TRAVERSE CITY — Residential real estate sales in the Grand Traverse region dropped nearly 7 percent during the first six months of the year, compared to the same time frame in 2013.
But local real estate agents said markets in Traverse City and surrounding areas remain very strong. Part of the drop in sales volume occurred because of high sales volume witnessed in 2013, when sales set an all-time record. A low inventory of residential properties exists this year, particularly at price levels below $200,000.
“Volume is down slightly because of an unusually low inventory,” said Jonathan Oltersdorf, a partner in Oltersdorf Realty LLC of Suttons Bay. “We are at almost a 10-year low in inventory and the latest numbers support that.”
The Traverse Area Association of Realtors released new statistics Wednesday that documented overall sales figures from January through June for the region encompassing Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Antrim and Kalkaska counties. The numbers show there were 1,196 residential properties sold during the first six months of the year, down from 1,283 for 2013.
But the numbers also show median and average sales prices rose. The median sales price for residential properties was at $168,000 for the first six months of the year, representing a 7 percent increase over the year prior. The average sales price also rose by 7 percent, from $204,519 for the first six months of 2013 to $219,529 for the same time frame of 2014.
“There continues to be a strong desire to be in downtown (Traverse City,)” said Molly Buttleman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Northland. “Anything under the $180,000 mark is selling pretty quickly.”
Buttleman said some of the lower sales volume numbers may be attributable to a long winter and cool spring that chilled the market.
“By the time people got the snow off their cars, it was June,” she said.
Oltersdorf said demand is particularly heavy for affordable homes under $150,000 and condominiums within 15 minutes driving distance of Traverse City.
“We have a huge inventory shortage in the condos,” Oltersdorf said, adding condominiums under $200,000 are in high demand. “We need a little bit more inventory.”