Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

November 12, 2013

GT real estate looking strong

TRAVERSE CITY — For the last two years the collective housing market for the Grand Traverse region has been very good.

All five counties, Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau have posted significant improvement. This improvement has not only been through the absorption of inventory, including foreclosure and short sale properties, but also the return of housing stock value.

Since January of 2012 the region has experienced historic double-digit sales volume increases and that double-digit performance — which set a new record sales level for the region at the end of 2012 — continued into 2013. Current projections indicate that 2013 shall be on par or perhaps a bit ahead of the 2012 record.

All of the contributing factors that have powered this market will likely continue into the first quarter of 2014. However, performance models show a bit of a cooling off period here in the last quarter of 2013. This activity is consistent with some of the national trends and could be tied to several indicators prevalent to all real estate markets.

Some reasons for the postponement by consumers considering the purchase of a home are the availability of credit, interest rate upward creep and inventory limitations. However several noted economists that are watching the industry are saying that inventory shortage issues began abating back in April of 2013, interest rates are still low but will likely not go lower, and banks are beginning to relax the credit markets.

These trends are fairly consistent within the Grand Traverse market area and will likely help fuel a stabilizing housing market as the region begins the 2014 cycle.

Activities that will impact the market are many but when interviewed many regional brokers echo the fact that the region’s housing market has leveled off just a bit allowing for pricing and inventory to stabilize.

While the GDP for the nation remains flat so too does inflation and while the economy is stagnate, consumer confidence continues to increase. Any investment in the region in the form of new jobs coming into the region or expansion of current business entities could tip the scale and regional real estate sales and pricing could escalate.

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