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Bumper Crop of Sold Signs Planted Around the Chain in 2012

This past summer was hot and dry around the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. As a result, it was not a great year for farmers who planted corn in our area. But, the Chain O’ Lakes property sellers had a great year, as they sprouted a record number of Sold signs from the For Sale signs they’d planted.

As we close out the year, 22 Chain properties changed hands in 2012 which compares to only 8 properties last year that were able to blossom into a sale.

During the summer of 2011, the number of properties offered for sale peaked at 54. While the current number of Chain homes for sale change weekly, it has been holding around the lower to mid-thirties lately.
Does the lower number of homes for sale compared to a higher volume of sales mean we’ve switched from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market? Which leads to the next question: are prices of waterfront properties starting to rise? Answering these questions with a solid “no” or “yes” is premature, but here is some information, analysis of trends, and expert opinion to help you decipher our current neighborhood economic movements.
Of the houses that sold for under $400,000 on the Chain this year, 9 out of 10 sold under the tax bill “fair market value.” Of the few that sold over the tax bill “fair market value,” one was a property that sold to a neighbor without the use of a Realtor’s negotiation skills.

By comparison, in those Chain properties that sold for above $400,000, 7 out of 10 sold at or above tax bill “fair market value.” (If you are counting – these numbers do not add up to 22 sold as one property sold in Camp Cleghorn, so we cannot see an individual tax bill for that property).
At first glance, one might conclude that lower priced properties may have dropped way more in value than mid and higher price Chain properties. This may be true but, it could also be true that the assessors had the properties under $400,000 considerably over assessed. However, if you assume that the assessors were consistent in how they valued properties on the Chain, the lower valued properties are clearly selling for less than seller might have expected.

Prior to the recession, virtually all Chain properties sold above, and some way above, assessed value. I remember one township assessor saying that he raised the value of all Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes properties over 30% on a reassessment just prior to the recession. If prices are in fact down on Chain values as a result of the recession they are, in my opinion, down much more on the lower priced properties than they are on mid and higher value properties. However, I also think that the assessors had lower valued Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes properties over-assessed as the result of raising all Chain properties about the same percentage on a township wide reassessment.

Chain condo sales
There had not been a sale in the Wingspan condo development in many years. These condos all have the same floor plan and vary only based on interior improvements the owners have made over time. Each Wingspan condo has a $375,000 plus or minus a little – tax bill “fair market value.” A unit just sold at $275,000. Now the other Wingspan owners have a transaction to help them value their own units. And there is another Wingspan condo under a sales contract, so there will be more evidence as to the true fair market value of these units.
So, if we look at the condo sale and the other sales under $400,000 we can conclude that the lower end properties on the Chain have probably dropped in value more (percentage) than the middle and upper valued properties.

As the result of seeing the higher value properties on the Chain selling above the tax bill “fair market value” and some at way above this “fair market value,” we can safely conclude that the better properties on the Chain are holding their value very well.
Because there are still a fairly large number of properties for sale on the Chain, it is probably still a bit of a buyers’ market. However, sellers with higher quality properties – properties in great condition and with better water frontage – may be finding that they have an advantage and can hold more firmly in their price demands once the purchase negotiations begin.
Some folks who try to analyze Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes property sales look at the original listing price compared to the actual selling price when figuring weather values are going up or down. Personally, I don’t put much weight in in this type of analysis and here is why: Recently some sellers asked for my opinion regarding the value of their property. After looking at some comparable properties that recently sold, I concluded $750,000 would be the price a buyer would be willing to pay. The sellers then listed it for $1,250,000. It sold recently for below $800,000. So, did the buyer get a good deal or did the seller get the entire real value of the property?

This scenario is a good example of why buyers and sellers should work with an experienced waterfront property expert who is tracking and analyzing the data all the time. If you would like a complete list of all waterfront property transactions please go to www.WaupacaWaterFront.com and we will get you all the details very quickly. Or, just call or email Steve Huhta 920-889-9989 or Steve@Huhta.com

One thing that we can safely conclude from all the sign planting activity on the Chain this year is that buyers clearly have confidence in the fact that Chain properties will hold their value in the future. If this trend continues, sellers will certainly gain back some of their negotiating advantage as less properties are for sale. Values may not be rising on the Chain like they were each year prior to the recession, but they clearly are not going down on the middle and upper value range properties.
Again, 2012 was a very good year for Chain waterfront sellers looking to plant a sold sign in their yard. The question now is, will the bumper crop of sold signs around the Chain continue or will 2012 be remembered as just an unusually hot summer for sold sign growth?

We post tons of valuable Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes area news and information on our Facebook page – search Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes and look for Steve Huhta’s business page – click the like button so you will see all of our postings the moment they appear. Whenever a sale occurs on the Chain we post the data immediately on each of these sites. We welcome you to join the loop and understand what’s happening in Chain real estate.