Traverse City Real Estate is Red Hot

TRAVERSE CITY – Numbers don't lie, and the statistics and stories alike point to a new real estate boom in Traverse City.

The residential real estate rebound is a classic case of supply and demand, with supply of homes in Traverse City down 41 percent in February 2013 compared to a year ago. The backlog of unsold homes we heard about during the recession has finally evaporated, leaving sellers in the driver's seat.

"The inventory is very low and it's turned Traverse City into a seller's market," observes Meagan Luce of Century 21 Northland and Traverse City Area Association of Realtors President-Elect. "We are seeing multiple offers on properties and sale prices higher than the comparable sold sales," she adds.

After a few years of struggles, the seller's market is creating problems for prospective buyers.

Camille Campbell of Century 21 Northland: "This is a challenging situation for buyers to come to grips with, as it is a complete change from the [last] couple of years. But it is a very exciting time to be a seller."

Campbell says she recently listed a home near the Grand Traverse Mall.

"It went on the market in the morning and had eleven showings set up within three hours. We received an offer on the first day that was accepted. The homes that are in very good condition are getting a great deal of attention and not staying on the market more than a few days."

The short supply is also driving average sale prices up and average number of days homes are for sale down. Sale prices were up 5 percent and average days on market down 8 percent in February versus 2012. The average sale price of a single family home in Traverse City in February was 94 percent of its asking price, quite a rebound from sale prices from 2009-2012.

Judy Robinson at Coldwell Banker Schmidt says the current market has caused a "buying frenzy among realtors. Due to the lack of houses for sale we are seeing multiple offers, bidding wars and disappointed buyers. The pendulum has definitely swung in favor of the seller," she adds.

She tells of a frustrated buyer who made an offer $12,000 higher than the asking price of a home as soon as it came up for sale, only to learn of seventeen showings the first few days. The offer was declined because of a better offer.

"I even had a buyer from Texas make an offer on a house from a video that I sent them."

Luce tells of a client engaged in a bidding war for a home they wanted, adding, "I have about 10 other stories just like this – it's tough to be a buyer right now!"

But surely realtors have some extra pull when they're looking for themselves? Not so, says Andy Stireman of Coldwell Banker Schmidt, who is a prospective buyer himself.

Stireman heard of home on Anderson Road about to be listed and quickly drove over for a visit. Though only one or two other realtors even knew about the home about to be up for sale, he hurried home to get his girlfriend.

"I wanted to show it to her, but it sold before I was able to get her in there," he says.