You’ve been hearing for years now that the local real estate market “is back,” but now there’s evidence to prove it. Single-family home sales in the five-county region surged 26 percent in 2012, led by strong growth in Leelanau County.
Numbers compiled by the Traverse Area Association of Realtors show growth across the board in numbers of homes sold and sale prices.
“We broke several records,” says Kim Pontius, executive vice president of TAAR. “Many of our members say it was the best year they ever had.”
In 2011 sales totaled $391.7 million with an average sale price of $182,621. Last year sales hit $553.3 million with an average price of $204,553. Sales were up in every one of TAAR’s five counties – Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau.
Inside the numbers (percentages are growth from 2011 to 2012):
Grand Traverse County:
Homes sold: +28 percent
Average price: +10 percent
Homes sold: +44 percent
Average price: +7 percent
Homes sold: +22 percent
Average price: +32 percent
Homes sold: +68 percent
Average price: +11 percent
Homes sold: +42 percent
Average price: +1 percent
Several realtors pointed to growth within Leelanau County, while others said waterfront homes and the high-end segment were hot in 2012:
“The popular areas sought were Glen Arbor, Leland and the Old Mission Peninsula…Premium waterfront homes with privacy…were red hot for 2012, what were the "untouchables" in the early 2000s. I saw an increase in consumers that had no previous affiliation with northern Michigan, which leads me to believe the "most beautiful place in America" designation from Good Morning America did a lot to gain recognition for our area.
– Cindy Anderson, Coldwell Banker Schmidt, Traverse City
“High end waterfront on both Lake Michigan and North Lake Leelanau sold well. Some of the most sought locations were down private drives that really still give the northern Michigan feel. Leland village homes sold well in 2012 which had been slow previously.”
- Perry Pentiuk, Venture Property, Leland
“Affordable waterfront is buoying the Antrim County and Chain of Lakes real estate market. Elk, Torch and Grand Traverse Bay inventory has been going fast.”
– Don Fedrigon, RE/MAX, Elk Rapids
“What surprised me most about 2012 is that buyers are buying waterfront and view vacant property again in Leelanau County with imminent plans to build. After having very few inquiries from 2008 through 2011, buyers are ready to build. They are buying again and building five years out at the most.”
- Cory Beuerle, Century 21 Northland, Suttons Bay
“2012 was the best year for sales I have had since 2006. I experienced sales in all price ranges and locations in the greater Grand Traverse area from Leland and Northport to Elk Rapids for waterfront properties and from Kingsley to Traverse City for residential properties.”
– Sam Abood, Coldwell Banker Schmidt, Traverse City
"There was also a 55% increase in waterfront homes sales in 2012, with the average waterfront sale being $503,125. All indications are that we will continue to see this improving trend not only in residential real estate but also in the residential building industry due to the declining inventory."
- Connie Kroll, Century 21 Northland