Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

July 7, 2014

Global investors increasingly eye GT region

TRAVERSE CITY — Ken Schmidt sees huge growth potential for the Grand Traverse region real estate market when it comes to attracting international investors.

Schmidt, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors in Traverse City, recently returned from a meeting in Germany with other Coldwell Banker leaders from across the globe. One thing was clear during the meetings: International investors are intrigued with both the beauty and price points of real estate in northern Michigan compared to the cost of real estate elsewhere in the world.

"What I’m finding more and more is there is a real appetite for people outside of the United States to own real estate in this country," Schmidt said. "The perception, along with the reality, is that we are a politically stable country and, from a real estate value perspective, we are a good, solid investment."

Schmidt's observations are supported by the latest industry trends, interviews with real estate agents in northern Michigan, and national media reports. Total international sales of domestic properties in 2013 were placed at $68.2 billion by the National Association of Realtors. Five states made up 61 percent of reported purchases; Florida (23 percent), California (17 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Texas (9 percent) and New York (3 percent). CNBC reported in January that four of the top five cities targeted by global investors are in the United States.

Increasing investment in Houston real estate indicates investors are now looking outside traditional American investment havens New York and San Francisco for deals, according to the network.

Schmidt sees northern Michigan as a prime growth opportunity for those global investment dollars, if the industry can get the word out about the region's beauty and quality of life.

"They often think of Michigan as being purely industrial and manufacturing," Schmidt said. "What we have is somewhat of a hidden gem."

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