One thing that can always be said about Grand Rapids, Michigan is that there’s a little of everything for everyone when it comes to the weather. Today, winter snow lovers awoke to find that they had been blessed by the arrival of an early winter wonderland as a thick blanket of snow cover transformed everything into pristine whiteness.
This frigid blast of air matches the latest trends which have spread some icy tentacles across the Grand Rapids Michigan real estate marketplace too. October was a weird month. Watching the lurching, frantic financial roller coaster ride on Wall Street was the main event, but across the nation, the housing market was also plunging into new territory.
This was certainly the case for Grand Rapids, Michigan where foreclosure numbers for October accelerated to account for just under 65% of the total number of sales for the month. This was an an 80% increase over the same period of time last year! Dollar volumes and total inventory also declined. Given the incredible sequence of events on the national stage in which the auto industry was requesting an emergency bailout and the specter of thousands of more jobs potentially on the wire, it is perhaps remarkable that the results were not more grim.
The fact remains that homes are still selling. In fact, during the period of ‘black October’, over 700 homes sold and closed successfully. Our office actually had one home receive 4 offers! Last month, I wrote a blog post about the steps that homeowners need to address if they intend to sell their homes in this market. The advise given is still pertinent!
It’s hard to predict exactly where this will end. Prior to the financial meltdown in October, I was encouraged by the drop in inventory levels and the increase in home sales even if they were distress sales as this indicated that we were going through the mounds of excess inventory which had increased our absorption rates to nearly a year.
There are a lot of IF’s. IF automobile industry does NOT collapse entirely and send another huge wave of homes onto the market, we will have time to catch our breath and continue the recovery which was just underway. IF new green jobs are introduced to take advantage of existing Michigan infrastructure and natural resources, the additional jobs will begin to nurse the flagging economy into a more stable status.
The thing about all the IF’s is that they are entirely out of the control of the average person. So, what’s to be done? Well, take care of the stuff you CAN take care of.
When winter visits the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, prudent individuals take cover and venture outside well protected. This advise should also be heeded in shaky economic times. Debt should be entered into very cautiously. This is not the time to over spend on credit cards or to increase credit card debt. House payments are a priority.
If you’re considering a purchase, take advantage of the extensive inventory and $7,500 tax credit if you’re a new home buyer to purchase a good deal which requires no more than 30% of your gross income to finance. Plan on putting money down. Save for a down payment and spare yourself the grief of continually living on the edge. If you’d like to sell your home, be realistic. Over-pricing in this market will cost you much more than pricing your home competitively.
What do I mean, well let’s spell it out clearly…a year ago, the over-pricing penalty was about 25%, today it’s closer to 40%. That’s a huge penalty to swallow for not responding to current market conditions and not worth it when you think of the fact that simply pricing your home correctly would have saved you time AND money.
To end on a good note, let me leave you with this number, 10,250+. That’s the number (give or take) of current listings on the market. While still a hefty figure given somewhat anemic sales, it’s 11% lower than the inventory that was on the market a year ago. So, if you’d like to sell, there’s somewhat less competition. If you’re interested in exploring your real estate selling or investment options further, please give Audu Real Estate a call. We believe that adequate preparation and education can assist our clients in making prudent choices.