Friday, December 30, 2011

What's Ahead for Home Prices in 2012

The median home price in the U.S. has plunged nearly 40% in a little over five years, but the worst is definitely over: The market has finally wrung out the last excess valuations born of the housing bubble. Before you break out the party hats, note that this doesn't mean prices across the nation are poised to rebound anytime soon. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, a provider of real estate data and analytics, says the housing market is in a suspended state, with positive and negative factors offsetting one another. But he doesn't expect another free fall in prices, assuming things are left to work themselves out and there are no further shocks to the economy.

Houses haven't been this affordable since appliances came in harvest gold or avocado green. The benchmark of affordability -- the ratio of median home price to median family income -- has fallen to 2.6, below the historical ratio of 2.9, says Stiff. Another measure, the percentage of monthly family income consumed by a mortgage payment (principal and interest, using a mortgage rate of 4.1%), is 12% nationally, the lowest since 1971.

Theoretically, low rates should help push buyers to act. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to 3.94% in the first week of October 2011, according to Freddie Mac. The past couple of years predictions that rates would rise were based on the premise that the economy would improve, says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication. As long as the economy remains stagnant, unemployment remains high, and the housing market is in the toilet, rates will remain near historic lows, he says. At least for the first part of 2012, he adds, rates should hover between 4% and 5%.

Other positive signs: Existing home sales increased during the summer and early fall of 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors, after a deep slump following the expiration of the first-time home buyer tax credit. Although the inventory of homes on the market and in foreclosure remains high, a lull in home building over the past three years is gradually easing the surplus.

The lure of affordability and low mortgage rates hasn't increased buyer demand as much as one might expect. Some would-be buyers can't get a mortgage, given lenders stiffer requirements. Many more are hesitant to pull the trigger on a home purchase for fear that home prices will continue to fall or that their job prospects are uncertain. Although the recession has technically ended, the economy doesn't feel better to many.

The dark cloud of foreclosures still hangs over the housing market. The pace of foreclosures has slowed as lenders, loan servicers and regulators have sorted out paperwork and procedures in the wake of the robo-signing controversy that emerged a year ago. But RealtyTrac, which monitors the foreclosure market, says that foreclosure filings have begun to ramp back up.

Bank-owned foreclosures sell for an average discount of one-third off the per-square-foot price of conventional homes for sale, according to RealtyTrac. Buyers who want to snag a bargain on a distressed property will face competition from investors, and the biggest bargains may require a lot of work. Short sales, or homes sold with lenders permission for less than their owners owe on their mortgages, have also grown in number. Lenders take an average of 16 weeks to sign off on a short sale, so patience is imperative.

Full Article can be found by visiting

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 New Year Celebration in Grand Rapids, Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - There are plenty of events all around West Michigan this year for New Year's Eve.

One of the largest will be the 105.3 Hot FM Hot New Years Eve Party in downtown Grand Rapids.

This year the concert stage has been moved from Rosa Parks Circle to Monroe Avenue between Louis and Pearl streets.

Monroe Avenue will be closed between Louis St. and Pearl St. starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and will remain closed until around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The concert will get started around 6:30 p.m. and will last through the night.

This year acts include Downtown Fiction, The Ready Set, DJ Curtis Avison & DJ Justin Kung and The Romantics.

Already most downtown hotels are booked for the night.

According to their reservation website the JW, Holiday Inn, City Flats, and Courtyard are all booked New Year's Eve night.

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel's website does show rooms are still available but prices are around $280 including taxes.

The Radisson just outside of downtown Grand Rapids also has rooms available but only about 10 as of 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

Storm Team 8 said that temperatures should be in the upper 30's and it will be breezy.

Last year when the ball dropped in Grand Rapids temperatures were in the mid 50's.

There are several other events throughout West Michigan as well.

-- There will be fireworks at midnight over the harbor (Saugatuck Bay) in Saugatuck.

-- The Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury will have a balloon and beach ball drop at midnight, among a number of other events at the resort.

Visit for more information.

Hot New Year's Eve Party 2012

Lineup: The Romantics, The Ready Set, The Downtown Fiction
New: Stage is going to be set up on Monroe Ave between Pearl and Louis and ice skating will be open. Local band will open and will be chosen by the public.
The 2012 Hot New Year's Eve Party brought to you by Fifth Third Bank is almost here!
What's new this year? The Davenport University Concert Stage is moving from Rosa Parks Circle to Monroe Avenue, between Pearl Street and Louis Street.

The Bud Light Happy Hour Concert Line-up:

6:30pm - 105.3 HOT-FM West Michigan Band Contest Winner (check back for details)
7:15pm - Downtown Fiction
8:15pm - The Ready Set
9:30pm - DJ Curtis Avison & DJ Justin Kung
10:45pm - The Romantics
Midnight - New Year's Eve Ball Drop powered by Consumers Energy
12:02am - Encore performance by The Romantics

Warm your bones inside the large warming tent on Louis Street provided by Consumers Energy.

You will be able to get an up-close picture of your favorite artist courtesy of the J&H Family Stores Photo Lane. Just go to any of the West Michigan J&H Family Stores location after December 22 to pick up your photo lane wristband. Click here for a list of locations.
Thank you to all the sponsors who make this event possible: Fifth Third Bank, Bud Light, Consumers Energy, Davenport University, McDonald's, J&H Family Stores, Rockford Construction, Westmaas Electric, and Corporate Sound.

For more info visit

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NEW Price: 1276 Waukazoo Dr. Holland, MI. MLS# 11066012. Lake Macatawa Waterfront Now $979,000. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Real Estate Market Graphs

The graph below shows the median new house price vs. the median household income from 1967 to 2010.

The next graph shows the percentage difference between the median new home prices from 1987 to 1999.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NEW Price: 5894 South Shore Dr. Whitehall, MI. MLS# 11013755. White Lake Waterfront Now $799,900. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Happenings in Holland, MI

This weekend in Holland, MI there are many wonderful Christmas activities. You can visit Santa at Home & Company in Downtown Holland.

Stop by the Critter Barn to see some cute fuzzy animals in the live Nativity going on nightly until the new year. The cost is: $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. The Critter Barn is closed on Sundays,Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and December 26. Hours: M-Th: December 5-8 and December 12-15, 9-5:30pm Fridays/Saturdays: December 9/10 & 16/17 9am-8pm M-F: December 19-23 9am-8pm Tu-Th: December 27-29 9am-8pm

 “The Promise,” a holiday season tradition for many in the Lakeshore area, weaves the Christmas story together using scripture and Christmas music with classical and contemporary ballet.
"The Promise" Dates and Times Days:
Friday, December 16 • 7 pm
Saturday, December 17 • 2 pm and 7 pm
Sunday, December 18 • 2 pm and 7 pm
Tuesday, December 20 • 7 pm

Urban Herd Run on December 20 from 5:45 PM - 6:45 PM. Join the weekly run every Tuesday evening, beginning at Gazelle Sports. Explore Downtown Holland, make new friends, and get moving all at the same time

For more Holland area events click here

To purchase a home in this wonderful town view our listings at or call the Andrea Crossman Group at 616-355-6387
NEW Price: 1025 Rippling Brook Ct. Holland, MI. MLS# 10023772. Bay Meadows Condo Now $185,000. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Listing: 5707 Lakeshore Dr. West Olive, MI. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:
New Listing 1902 Young Rd. Hart, MI MLS#:11064076 Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Friday, December 9, 2011

NEW Price: 9395 Montgomery Blvd. Pentwater, MI. MLS# 11038167. Lake Michigan Waterfront now $500,000. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Price on Proposed Construction or Vacant Lot: 6425 Destin Ct. Saugatuck, MI. MLS# 11031415 Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:

Monday, December 5, 2011

NEW Price: 810 Pine Bay Ave. Holland, MI. MLS# 11028863. Lake Macatawa Waterfront now $559,000. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit:
NEW Listing: 15994 77th St. South Haven, MI. MLS# 1062946. Lake MI Waterfront. Call Andrea Crossman Group today for more information 616-355-6387 or visit: