I was doing some statistical research of single family home sales in the Traverse City, MI area. I was astonished at what I found. Home sales in the first quarter of 2010 were up 40% in number of units sold over the same time period in 2009. That's a huge increase, and it's not an anomoly. I have been saying for the last few months that I am sensing a renewing consumer confidence in northwestern Michigan. We're not out of the woods by any means yet, but one can feel a palpable excitement and level of confidence that's not been seen in 5 years here.
There is a black lining behind that silver cloud, however. Although the number of units sold has increased by 40%, the average sales price in Q1 of 2010 is 6.3% LOWER than Q1 of 2009. So, while more homes are selling, prices are still falling. Like I said, we are not out of the woods yet, but there are definite signs of optimism. Curiously, though, the median price actually increased a small amount over last year's first quarter. It's my opinion that this midpoint in the sales price continuum is a result of a shift in the lower end home sales. Here in Traverse City, we are seeing multiple offers on many, many homes under $125,000, which results in sales prices over asking price in many cases. It's actually not a buyer's market anymore, at least in the this price range.
What conclusions can we draw from this statistical analysis? Tread carefully, as statistics can be easily manipulated. But my take is:
Home prices under $125,000 in Grand Traverse County, MI are stable to increasing;
Home prices over $125,000 are still decreasing, but a renewing sense of confidence among consumers is creating s surge in home sales, as consumers believe the worst is behind us.
Of course, one quarter of increasing sales does not a trend make. It will be interesting to see how the 2nd and 3rd quarters shake out absent any buyer incentives through tax credits. What kind of sales variances are you experiencing? Let me here from you!
I am Chuck Gollay, Residential Realtor with Exit Realty Paramount in Traverse City, MI. Get a Move On!