Realtors see local home sales recovery continuing
“We’re not totally out of the bad market since ‘09,” said Pat Leavy, a partner in Kidd & Leavy Real Estate in Petoskey. “All indications are, we’re slowly climbing out from the all-time low of ‘09.”
The Emmet Association of Realtors recently published Multiple Listing Service statistics showing residential real estate sales data for Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties in 2011, with a few sales handled by local Realtors in other nearby counties included in the tally as well.
For the area as a whole, 1,096 residential sales involving Realtors took place in 2011, a decrease of about 1 percent from the 1,108 transactions reported for 2010. The average price for one of these transactions grew from $208,501 in 2010 to $216,253 in 2011.
The area’s median home sales price — reflecting the midpoint on the list of prices, and a measure less vulnerable to skewing by a few large transactions — grew year-to-year from $117,500 to $125,500.
The growth in transaction values was especially strong in Emmet County. The Detroit Free Press recently reported that Emmet had the highest average home sale price in the state for 2011.
Charlevoix County, on the other hand, posted one of Michigan’s larger year-to-year drops in average prices. But Multiple Listing Service figures showed Charlevoix’s median transaction price increasing from $117,500 in 2010 to $122,750.
Several local Realtors agreed that purchases of second or vacation homes were an especially strong segment of the real estate market for 2011.
“We’ve seen a pretty dramatic increase in the high-end market (year to year),” said Bill Winslow, managing broker at Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors’ Petoskey office.
Buyers have continued to find numerous bargains available for upscale second homes when compared to pre-recession price trends.
“It’s all about price,” said Pat O’Brien, broker/owner at Pat O’Brien & Associates in Boyne City. “The emotion for buying second homes has gone out of it. Now, its about price.”
O’Brien attributed Emmet County’s strong growth in transaction values to some higher-price sales in upscale resort areas such as Bay Harbor and Walloon Lake.
Leavy believes many who are seeking a second or retirement home are drawn to the shopping, entertainment and health care options available in Petoskey, which helps strengthen Emmet County’s position in the market.
O’Brien also said he also noticed quite a few buyers looking to move up in the market for primary residences, as did Winslow.
From what Coldwell Banker Schmidt agents have been seeing, Winslow said in-town Petoskey homes have been one of the more in-demand parts of the market as of late. Leavy agreed, noting that numerous homes in the neighborhood immediately east of Petoskey’s downtown have been purchased and renovated. He said this can boost values for neighboring homes as well, and that it’s a hopeful sign for the local construction industry hit hard by the recession.
Winslow noted that the inventory of homes on the market has been thinning somewhat. Multiple Listing Service statistics for December 2011 supported this, noting 1,626 homes on the market area-wide compared to 1,778 a year earlier.
To Winslow, this trend suggests that properly priced homes tend to be selling more quickly, and that those lagging on the market are less competitively priced.
Several local Realtors said foreclosed properties’ downward influence on pricing trends seems to be on the decline, although some remained unsure whether the trend would continue.