As 2021 comes to a close, we’re diving into the lakefront real estate market trends in the Finger Lakes Region. At a high level, it continues to thrive as a sellers’ market. Despite the increased returns owners are receiving for the lakefront properties, many are still unwilling to list as the pandemic continues.
As you can see from the stats below, despite the reduction in the number of listings, homes are selling 48% faster and at an average of 20% more compared to the already thriving seller’s market of 2020.
Throughout the year, listings have remained low and we didn’t see the typical spring spike in our market. It wasn’t until the third quarter that we saw a jump in lakefront listings. This is unusual since in most years, owners are taking advantage of that final summer in their lake home. But when they sold, they sold FAST! The delayed negotiations have placed time limits and increased competitiveness for buyers to act on homes, reducing the Average Days on Market by 48% across the Finger Lakes.
In 2021, buyers became more aggressive than ever to secure a lake home. We saw an increased number cash buyers purchasing homes above asking price, without contingencies and sometimes no inspections. On the flip side, as Forbes noted in their fall article, “over half of buyers (64%) think it is now a bad time to buy.” We have heard this from many of prospective buyers who are willing to wait. Despite their desire for a lake home, they don’t mind waiting for a less stressful buying experience and an increased feeling of security with their purchase. But for those who do want to buy now, their ability to find and secure a home (even remotely) has never been easier.
The Virtual Market
The virtual market continues to surge the urgency for buyers to act fast. In fact, we have had clients submit offers, close, and then turn their lake home into a rental – all without ever stepping foot in their new property.
As a seller, this means the importance of choosing a listing agent who has top-notch photography and offers virtual selling options. With the lakefront homes it is especially important to include photos of the lakefront, dock(s), driveways, parking, and drones. These visuals will help out-of-state buyers make more informed decisions. Virtual tours of the entire house will allow potential buyers to do their initial walk throughs of the home. Make sure that your realtor is comfortable with doing a virtual final walk through should the potential buyer be unable to get to the home.
Outlook for 2022
Our Lakefront Real Estate team is projecting the seller’s market to continue at least through the first half of 2022. With the lack of listings and surplus of buyers we hear from daily, the competition will continue. But this also opens opportunities, especially for the second homeowners along the lakes, to cash in on their homes.
Lakefront homeowners can either sell for a higher ROI, or they are able to take advantage of the unprecedented demand for lakefront rentals in the Region. As the leading property management company in the Finger Lakes, we have had two record breaking years in vacation rental bookings. Our reservations are already experiencing a 45% increase in bookings for 2022. We don’t see this trend slowing down as we’ve increased our repeat renters by 90% from 2020 to 2021. More and more homeowners are taking advantage of this trend and turning their second home into an investment home with the help of our local property management team.
Top Tips for Buying and Selling a Lake Home in 2022
Given the fast-paced nature of the lakefront market, one of the most important things will be to have a real estate team who is responsive, attentive to detail, and competitive.
First of all, if you’re ready to purchase a lake home you must have proof of funds if you are paying cash, or a pre-approval letter for a mortgage. Most realtors will now require this before even showing you a home. Then have an open, honest discussion with your agent. Make sure they know your maximum budget along with your comfort level with contingencies and waiving inspections.
Then, make sure they will be ready, at any time, to be your advocate to secure your home. Get an understanding of their knowledge of lake living, such as HOA’s, regulations, septic systems, renting to off-set costs, and the list of details of owning a lake home. Finally, be prepared to give up some of your “must have’s”, expand your search to other lakes, and understand that with the current market it may take longer to secure your new lake home.
For selling a lake home in 2022, having top exposure of your listing will be key. Many wait until the Spring market to list their home. But with this market, there is no need. Take advantage of the slower first quarter when listings are at their all time low. This will get your home seen by more prospective owners who are already anxious to secure a lake home for the next summer. Your agent should also be comfortable with making those virtual sales and have the technology to support it. Finally, when setting the market price, trust your agent. In this market, its ok to be aggressive, but understand that if your home doesn’t get much attention within the first week, those savvy buyers aren’t seeing the value of the price tag so you may need to adjust.
More questions? We’re here!
If you have any additional questions about buying or selling a lakefront home in the Finger Lakes, we’re here to help. Our Real Estate Team specializes in lakefront sales, with over 90% of our listings in the past 5 years being solely waterfront homes. You can reach us at 888-973-5590, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting us on our website.