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.

Why List Your Lakefront Home in Winter

The weather outside is frightful, so no one’s buying a home this time of the year, right? Think again. In the last 60 days, 35 lakefront homes went under contract in the region, including 33% of our available inventory. The market is trying to stay warm just like the rest of us, but lakefront homes are in short supply.

While winter may seem like a more challenging time to sell, the same rules don’t always apply for homes in a vacation destination. There are plenty of reasons to buy in winter, but here are some of the pros to selling your lakefront home in the off-season:

Higher priced homes see more action.

According to our listing agent, Cynthia Emerling, homes priced above $500,000 are seeing more interest. “The higher priced market starts to pick up in November, when people start evaluating their finances from the year and are motivated to take advantage of tax breaks.” Listing ahead of or during this surge of high-end buyer activity that your home sits on the market less time. “I tell high-end listings to hold out for this time of year, regardless of when they listed. This is when their buyer is in the market,” says Emerling.

Your home stays ready-to-show.

Selling in the summertime has its drawbacks. While it may be the time of year when your lakefront and landscaping look their best, it’s also the time when your lake house sees the most use. With family, friends, and guests in and out all summer, it can be difficult to ensure your home is ready-to-show when it needs to be. To maintain a staged, clean appearance, list your lakefront home in winter. As an added bonus, a light blanket of snow will cover any less-desirable features outside the home.

You’ll get the most out of your last summer on the lake.

There’s only a short window of summer weather here in the Finger Lakes. Showings can make it more difficult to schedule and enjoy your time at the lake. If your home is a vacation rental, constant showings can interfere with the guest experience. Guests who book in the peak season pay a premium for their stay and would prefer not to be interrupted by your agent.

Investment buyers have extra motivation.

On the vacation rental side, we see higher volumes of booking activity around the holidays. It makes sense – the whole family is gathered in one area, making it easy to plan their next vacation. Investment buyers don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to fill their calendars ahead of the new year. This is a huge motivator for short-term rental owners to buy ahead of the new year.


Even if you decide to hold off on listing until after the holidays, don’t wait too long. We see the spring market ramp up long before winter’s end. Lakefront buyers want to close have plenty of time to get their new home ready for summer.

Ready to list your lakefront home this winter? Start here!

Our real estate team will provide an assessment of your lakefront home and a rental analysis, free of charge, to attract buyers to the income potential of your listing. Call our lakefront listing experts today (888) 976-4981

Lack of Inventory Pushing Listing Prices Higher, Says CoreLogic’s Chief Economist

Great news sellers.

As indicated by CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, Dr. Frank Nothaft, home prices have appreciated by nearly 7% year-over-year from December 2016 to December 2017. (CoreLogic Home Price Index).

This marks the fifth month in a row with at least a 6.9% upsurge, says Nothaft, who provides insight to the substantial increase:

“The number of homes for sale has remained very low. Job growth lowered the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent by year’s end, the lowest level in 17 years. Rising income and consumer confidence has increased the number of prospective homebuyers. The net result of rising demand and limited for-sale inventory is a continued appreciation in home prices.”

This is a thrilling update for owners who have gained nearly $15,000 in equity, on average, for their homes over the last year (CoreLogic equity statistics). Owners on the fence whether or not to sell will be delighted to see that they will have loftier profit margins to support a down payment on their dream home.

On the flip side, as we near the busy spring season for Finger Lakes real estate, there is still confidence for buyers as mortgage rates remain low compared to recent periods. The study also predicts that home price appreciation will slow slightly, rising by 4.3% by this time next year.

So the bottom line: If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, schedule a meeting with a local real estate agency like Finger Lakes Premier Properties who can explain exactly what’s going on in your neighborhood and discuss your options… today!

Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) has the largest selection of Finger Lakes vacation rentals and lakefront homes for sale in the region. Our properties are all waterfront homes and range from cozy cottages and cabins to luxury vacation homes for sale and rent.

In 2017, FLPP flattened the industry average of days listed on market by 80%. To make ensure all our client’s needs are consistently met in this fashion, FLPP has recently brought on a Marketing Real Estate Coordinator. The resource will help the real estate team capture new homes with aerial footage and apply 3D virtual technology, getting more people to tour homes and sell faster.

The resources are here, the market is your oyster. What are you waiting for?

 

Real Estate Success Converts to a New Vacation Rental

By: Zakary Klick

Penn Yan, NY – A local property recently sold by the Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) Real Estate department will be re-entering the market as a Vacation Rental this summer.

FLPP was able to list, market and sell this striking Seneca Lake home, their second sale this year on Shingle Point Road. The new homeowners of this lakeside cottage have worked with FLPP with purchasing and now listing the home as a vacation rental.

The twofold package of offering vacation rental management and real estate sales to potential buyers has become an obvious partnership for many investment buyers in the Finger Lakes.

In fact, after the transaction this past fall, FLPP employees have been working full tilt to ready the property for this summer’s peak season – obtaining quality photos and drone footage, producing a virtual tour, and priming the maintenance and housekeeping staff for the new addition. The company is happy to share that the property can now be viewed on YouTube via drone, virtually toured here, and reserved on their webpage here.

Cynthia Emerling, the Real Estate Sales Manager credited with the Shingle Point property sale, has been a licensed Associate Broker since 1993. She started with Finger Lakes Premier Properties in 2012, and has brought her passion for quality service with her. The department received 100% satisfaction ratings from their clients and customers in 2016, and has been working to ensure that same repute can be delivered as they reach the end of the 2017 marking period.

If you are interested in more information on owning a lakefront home for personal use or as an investment, contact FLPP at 888-599-4810, or email them at sales@FLPPlake.com.