The real estate market officially rebounded this past year. Buyers came out in swarms attracted to the low prices and low interest rates. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale dwindled. Within a couple short months, the market changed from a buyer's market to a seller's market. Most of 2012 we had a measly 3.9 months of inventory, giving sellers the edge. To put this in perspective, we were sitting at twelve to thirteen months of inventory throughout 2008, and a normal market is considered to be a supply of six months. With higher demand and lower supply, the prices of homes increased an average of 10% in the greater Grand Rapids area. The average sale price went from $121,000 in 2011 to $133,000 in 2012. The number of units sold increased about 20% over the previous year, while sales volume increased by 32%.
2012 was a great year for Grand Rapids in a lot of ways. Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul out of New York, picked Grand Rapids as the best place to buy a home in the entire country. Hopefully the market will grow steadily over the next few years and we can experience a great economy again. The many people who lost equity in their homes will finally be able to sell them and move on with their lives. Our biggest challenge now is the low inventory. To anyone who has been thinking of selling, now is the best opportunity for sellers in years. I look forward to 2013 with great optimism.