The big news for the summer of 2014 according to statistics compiled and released by the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS is Housing Inventory…or rather the lack of it as the community prepares to enter what is traditionally the most active segment of the selling season. According to the report, (which tracks data into May 2014) the amount of housing inventory available for sale in West Michigan has dropped to under 3 months of supply. (2.4 months to be exact based on Pending Sales) To give you perspective, a balanced market would have the housing supply at 6-7 months during this time of the year as many homeowners normally take advantage of the warmer weather and school closings to market their homes.
The issue of low inventory has dogged the market throughout most of 2014. New listings arriving on the West Michigan market have been about 12% lower than the pace of last year. (2014 – 6,592 new listings YTD vs 2013 – 7541 new listings). But in spite of the Inventory shortage, the Sales Volume for 2014 is on an upward trend! In fact, 2014 Sales Volumes for the real estate Board shows an increase of 4.1% for 2014 over last year and in May alone of this year, a 14.6 percent increase based on actual Closed Sales.
So what does this mean for the West Michigan Home Seller? Well, Average home prices have increased over 9% during the past month. Last year, the Average Home sold for $157,814 during the month of May. Today, the average price is $174,001. When ALL Sales including vacant land and multi-family units are added into the mix, the numbers drop a little, but irregardless, the average price of $167,728 is the highest price we’ve witnessed for almost a decade.
If you’re in the market for a home purchase, be prepared to aggressively pursue your goal. This is not a market for the faint-hearted when it comes to the prospect of bidding wars and making quick decisions. But, a quick decision does not mean you should make a rash decision when in comes to purchasing a home. Afterall, this is the biggest investment that most Americans will make. To be effective in a successful negotiation in this market, be prepared to do your research and know what’s for sale in the areas which interest you. As REALTORS, our company sets up client portals which provide instant notification when new listings which match the criteria for a home which might be a match shows up on the Multiple Listing Service. In addition, have all financing in order as a well qualified buyer wins hands down in this type of market.
If you’ve been considering placing your home on the market, your timing is impeccable! However, be forewarned that this market requires attention to detail in which market savvy buyers are not simply looking for a home, but for a well priced and well presented home. They’ll fight for that! On the flip side, homes which do not show well, continue to be penalized and sell for less even in a market as active as this one. If you’d like to know what you need to do to make sure your home attracts the best type of attention and price, give us a call for a free consultation at 616-791-0511.
*Trends Graphics provided courtesy of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS