TRAVERSE CITY — Area home sales continued to surge in June.
Sales figures generated by the Traverse Area Association of Realtors showed 258 existing homes were sold last month in Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Antrim and Kalkaska counties. That's a 9.3 percent increase from May's numbers and up 19 percent from June 2011.
Local year-to-date sales through June totaled 1,140 homes, a 22 percent increase from last year and the highest sales volume in at least five years.
Jim Noller, an agent with the Real Estate One office in Traverse City, said he's put together a couple of "upper end" deals involving waterfront homes in recent weeks as properties in a wider price range start to move.
"I see that as a positive sign," Noller said. "Before, it was hard to get anybody to even look in that range."
Local sales numbers bettered national sales in June. National numbers released Thursday showed existing-home prices continued to show gains, but sales fell with tight supplies of affordable homes limiting first-time buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales declined 5.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million in June from an upwardly revised 4.62 million in May, but are 4.5 percent higher than the 4.18 million-unit level in June 2011.
But local home sale prices have been slower to rebound. The median home sale price for June in the five-county area totaled $145,000, down less than 1 percent from last month and off 3.3 percent from a year ago.
Sale prices are rising faster in the national housing market. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400 in June, up 7.9 percent from a year ago. That marks four back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier, which last occurred in February to May of 2006. June's gain was the strongest since February 2006 when the median price rose 8.7 percent from a year prior.
Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts — accounted for 25 percent of national June sales, unchanged from May but down from 30 percent in June 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in June, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.
"The distressed portion of the market will further diminish because the number of seriously delinquent mortgages has been falling," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 1.9 percent in June to a level of 1.02 million but are 14.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $157,600, up 8.4 percent from June 2011.
Noller said local housing supplies remain tight in some price ranges, but he's confident the strong sales numbers will continue through the summer.
"I think we're going to see an increase in activity," Noller said. "Prices are good and interest rates right now are phenomenal."
Wire services contributed to this report.
TRAVERSE CITY — Area home sales continued to surge in June.
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