PETOSKEY -- Realtors' sales of Northwest Michigan residential properties showed year-to-year gains during the second quarter of 2012, both in the number of units sold and the transaction values involved.
Multiple Listing Service data provided by the Emmet Association of Realtors showed 296 residential sales in the multi-county area during the April-through June period, up from the 256 recorded in the same timeframe during 2011.
For the area as a whole, average transaction prices were up year-to-year in every month of the second quarter. Median transaction values -- reflecting the midpoint on the list of prices, and a measure less vulnerable to skewing by a few large transactions -- stayed steady or increased in those months.
These statistics reflect sales in Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties, with a few sales handled by local Realtors in other nearby counties included in the tally as well.
CT Shuman, broker/owner at Real Estate One of Petoskey, said his agency's sales experience in the second quarter was similar to what area Realtors saw overall.
"We're up across the board in number of sales and average and median as well," he said.
Waterfront and other resort properties were one portion of the market in which the Real Estate One office noted strong activity in the second quarter, Shuman noted, with low- to mid-priced homes -- involving transaction prices $200,000 and lower -- also selling at a good pace.
Homes priced in the $200,000 to $500,000 range remained one of the area's weaker categories for sales in the second quarter, Shuman noted.
He said that sales category tends to appeal to buyers looking to move up in the market. In many cases, he said such buyers purchased at the market peak in the mid-2000s. With market values yet to recover to that peak after the late-2000s slowdown, he said buyers may not want to take a hit.
Pat Leavy, a partner at Kidd & Leavy Real Estate in Petoskey -- which focuses on lakefront and other upscale properties -- said his agency is on pace to exceed its 2011 sales volume of $88.4 million this year. He said resort areas such as Walloon Lake continue to be performing well in real estate sales, while interest in select categories of condominiums and vacant property increased somewhat as of late.
Trends in mortgage interest seem to be helping sales locally, Leavy noted, helping some buyers to obtain higher-value properties.
"Interest rates are so low," he said.
Leavy noted that inventories of available homes have tightened somewhat recently -- with a declining presence of foreclosed properties on the market likely a factor.
He and Shuman noted that it's becoming more common -- when pricing is right -- for sellers to encounter multiple offers to consider from prospective buyers.
Residential price trend
The following is a comparison of Northwest Michigan residential real estate transaction prices between June 2011 and June 2012:
Average price: $256,017
Median price: $140,000
Average price: $285,918
Median price $140,000
Prices are based on Multiple Listing Service data. They reflect transactions in Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties, as well as some transactions which local Realtors handled in other nearby counties.
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