Local Realtors talk about rising sales, prices
By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer
After years of tough financial and housing news, the gears are turning again when it comes to the housing market, as sales and prices are rising.
The National Association of Realtors issued a press release late last month noting that April housing sales and prices were up across the country.
“It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high-affordability conditions,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun stated in the release. “A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices.
“The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas, it has become a seller’s market,” Yun stated.
According to the NAR release, home prices rose about 10 percent in April when compared with prices in April 2011. Similarly, the total number of home sales also grew by 10 percent since last year.
Locally, things seem to be on the mend, as well.
“The local real estate markets in the tri-county area are all experiencing a healthy recovery,” Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel CEO Kelly Sweeney said in an email. “Prices are rising in almost all markets in all price ranges. Inventories are low, (with a) 4.9-month supply compared to 6.3 months nationally.
“There is currently more demand than supply, and there are actually shortages of available homes for many markets,” he added. “Distressed properties, foreclosures, are also in short supply.”
According to statistics from the Michigan Association of Realtors, home sales in Macomb County increased 8.85 percent in April this year compared with last year and 1.54 percent in Oakland County for the same time frame.
Prices also rose, with increases of more than 12 percent in Macomb County and about 5.9 percent in Oakland County.
Sweeney is seeing major improvements in the housing market when looking at sales statistics for his company.
“Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel’s closed business through April of this year is up 41 (percent) over the same four months in 2011,” he said.
Sweeney attributes the positive changes partly to “rising employment and inward population migration.”
He also said that there has been a pent-up demand.
“Increased consumer confidence is bringing many local buyers into the market who have been sitting on the sidelines,” he said.
Also, people can still take advantage of low interest rates, and homes continue to be relatively affordable, which is drawing people out to the market, he said.
Joanna Darmanin, an associate broker with Century 21 Town & Country in Royal Oak, is seeing similar growth.
“The market has definitely been heating up for several months now,” she said in an email. “Every offer I have written lately has been in a multiple offer situation, and buyers are having to increase their price range to find a home with all of the amenities they are hoping for. Updated homes that are priced right are selling very quickly.
“Buyers can’t wait until the weekend to look at the new listings or they will be pending by the time they request a showing — this goes for traditional, private-owned properties, as well as the bank-owned and short-sale listings.”
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