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Thread summary:

Reliable real estate information for Benzie and Grand Traverse counties, monthly sales, vacant homes, differentials between asking and sales price, monthly inventory

Old 08-10-2007, 01:09 AM
10 posts, read 30,477 times
Reputation: 16


I have been combing the net for some reliable real estate information for Benzie and Grand Traverse counties
- Inventory by month
- Sales by month
- Vacant homes by month
- Differentials between asking and sales prices

What one finds is either no real information and a lot of happy talk by realtors who can't be trusted for obvious, economic, reasons. Right now the P:E ratios indicates that when one gets beyond the median, prices of homes in Benzie Co. are inflated by 30% and those in Grand Traverse are inflated by 40% beyond economic fundamentals.

Is there any good assessment of the housing market conditions in Benzie and Grand Traverse Counties? I'm especially interested in viewing how this perfect storm of the credit/liquidity crisis along with dropping consumer spending and the destruction of manufacturing, is affecting the housing market there.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:05 PM
211 posts, read 490,348 times
Reputation: 217
I may be able to get you some of the information that you are interested in but it's not readily available to the public online.

It might be easier if your criteria was more specific . Are you talking year to date, month by month on a calender year basis or are you interested in comparing YTD data to previous years during the same time periods?

The other complication that we have up here is a wide range in values. When you are mixing $20,000 mobiles in with $3 million dollar custom homes, the median and average figures don't mean a heck of a lot. The volume is small enough that one or two high end sales can significantly skew the average or median sale prices and give a somewhat distorted view when making comparisons to archival data.

Again, taking into account that mixing all of the housing categories into one figure provides a gross generalization, sales are down from 2006 and are close to 2005 levels. Inventory is substantially higher than it has been in years past. In some market segments sales have dropped significantly but the upper end of the market is actually fairly dynamic right now.

In Benzie and GT Counties, YTD sales of $750,000+ homes are up 20% over the same period in 2006 and up 70% from the same period in 2005. In that category avg. sale price has increased 5% over 2006 and 24% over 2005 figures.

Contrast that market segment with the $150K - $250K range. In that market segment sales are down 24% YTD over 2006 and down 44% from 2005 figures for the same period. Average sale price is flat, down less than 1% from 2006 and virtually identical to 2005 figures.

LP/SP ratios are down slightly from years past but it's not a huge drop. Average Days on the market has increased slightly compared to recent years.

Foreclosures are up substantially and lenders are being much more cooperative in short sale scenario's than has been evidenced in the past. There are some good buying opportunities for investors but the market has not bottomed out yet (imho) so investors should be taking a long term approach. Tough time to sell a house in this area. The houses that are selling tend to be realistically priced and tend to be in superior condition and locations. If you are in a marginal location or your house needs a substantial amount of work fuggedaboutit! Your going to end up giving it away for peanuts to make it move.

Don't know if this answers any of your questions or not. Let me know if you need some specific data and I'll see what I can get for you.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:51 AM
10 posts, read 30,477 times
Reputation: 16
Default Thank You, Jswee

Am planning to build on some property and move up. Still think that with all its problems Michigan is great.

I have noticed that the median home prices in the two counties deviates significantly from the mode of the distribution. For instance in Benzie the mode of current prices is a reasonable 2.8:1 P:E yet the median is around 4.2:1. This indicates to me that most home prices are reasonable for what people may afford and the median is distorted by high-end houses.

Mainly I want to track the market to see how distressed is housing liquidity since if things get too bad builders may leave for better work when they have to compete with a large inventory. It also worries me that the continuing market for high-end homes will pull in builders to the point where their services are overpriced for me. Month-to-month raw data for me is OK as I can analyze persistent trends independent of seasonal corrections.

Have found a contractor who seems to be practical and word-of-mouth indicates is reliable with a good eye for detail. I only hope that I could plan for construction before he is impacted by the market. Hate to see good people struggling.

By the way - a couple of questions.
- Both TC and Frankfort throw off a lot of light pollution. Is there any interest in dark skies so that public lighting won't be inefficient and obtrusive?
- The ugliest part of TC is the highway that runs along the bay to Acme. UGLY, UGLY, UGLY! It, along with the usual greedy privatization of access, seems to wall off the bay from the community. Any plans to rectify this?

Anyway, thank you for your reply.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:13 AM
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Never let the contractor handle your well and septic. NEVER! There are company that supply sub-standard products for these little "deals" Kick backs are paid, the mobile or modular dealers are the worst. They use to call me each spring, I finally told them I did not need a pimp.

Last edited by Driller1; 08-17-2007 at 10:24 AM..
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:58 AM
211 posts, read 490,348 times
Reputation: 217
Regarding your questions, have not heard of any concerns regarding light pollution, although I'd agree that nighttime glow from TC especially is noticeable. Traverse City itself is actually a fairly progressive community but it's surrounded by a very conservative county, so it's hard to say whether concerns over light pollution would get much traction. If energy costs continue to increase it may act as a catalyst to effect some change in this regard.

The strip that you are referring to is known as the "Miracle Mile" and it's been fairly heavily commercialized for many, many years. Other than the State Park, it's all privately owned so other than very stringent zoning controls there is not a lot that can be done. The commercial buildings along this strip provide a large chunk of the revenue for East Bay Township, so I doubt that they are going to enact zoning which will kill the golden goose, per se.

The City of TC has actually done a pretty good job along the base of the other Bay. In the last ten years they have removed the power generating plant and along with a conservancy has bought and removed several privately owned building, so that the bulk of the waterfront along the base of West Grand Traverse bay is not vacant, publicly owned park land. It's quite a contrast with the base of East Grand Traverse Bay.
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