PETOSKEY -- The first six months of 2013 brought year-to-year gains for Northwest Michigan's residential real estate market, both in the number of properties sold and the average value per transaction.
"There's a lot of upbeat feeling out there right now," said Pat O'Brien, broker/owner at the Pat O'Brien & Associates real estate office in Boyne City. "I hope it continues."
Richard Lobenherz, a Charlevoix-based co-owner of Prudential Preferred Properties Network, noted that figures for area agencies show several favorable trends for the market.
"Number of sales up, average price up, units on the market down -- those are all excellent signs that we are seeing something of a recovery from the past few years," he said.
Multiple Listing Service statistics reported by the Emmet Association of Realtors showed Realtors conducting 638 residential transactions area-wide from January through June this year, up from 547 during that period in 2012.
The average price for these residential properties stood at $232,630 during the six-month period in 2013, compared to the year-ago figure of $202,508.
The median transaction price -- reflecting the midpoint on the list of prices, and a measure less vulnerable to skewing by a few large transactions -- was $142,250 for the January-through-June period this year, up from $120,000.
These figures include residential sales in Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties, with a few sales handled by local Realtors in other nearby counties included in the tally as well.
Real Estate One of Petoskey was one agency seeing sales gains year-to-year.
"I can tell you that we are up this year over last year at this time," broker/owner CT Shuman said.
Shuman said sales of homes in the $200,000 range recently have been strong for the office, Shuman said, as are in-town Petoskey properties and those located close to town.
O'Brien and his staff have seen significant demand for homes in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range as of late. He said his agency has seen strong interest in out-of-town properties and second homes, and that the market for residential condominiums is on the rebound.
In recent quarters, Realtors have seen inventories of available homes tending to tighten locally.
Shuman said the recent upward creep in mortgage interest rates may be one factor limiting the supply of available homes, since this can restrict purchasing power when moving to another property. He added that values for many properties haven't yet rebounded to the highs seen before the economic downturn of the late 2000s, which keeps some homeowners out of a selling position.
While tight inventories can influence transaction prices upward, O'Brien noted that sellers still must consider market realities when deciding their asking price.
"Sellers still need to be cautious to not price themselves out," he said.
Shuman said he's recently seen quite a few potential buyers checking out homes, and he expects a strong sales pace to continue at least through the summer and fall.
O'Brien, too, senses good potential for the local market in the next several months, noting that his office has double the number of pending offers from buyers than it did a year ago. After looking for second homes earlier in the warm season, he said it's common for buyers to move ahead with a purchase in late summer or early fall.
A look at Northwest Michigan residential real estate sales figures from June 2013, compared to those from a year earlier
Measure June 2013 June 2012
Number of sales 136 99
Average price $296,610 $285,918
Median price $162,000 $140,000
Source: Multiple Listing Service figures for Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties, with a few sales handled by local Realtors in other nearby counties included in the tally as well
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