Economic Development and Real Estate

Home buyers, sellers work together in hot market

July 15, 2016
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As Judy Brasseur put it, “you must be living under a rock” to not know people want to live in Grand Rapids.

The region recently was named one of the hottest housing markets in the United State by, ranking as the 18th-hottest market through June. And from what Brasseur sees as team leader of Keller Williams Grand Rapids, that assessment rings true.

Brasseur said inventory is at about 1.4 months of supply (the number of houses currently for sale divided by the average number of homes sold per month). Average market price has increased about 7.5 percent from a year ago.

“It’s a crazy hot market right now,” Brasseur said. “Interest rates are still staying on the low side, and they’re not predicting that to change much over the next 12-18 months.

“Inventory is at an all-time low and the supply and demand is high.”

So yes, it’s a seller’s market in West Michigan, with some homes selling within hours of listing. That quick turnaround has led to some sellers scrambling to find a new home, not having expected the suddenness of selling.

But Brasseur has noticed another recent trend in the market: a more collaborative approach to deal-making.

She said agents are showing an understanding of the market and negotiating sales to fit the needs of both parties in a transaction.

“The homes are selling really quickly, but buyers are willing to wait as well,” she said. “Understandably they want to move and to get into their new home sooner, but buyers and sellers have been coming together to be a little more flexible about when to move in, so no one’s in a crunch.”

While homes sell like hotcakes, Brasseur said the market has begun its shift, with the pendulum having reached its apex and beginning its swing back toward becoming a buyer’s market.

She said projections indicate that shift could be complete within the next nine to 12 months, and though there likely won’t be any drastic shifts this season, that could change by next spring. When that time comes, Grand Rapids has historically done quite well with the transition compared with other markets statewide.

“Grand Rapids just has a strongly based economy all around, and we seem to weather shifts in the markets very well compared to the east side (of Michigan),” Brasseur said. “And the housing market is one of the pointers that our economy on the whole is quite strong. Sellers enjoy it; buyers who are getting their homes are feeling happy and successful. It’s been a great ride for both buyers and sellers and for the community as a whole, because it keeps our economy very strong here in Grand Rapids.”

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