Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Offers offers everywhere, but not enough...

...Inventory to keep up with demand! Wow, never have I seen a market like this in my real estate career. I am currently working with several buyers in the Holland/Zeeland real estate market looking to find a home, and although they want nice homes, they aren't looking for the Taj Mahal at a bargain price. Just a modest place that is fairly priced. Doesn't seem like too big of a task, right? Well, think again. The last 3 homes I have just TRIED to show to these buyers have had a total of 23 offers on them, and each of the properties settled well above asking price after a bidding war ensued. All I wanted to do was schedule an appointment for the homes, but never even got a chance, as they all sold the 1st day listed. Now, it's not like this in every price point or area, but the fact it is happening in any market in our area is really good news for the health of our West Michigan real estate market. So, if you are thinking of buying a home, don't wait...they're going fast. If you're thinking of selling, now may be the time...we never know when the activity will die down. Check out the latest Listings Here

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Timberline Acres Sales Statistics

Timberline acres is a wonderful place to buy a home--with beautifully manicured landscaping, spectacular well built homes, and a fantastic North side location, it's no wonder families gravitate to this Holland neighborhood. There was a time, however, when sales were tough in Timberline Acres, and it wasn't unusual to see 15 homes on the market. Times have changed a bit as our economy has stabilized, and homes in Timberline are once again a hot commodity; but the low inventory in recent months has slowed the sales pace the neighborhood is capable of achieving. Click on link to see Timberline Acres Active Listings In 2012 there were 9 homes sold in Timberline Acres East at an average sale price of $301,067, took an average of 236 days to sell, at an average price per square foot of $120.38. In 2013 there were only 5 homes sold in the neighborhood (a 45% decrease) at an average sale price of $327,800 (a 9% increase), took 80 days of marketing to sell (a 66% decrease), and average price per square foot was $131.54 for the sold homes. Currently there are only 3 homes listed in Timberline Acres East; and 3 in Timberline Acres West, all of which are new construction. As nicer weather approaches and buyers start house hunting again, inventory will be an issue unless we see more homes come on the market.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5 Things Every Lake Macatawa Buyer Should Consider

Buying a home along Lake Macatawa can be a very exciting time in one's life.  The lakefront lifestyle can mean BBQing out by the water with friends and family, shipping off for a lake cruise from your own dock, and of course, those amazing sunsets.  If you are one of those lucky folks preparing to take the plunge and start your lake living memories, here are some things every potential buyer should consider.
1.  North vs South  While sharing the same body of water, there are pretty big differences between the north side of the lake and the south side of the lake, especially when it comes to neighborhoods.  Living on the north side you will tend to share homes and properties set more in traditional neighborhoods with deeper lots to the water.   The south side properties on the other hand, are mainly off of South Shore Dr. which acts as the main artery to the homes directly, with a few smaller neighborhoods right off of South Shore Dr.  The south side of the lake has many more public access points to the lake, mostly at the road's end, where people can launch kayaks or fish in the water. The south side is more directly connected to Holland's downtown and seasonal Farmers market which can easily be accessed via a short bike ride from any point along the south side of the lake.
2. Water Depth  If you are planning on having a boat and want to dock the boat on your property, you will want to know what the water depth is in the lake in front of the home you are buying.  Although water levels have been pretty low in recent years, the winter we are having should change the depth in a positive way, attracting boaters to properties that may have not been able to accommodate a boat in the past several years.  You can always submit an application to the DEQ and Army Corps of Engineers to have the bottom land dredged, but it's wise to know what the average water depth has historically been in the lake for the property.
3. Site Lines Many homes along Lake Macatawa are subject to a site line ordinance which determines how close to the lake a home can be.  So, if you are considering buying a vacant lot, buying a home you plan on tearing down and rebuilding, or want to add on to an existing home on the lakeside, you are more than likely going to deal with this ordinance.  The easiest way to determine site line setback would be to draw a straight line from the farthest point forward of the two adjacent lakefront homes.  Any construction you are planning on doing may have to be behind that line, barring a variance.
4. Food Plain  Since Lake Macatawa properties are not set on high bluffs, there are times when you may run into having to deal with FEMA.  Some properties along Lake Macatawa fall into the flood zone designation, and therefore are subject to flood insurance.  The best thing to do is to contact your local insurance agent to see if the home you are buying falls into this designation.  But alas, not all is lost, as one may apply for a LOMA (letter of map amendment) to have the designation changed, if there is proof through an elevation survey and other engineering work that the home is not actually in the flood zone.
5. Find a Good Agent Although every agent can assist you in the purchase of a Lake Macatawa property, let's face it, not every agent is qualified to do so.  Choose an agent that has been involved in several Lake Macatawa waterfront transactions and knows the neighborhoods, any possible challenges, and the values of the properties.  Choosing an inexperienced agent could cost you money, time, and a lot of headaches.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Holland High-end home market 2013

In the greater Holland, Saugatuck, Zeeland, West Olive market area for High-end homes, homes which sold for more than $500,000 in 2013 there were 65 homes sold at an average of $842,524.  In 2012 there were 73 homes sold over $500,000 with an average sale price of  $872,545...pretty consistent numbers over the past couple years, but this graph will show that things were not so in the dark years of 2008-2011.  It's pretty clear from the graph when the recovery began.  We sold more than twice as many homes $500,000 or more in our market area in 2012 compared to 2009.
Below is a graph of Luxury homes sold (homes over $500,000) in the Greater Holland area over the past 10 years:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lake Michigan Sales Statistics Montague to Onekama 2012 vs 2013

Lake Michigan waterfront single family home sales for the areas of Montague, Shelby, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee and up to Onekama.  In 2012 there were 31 homes sold with at an average sale price of $570,468, and took an average of 248 days to sell the 31 homes.  The high sale price was $1,000,000, a 3600 sqft home on 10 acres and 273' of lake frontage in Freesoil; the low was $240,000, a 811 sqft foreclosure with 91' of lake frontage in Ludington;  the median sale price was $535,000, a 2220 sqft home with 140' of water frontage in Manistee. 
Compare that to 2013 when there were 37 homes sold along the lake, a 19% increase, at an average of $670,587, a 17% increase, and average marketing time of 359 days, a disappointing 44% increase.  The high sale in 2013 was $2,500,000, a 1700 sqft log home with 818' of water frontage in Manistee; the low was $250,000, a 1790 sqft tear-down home with 60' of frontage in Manistee; the median was $540,000, a 1785 sqft home with 60' of water frontage in Shelby.   As you can see, the values of lake homes are all over the board and really depend on the height of the bluff and quality of the lot--having a nice home doesn't hurt either.
In case you are wondering, which I know you are, there are currently 39 homes on the market and 2 pending in that same market area at an average of $495,000 and 40 currently listed at an average of $848,296 and have been on the market an average of 339 days.  This means the gap between the average sale price of last year and the average listing price currently is $177,709, or 26%.  When you figure a seller normally gets about 95% of their list price, either the market is set to increase again like it did from 2012 to 2013, or sellers are going to have to come down a bit.  We will see.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Greater Holland/Saugatuck Condo Sales 2012 vs 2013

For condominium real estate sales in the Greater Holland / Zeeland / Saugatuck areas in 2012 we saw 303 condos sold in that market with an average sale price of $131,713, a median of $114,900, and an average marketing time of 170 days.  In 2013 there were 327, a 8% increase, condos sold at an average sale price of $154,156, a 17% increase, a median of $129,900, a 13% increase, and an average marketing time of 125 days, a 25% decrease. All in all, there was $39,909,050 in sales volume sold in 2012 compared to $50,408,856 sold in 2013, a 26% increase in total sales volume. 
WOW!  I thought condo sales here in West Michigan were doing well, but I didn't expect these kind of numbers.  Still not back to peak levels set in 2005 where there were 366 condos sold at an average sale price of $189,462, but still not too shabby.

Click here to search for West Michigan Homes 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

More positive news about our cold weather

The extreme cold may help raise water levels in the Great Lakes, protect shorelines and wetlands from erosion, kill insect pests and slow the migration of invasive species.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — From a field station in northern Wisconsin, where the previous night's low was a numbing 29 degrees below zero, climate scientist John Lenters studied computer images of ice floes on Lake Superior with delight.
It may be hard to think of this week's deep freeze as anything but miserable, but to scientists like Lenters there are silver linings: The extreme cold may help raise water levels in the Great Lakes, protect shorelines and wetlands from erosion, kill insect pests and slow the migration of invasive species.
Related: Arctic air eases its grip on much of the U.S.
"All around, it's a positive thing," Lenters, a specialist in the climate of lakes and watersheds, said Wednesday.
Ice cover on the Great Lakes has been shrinking for decades, but this year more than 60 percent of the surface is expected to freeze over at some point — an occurrence that could help the lakes rebound from a prolonged slump in water levels.
Deep freeze has silver linings for natural worldAP Photo: West Bend Daily News, John Ehlke, File
In this June 22, 2011 file photo are tracks from Emerald Ash Borers left in a black ash tree outside the Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg, Wis.
Even agriculture can benefit. Although cold weather is generally no friend to crops, some of southern Florida's citrus fruits can use a perfectly timed cool-down, which they were getting as midweek temperatures hovered around freezing.
"A good cold snap lowers the acidity in oranges and increases sugar content, sweetens the fruit," said Frankie Hall, policy director for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. "It's almost been a blessing."
Scientists noted that subzero temperatures and pounding snowfalls like those that gripped much of the nation for several days are not unheard-of in the Midwest and Northeast and used to happen more frequently.
For all the misery it inflicted, the polar vortex that created the painfully frigid conditions apparently broke no all-time records in any major U.S. cities, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground.
"I'm just happy to see that we have a normal winter for once," said Lenters, who works for Limnotech, an environmental consulting firm in Ann Arbor.
As the climate has warmed, the absence of bitter cold has actually been damaging.
The emerald ash borer, an insect native to Asia, arrived in the U.S. around 2002 and has killed about 50 million ash trees in the Upper Midwest. But some locales this winter may have gotten cold enough to kill at least some larvae, said Robert Venette, a U.S. Forest Service research biologist in St. Paul, Minn.
Deep freeze has silver linings for natural worldAP Photo: Suzette LaBoy
In this Jan. 7, 2014 image from video Diane Cordeau poses for a photos on her Kai-Kai farm near Indiantown, Fla.
A reading of minus 20 will usually produce a 50 percent mortality rate, and "the numbers go up quickly as it gets colder than that," Venette said.
While the freeze won't wipe out the ash borer, it will give communities a chance to develop plans for limiting the bug's spread, he said.
Other pests that originated in warmer places could be affected as well, including the gypsy moth, the hemlock woolly adelgid and the European beetle that carries Dutch elm disease, said Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. Native insects have evolved to cope with deep freezes.
Extreme cold also reins in invasive nuisance plants such as kudzu, which has ravaged the Southeast but has yet to find its way north, said Luke Nave, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist.
"As long as these cold snaps continue to occur, they will help reinforce the current range limits for certain plants," Nave said.
Water levels have been below normal in most of the Great Lakes since the late 1990s because of high evaporation and occasional lack of rain and snow. A year ago, Lakes Michigan and Huron hit their lowest points on record. Cargo ships were forced to carry lighter loads to avoid running aground in shallow channels. Marinas lost business and wetlands dried up.
But levels rose sharply in 2013, thanks to heavy snow and rain. Extensive ice cover this winter could help the lakes continue their recovery. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor predicts ice will cover 57 to 62 percent of the surface waters.
One of the lab's climatologists, Jia Wang, previously reported that the lakes' ice cover has declined 71 percent over the past 40 years. He said this year's showing may be a short-lived exception to an ongoing trend.
Deep freeze has silver linings for natural worldAP Photo: Granite Island Light Station LLC
In this image from video provided by the Granite Island Light Station LLC, ice covers the water surrounding Granite Island in Lake Superior Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 near Marquette, Mich.
But this year's bone-chilling conditions could keep water temperatures low well into the summer, delaying the seasonal warming that triggers heavy evaporation, Lenters said.
The deep freeze also has piled up ice along Great Lakes shorelines, providing a buffer that will prevent heavy waves from eroding soil and disturbing wetlands.
Sections of the lakes that freeze solidly create new pathways for wandering wildlife. That could help gray wolves, which have spread across Michigan's Upper Peninsula, find new territory in the Lower Peninsula, where the occasional straggler has turned up but no established packs are known to exist.
"You can decide for yourself whether that's a good thing," said Philip Myers, curator of mammals at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. "I think it is."
Deep Freeze graphicAP
Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis and Seth Borenstein in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

North Holland Area Market Statistics 2013 vs 2012

Year end real estate statistics for the areas of Park Township and Holland, North of Lake Macatawa and west of highway 31, single family homes both on and off water.  In 2012 there were 441 single family homes sold with an average sale price of $214,478, averaging 109 days of marketing time, and sellers were able to get 94.71% of their last asking price. The 441 homes sold averaged 3 bedrooms, 2.46 baths and 1628 square feet.  The low sale price was $20,000, the high was $1,797,000, and the median was $145,000 in 2012. 
In 2013 there were 433 homes sold, a 2% decrease compared to 2012, at an average sale price of $210,040, also a 2% decrease, averaging 91 days of marketing time, and sellers were able to get 94.97% of their last asking price. The 433 homes averaged 3 bedrooms, 2.52 baths and 1671 square feet of living space.  The low sale price was $23,500, the high was sold for $1,900,000, and the median number was $159,900 in 2013, representing a 10% increase in median sale price vs 2012.
The main number to look at here is the median sale prices since they reflect a more accurate representation of market value in that area "in general" by eliminating the extremes.  The last time we saw numbers like these were in 2004 when there were 501 homes sold in this area at a median of...$159,900!  Are we back to the good times?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lake Michigan sales statistics 2012 vs 2013 Saugatuck to Grand Haven

With things looking up in real estate along the Lake Michigan shoreline, it's time to see how we did in 2013 compared to the first year of the recovery in 2012 for waterfront single family homes in the areas in and around Saugatuck, Holland, West Olive, and Grand Haven.
In 2012, the reported sales totaled 44 single family homes with an average sale price of $1,101,225, which is a really healthy number when you consider in 2005, the peak of the market, there were only 24 homes sold with an average of $1,116,286.  In 2013, there were once again a more "normal" amount of Lake Michigan homes sold, totaling 26 homes with an average sale price of $1,181,462, representing a decrease of 41% in number of sales, but an increase of about 7% in average sale price compared to 2012.  In 2012 the highest sale price was $2,650,000 the low was $460,000, and the median was $988,750; in 2013 those numbers were $2,590,000, $562,500, and $954,750 respectively. Days on the market in 2012 was 300 and in 2013 that number dropped to 288...not a huge drop, but progress.
I think what we are seeing here is some stabilization in the upper end market with more normal sales numbers in 2013 after the big surge in sales in 2012.  Number of sales in 2013 probably could have been higher, but low inventory for lakefront Lake Michigan homes pushed that number lower.