Finger Lakes Real Estate

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.

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