing lakefront properties.

This interest in Finger Lakes waterfront homes was evident by more than the pure volume of calls to our real estate team. The lakefront real estate section of FingerLakesPremierProperties.com, the top listing site for regional lakefront homes, has seen a 61% increase in pageviews when compared to 2019. Specific landing pages show impressive interest such as Keuka Lake Real Estate with an 82% increase in page views, Owasco Lake with a 138% increase, and our featured lakefront listings page up 273% over 2019.

Inquiries to Sales in Quarter Two

These inquiries quickly led to sales in the second quarter. The Finger Lakes Region saw a year-over-year 40% increase in lakefront sales volume, 13% increase in the number of lake homes sold, and an impressive 23% increase in the average price all in quarter two of 2020. As the summer moved in, so did more lakefront renters who expressed urgent interest in owning a piece of Finger Lakes shoreline.

Quarter 3 Lakefront Market Trends – A Frenzy of Eager Buyers

As we look at the Quarter 3 Lakefront Real Estate Market Report below, there are trends left untold by these stats.

Quarter 3 Finger Lakes Lakefront Real Estate Market Report
January 1 – September 30, 2020

While it is encouraging to see the sales volume for the region as a whole increase by 15%, it is surprising to see the Average Days on Market also increase. In the third quarter, our Lakefront Real Estate Team experienced a frenzy of eager buyers. A single new listing would have multiple showings in the first day, cash offers, buyers putting in offers sight unseen, and a range of atypical offers resulting in new listings selling within days. So how is it that the Average Days on Market increased? Likely due to inventory that has been on the market, even since 2019, selling. Everything is selling. Our Real Estate Department at point had 100% of the lakefront listings sold. It’s just a matter of finding the right buyer for the right house.

Our Lakefront Seller’s Specialist, Dave Luchessi, remarked how he “continue[s] to write site-unseen offers because the buyers are afraid to lose out on the competition. These offers come with significant risks but to get the property the buyers are willing to take it. The buyers are there, however, the inventory is not and it has not increased as it normally would have this time of year. “

The reduction in the number of lakefront homes sold this year does not surprise our Real Estate team. With COVID-19, use of Finger Lakes waterfront homes was at an all time high and homeowners were less willing to sell their piece of shoreline. This year owners were more likely to use the property for self-quarantine, extended family vacations, or to take advantage of the vacation rental demand. In fact, our vacation rental management program has seen a 64% increase in rental demand and a 39% increase in nights booked year to date compared to 2019.

Additionally, as we see from the average sale price, appreciation rates are up year over year. Our Real Estate team is seeing lakefront homeowners taking advantage of the market and receiving top dollar for the value of their home. With mortgage rates also at a historic low, buyers feel more motivated than ever to make a competitive offer within their price range. This year our real estate team has exceeded expectations for both parties by easing the process, resulting in quick, successful sales for both the buyer and seller.

Our years of experience combined with the influx of leads this year gives us the ideal captive audience for each listing that comes to the market. Between our Seller and Buyers services, we are able to quickly identify the right buyer the day a lake home is listing. The result, our real estate department has sold new listings 23% faster than the regional market average. In fact, in quarter three we sold 70% of our listings sold in 3 weeks or less, many within days of hitting the market, whereas the Finger Lakes market average was only able to sell 43% within the same timeframe.

Outlook for the Finger Lakes Real Estate Market

Typically, this time year we start to see the Real Estate market slow down. Summer is behind us, lake homes are being closed for the winter months, and neither buying nor selling are immediate goals to achieve. However, 2020 is the exception.

We continue to list lake homes and sell them within days with our proven processes for the buyer and seller. In October, 4 of the 5 homes we listed sold within the first day of going on the market. With each new listing we receive more inquiries from buyers who are ready now to purchase in order to have a home secured for 2021. We do not see this slowing down this year, and likely into the spring of next year. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that nothing can be predicted.

If you are considering your options for either buying or selling a lakefront home in the Finger Lakes, don’t wait to contact our Real Estate Team. By working with our Buyer’s Specialist, it increases your opportunities to be matched to your ideal lakefront home when it comes available. For those wondering if now is the right time to sell, work with our Seller’s Specialist to receive a complimentary market analysis and discuss how we can help you achieve your real estate goals.

To reach our Lakefront Real Estate Team, either call 833-502-8901 Option 2 or email sales@flpplake.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Lakefront Real Estate Update for June, 2020

The first quarter of 2020 seems like a blur as COVID-19 took an immediate hit on every industry, including the Finger Lakes lakefront real estate market. What was surprising, however, was it did not stop. In fact, across the region there were more lake homes sold this quarter than in 2019.

Lakefront Real Estate Market Report for Quarter 1, 2020


Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes for January through March of 2020. Statistics aggregated from MLS.

The number of new listings decreased dramatically. This allowed additional exposure for homes already listed or any homeowner willing to take the innovative virtual solutions to list their home. This resulted in a slight increase in the number of total sales as we ended the first quarter.

Typically, lakefront buyers for our region are willing to wait for the perfect home at the right price. This, combined with the average time online increasing dramatically through March, meant that prospective buyers were searching more and ready to commit as soon as listings came online. The real estate section of our site, FLPPlake.com, saw a 50% increase in traffic year-over-year from March through May. We continue to see online trends with new listings and virtual tours being the most sought-out content.

The circumstances around the untypical spring real estate boom proved to be lucrative for sellers. With the decrease in the number of listings available and the favorable interest rates for buyers, average sale prices increased across the region. We are continuing to see this in the second quarter as there are still a limited number of listing.

Lakefront Sales Update for June, 2020

The demand continues to swell the quarter for the Finger Lakes lakefront market. The unstable stock market turned the attention of investors to safer options, including real estate. These investors are keeping their eye on the Finger Lakes. Our region has been highlighted as a more affordable waterfront market. Additionally, the Finger Lakes continues to thrive as a picturesque travel destination with easy access to multiple urban markets. And these investors are not just looking for a second home to shelter with their family. They see the surge in the vacation rental industry as a safer choice for accommodations and vision a new lake home investment as a sure-win situation. Our rental management team confirms this trend with demand for vacation rentals being the highest we’ve seen in our 27 years of lakefront property management.

Finger Lakes Premier Properties sold this Seneca Lakefront home in just 1 day in May!

As of June 1, 2020, Finger Lakes real estate services have fully reopened with New York State Governor Cuomo’s phased plan. Our agents are now able to resume in-person home showings with responsible social distancing. We historically have and will continue to provide innovative virtual services to out of town buyers. The biggest challenge for our team is showing homes before they sell.

For more information on current lakefront trends on any of the Finger Lakes, contact our sales team today. They are ready to help you achieve your real estate goals this year by taking advantage of this unique market opportunity.

To contact our sales team either call 888-599-4810 or email sales@flpplake.com.

2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Each quarter, our sales specialists analyze real estate trends across the region’s lakefront market. We compile our findings into a complimentary report to make your decision to buy or sell an easy and informed one.

Here is our analysis of the 2019 lakefront real estate market:


Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.

Overview

The lakefront market experienced smaller gains in 2019, compared to 2018. This can be attributed to the average sale price for lakefront homes continuing to tick up, while the number of sales decrease.

Lakefront homeowners are holding onto properties longer, riding the wave of YOY value increases and the popularity of operating short-term rentals. Investors continue to enter the market, looking for homes not only for personal use, but for profit. Our region has seen a 25% increase in vacation rentals over the last few years.

Challenges

On lakes where the number of homes sold dropped 50%, we saw a correlating drop in total sales volume. Honeoye and Owasco Lakes were challenged by algal blooms and low inventory this year, but homes on both lakes continue to sell faster. Lower price points could transition these lakes deeper into a market that favors buyers in 2020.

HAB’s and Red Tide continue to challenge the nation’s lake and oceanfront real estate markets. Educating new homeowners on lake friendly living practices will be a focus in 2020, to ensure the health and safety of our waters for years to come.

lakefront market real estate agent

Successes

Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes saw the greatest increase in overall sales volume last year. High-end buyers are attracted to Canandaigua Lake for its luxury amenities and close proximity to the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. We expect the upward trend to continue in 2020, as transportation options, like seaplane routes, lakefront development, and amenities continue to expand.

Seneca Lake enjoyed a 33% boost in sales volume last year, with the highest overall gain in average sale price and greatest overall drop in days on market. Seneca is the largest of the Finger Lakes, and arguably the lake with the most opportunity. While Geneva revitalizes its downtown and gains national attention for its dining and tourism, Watkins Glen continues to yield some of the region’s largest events. Seneca Lake home prices still come in below the regional average, but with an 18% price gain last year, don’t expect the lakefront bargains to last. 2020 is the year to buy on Seneca!

Seneca Lake Real Estate

Market Trends to Watch

Mortgage rates are projected to continue trending downward in 2020. This is particularly great news for those looking to purchase a vacation home or income property. With low inventory and no pressure from the fed, lakefront buyers have the luxury of waiting for the right house to come on the market.

In general, the heat is off, with bidding wars at a 10 year low across the nation, but a limited inventory of starter homes is pushing first-time buyers into new territory. Rather than pour their assets into a primary residence, first-time buyers are investing in vacation homes in less expensive destinations, like the Finger Lakes. These homes have the potential to pay for themselves with vacation rental income or allow buyers to save up for their next investment.

Family saving for real estate

Focused on Lakefront in 2020

While the lakefront market flattened out in 2019, the Finger Lakes Premier Properties team experienced a 58% increase in lakefront sales. Our team led purchasing sales on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and continues to be the leading real estate team servicing the entire region. Lakefront sales accounted for 95% of our 2019 sales, higher than any other real estate team in the Finger Lakes.

Our 2020 focus is lakefront real estate. If yours is too, call us today (888) 441-0079.

Lakefront Real Estate Report: Q3 Highlights

How did the lakefront real estate market perform in the third quarter of 2019? Our team of highly knowledgeable lakefront sales specialists have compiled a complimentary analysis of market trends for the Finger Lakes to explain.

Lakefront Real Estate Report for Q3 2019
Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in Q3 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.
  • Average days on market continue to drop on all lakes as the region transitions into a strong buyers market.
  • Lakefront inventory is still low, leading to a decrease in homes sold and total sales volume overall.
  • Low interest rates are feeding more buyers into the lakefront market.
  • Interest in short-term renting and investment homes is fueling demand for lakefront property.

What Our Agents See in the Lakefront Market

“We’ve seen an increase in out-of-state clients looking for lakefront homes in the area, many from PA. This is a great time of year to buy, especially for investors. Close on your home by 2020 and make updates to see a higher ROI in time to open your calendar for peak season.”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

“It’s a good time to list because of the number of buyers in the lakefront market. With interest rates continuing to drop, more buyers are comfortable with investing in a second or third home, staying in the market longer.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

Top Performing Lakefront Markets

Canandaigua Lake

Total sales volume on Canandaigua Lake jumped almost 50% year over year. Lakefront property is in demand, with average sale price up 11% and homes spending an average of 10 days less on market. Our agents note that appropriately priced Canandaigua Lake homes have moved quickly this quarter.

Seneca Lake

We continue to see opportunity in the Seneca Lakefront market! With a near 50% increase in total sales volume, led by the FLPP team, and consistent growth in the number of homes for sale and average sales price, the largest Finger Lake shows no signs of slowing down going into Q4.


Download your copy of the full Q3 Lakefront Real Estate Report here.


For more information about buying or selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, call our real estate team today! 833-915-1259

Lakefront Real Estate Report: Q2 Highlights

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the region’s lakefront specialists for sales across the Finger Lakes. Our team of highly knowledgeable, experienced, and successful Buyer and Seller Specialists provide a complimentary analysis of lakefront market trends each quarter.

Analysis of lakefront homes sold on seven of the Finger Lakes, statics aggregated from MLS.
  • Fewer homes on the market are leading to fewer homes sold
  • Lakefront homes are selling faster than last year
  • We are seeing more action in the <$500,000 market, which is driving down the average sales price

Our real estate team has succeeded in holding onto the top spot as the lakefront sales market leaders in the Finger Lakes through Q2. Our closest competitor’s lakefront transactions accounted for less than 45% of their total sales volume, compared to ours at over 90%. Our team captured 25% of all business on Seneca Lake and leads the market for purchasing sales on Cayuga Lake.

Lakefront Real Estate Trends

Our lakefront sales specialists comment on market conditions from Q2 and trends to look for on the lakes in Q3.

Overall, we’re seeing a neutral market, where neither the buyer or seller has an advantage. With a smaller inventory, serious buyers are acting fast on securing their ideal lakefront home. However, they are much more price conscious, which is why the Seneca and Cayuga Lake markets performed really well through Q2. We expect to see continued growth on those lakes.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services/ Associate Broker

“We see things quiet down during the last stretch of Q2 and most of Q3, while homeowners are using their lake houses and collecting peak season rent, but we expect the market to pick up this fall on the lakes. Buyers are increasingly price driven and conscious of how high their taxes will be. This makes short-term renting appealing.”

Dave Lucchesi, Lakefront Buyer Specialist/ Associate Broker

Download the printable Q2 Lakefront Real Estate Report here:

Q1 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Advise for lakefront buying and selling in the Finger Lakes

It’s here! Download our full report to see how the lakefront real estate market performed during the first quarter of 2019.

What you need to know

It continues to be a seller’s market. A decrease in the number of homes sold and an increase overall in average sale price means that supply is not meeting lakefront buyer demand. Lakefront homes on average are also spending less time on the market – our average is only 8.6 days!

If you’re on the fence about listing your lakefront home, spring is the perfect time to test the waters. Contact our Real Estate Team today for a free assessment of your home! (844) 464-0949

First Quarter 2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report | Finger Lakes

Our Real Estate Experts explain:

“Every lake that we work is down in overall volume of sales, many of the lakes by very large volumes. Less homes are selling on the lake, because less homes are on the market. The average sale price on the majority of the lakes is way up as well, while the days on market continue to go down. Very strong seller’s market right now.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

“It’s all about being prepared. First, make sure you have your pre-approval letter ready. Then, get on our buyers list, receive our emails, and make sure you’re ready to move quickly on new listings. When we know exactly what you’re looking for, we can be agile – even preview houses before they hit the market. There’s a lot we can do to get you into your lake house for summer!”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

Exciting Announcement!

After tabulating the first quarter lakefront real estate sales on the Finger Lakes, it looks like Finger Lakes Premier Properties ranks #1 in total sales volume! Not only were our sales 5.4% higher than our second place competitor, but we earned the first place spot for lakefront purchasing sales on both Canandaigua and Cayuga Lake.

Q3 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the region’s lakefront specialists for sales across the region. Our team of highly knowledgeable, experienced, and successful Buyer and Seller Specialists provide a complimentary analysis of lakefront market trends each quarter.


The real estate market continues to be strong in the Finger Lakes Region. Lakes such as Cayuga and Seneca, where homes are selling faster and at a higher average price.

Here at Finger Lakes Premier Properties we have seen an increase in quick sales this year. For example, two listings on the west side of Seneca Lake, Anthony Beach Road and Arrowhead Beach Road, sold in less than 2 weeks. The reason? It is because the number of homes available on these lakes is down, while the interest is up.  While Keuka Lake has had very little change over the last year, it remains to be  a strong seller’s market, especially in the price range between $300,000 and $600,000. We have also had homes on both East and West Lake Roads sell in under the 2 weeks.

Canandaigua Lake remains steady year-over-year, maintaining its position as one of the highest priced lakes to purchase a new home. Whereas Honeoye and Conesus Lakes, even though they are located right next to Canandaigua Lake, offer buyers the best pricing with average sale prices between $230,000 and $275,000. These Lakes offer first time lake buyers and those looking for a bargain, great buying opportunities.
Overall, each of the lakes have their own character and offer buyers different specifities, which makes using a lakefront specialist even more vital for your purchase. Interest rates will not stay this low forever! Take advantage of the unique buying opportunities and low interest rates and find the right lakefront home for your family.

Check out our latest real estate blog post:  Buying and Selling in the Finger Lakes this Fall, for real estate tips from our team of lakefront experts.

For more information about buying and selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, contact our Real Estate team today by calling (888) 465-5175.

Lakefront Real Estate Sales Report: Quarter 2 Highlights

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the region’s lakefront specialists for sales across the region. Our team of highly knowledgeable, experienced, and successful Buyer and Seller Specialists provide a complimentary analysis of lakefront market trends each quarter.


As we enter the second half of 2017, the real estate market stays strong. Annually, the Finger Lakes has generated over $30 million, with FLPP accounting for 23% of these total sales. Below is the Quarter 2 Lakefront Sales Report. If you have more questions, contact our sales team today by calling 888-599-4810.

Analysis of lakefront homes sold on seven of the Finger Lakes, statics aggregated from MLS.

As shown in the chart above, the number of sales decreased 26% as compared to last year, increasing buyer competition. Homes are in high demand on Seneca and Keuka Lake, with multiple offers coming in on homes in the mid-price range of $300,000 to $600,000.

The decrease in average sale price along most lakes indicates that this year’s buyers are looking at the affordability of lakefront homes. Buyers are aware of the current market and are quick to make an offer on homes priced fairly. This could be attributed to the ADM on Conesus and Honeoye Lakes dropping by at least 40% this year. On the other hand, homes priced at $600,000 and above, tend to sit a bit longer.

The increased advertising and media attention on vacation rentals, along with the addition of Uber and Lyft to the Finger Lakes, is creating more demand for both vacation experiences in these homes as well as ownership of these lakefront residences. Listing your home as early as mid-August will put you ahead of the game but still allow you to enjoy the lake through the end of this summer. With the market strong and interest rates low, this is prime time for buying and selling lakefront homes.

For more information about buying or selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, contact our Buyer Specialists, Justin Hausner, or our Sales Manager, Cynthia Emerling by calling 888-599-4810 or email Sales@FLPPlake.com.

 

Lakefront Real Estate Trends

Finger Lakes Premier Properties has over 20 years of lakefront property management experience. Part of our team includes highly specialized real estate agents who focus solely on lakefront sales. As the leading source of lakefront sales information in the Finger Lakes, we happily provide quarterly and annual sales reports.

To view our newest real estate listing, visit the “Our Lakefront Listings” section of our website.

Our Real Estate team saw a 100% increase in sales in 2016. Their expertise in lakefront sales and attention to regional trends is what has resulted in a 100% NPS scores with their clients.

The extreme summer heat in 2016 did not detour real estate sales across the Finger Lakes. If anything, it must have enticed more lakefront sales because sales of lakefront homes increased 20% over 2015.

As you can see from the table below, although the number of sales increased significantly, the average sale price and the number of days on the market remained fairly constant between 2015 and 2016.

The smaller of the Finger Lakes saw the most growth in sales in 2016, most notably Honeoye Lake.  This lake saw a 60% increase in the number of homes sold, along with the average price increasing 18%. Keuka and Conesus Lakes experienced a 40% increase in the number of homes sold.

If you are considering buying or selling lakefront property in 2017, contact our sales team today and get a jump on the spring market. Call us at 877-217-0338 or email us at Sales@FLPPlake.com.