Grand Rapids Real Estate Market 2012- This Year's Winner and Instigator of "March Madness"
Originally posted on March 15, 2012 by Kevin Polakovich of Treadstone Mortgage
If you live in or around the Grand Rapids or West Michigan area (or in any state that is unseasonably warm) you may have noticed that something feels different. Some would say its the unseasonably beautiful 80 degree weather in mid March, others would say its the feeling of elation arising from MSU being a top ten team. All of these are great explanations but the true cause of March Madness this year is real estate. There are simply not enough good homes to go around and people are once again shopping– and with every day turned into a beautiful Florida sunny Saturday the shoppers are out in swarms.
Where just two years ago perfect homes were sitting stagnant on the market, today a well priced home isnt sitting at all. There is a lack of inventory and this lack of quality inventory is leading to increase demand, and as a result a non collegiate March Madness.
This crazed but busy real estate March means different things to different people. Its great (if not a refreshing return to normality) for the realtors and mortgage loan officers who made it through the storm. But what does it mean for first time home buyers and those looking for a change? Well luckily since the craze seems to have just picked up in the last month or two there are still homes available but the prices are going up. When the market crashed a couple of years ago an estimated 20 million Americans moved back in with family or friends. Now after saving their money, building their credit, and preparing for a couple years these 20 million home buyers are ready and seizing up great properties for great prices.
Not only are first time home buyer numbers up but also in abundance are those families who bought smaller 2 bedroom houses in 2007-2008 who now have had more children and have been waiting for the right time to upgrade. The time for many of them is now, as interest rates are at all time lows and prices are still relatively low in most areas.
What options does this leave those of us who need a little more time? First this means that buyers must really plan ahead, be prepared to move quick if interest rates begin to go up, even a fraction of a percent change can mean tens of thousands of dollars over 20-30 years. Second, look into alternative lending options. Conventional loans work for houses in good condition, but if you find a property that needs work, there are other options. The 203k home repair loan lets buyers buy a house and use money that is rolled into the loan to fix it up or remodel.