Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

December 15, 2013

Real estate sales record in sight

TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse region’s residential real estate market is on pace for its best sales year since officials began to track sales data.

Newly released numbers from the Traverse Area Association of Realtors indicates 2,658 residential units sold through November in the region covering Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim and Kalkaska counties. The sales figure constitutes a 7.3 percent rise from 2,477 units sold the year prior and are nearly 41 percent higher than 2010 sales figures.

Kimberly Pontius, executive vice president of TAAR, said this year’s sales volume is record-setting.

“This will be the benchmark year,” Pontius said. “Inventory issues are starting to emerge even with waterfront and luxury properties because we are starting to deplete the inventory.”

The average selling price and median sale price of residential units are rising, too. TAAR statistics show since 2009 the average selling price in the Grand Traverse region jumped 25 percent, from $173,590 to $216,652. The median sale price jumped 23 percent during the same time frame.

The improved market is great news for real estate agents, sellers and others in the industry, but likely will lead to further tightening of an already constricted rental market, said Sarah Lucas, an affordable housing expert at the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.

“We already have a significant shortage of affordable homes available to our low- and moderate-income families,” Lucas said. “It’s just going to exacerbate the situation. It’s something we are hearing about from all population groups, including seniors, the disabled and people in poverty.”

Residential waterfront properties are selling strong also, especially around Torch, Skegemog and Elk lakes.

“The inventory is approximately half of what it was three years ago,” said Don Fedrigon Jr., a real estate agent with Re/Max of Elk Rapids.

“Affordable waterfront, everything from $300,000 to $600,000, is probably the market that is getting the most demand at this point,” Fedrigon said. “There’s high demand also for condos and historic homes in Traverse City. They are very much in demand due to convenience.”

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