2013 is shaping up to be another record year for real estate sales in Leelanau County. Through the first week of November, 359 existing home sales have been recorded in 2013, totaling more than $124 million in transaction volume. That's an improvement of over 13% by number and more than 30% by volume compared to the same period in 2012!
Also, an encouraging sign for sellers is that prices finally appear to be on the rise. While 2012 showed some improvement in average prices, digging deeper it suggests to be more a change in the make up of sales (nicer homes rather than the neglected, bank-owned properties of 2010 & 2011) as opposed to real price increases on like-for-like properties. In 2013, prices clearly have been on the rise. Looking at average and median prices, that may be somewhere in the range of 10-15%. And while this is the case for much of the market, the very high end waterfront homes have seen flat, though stable, prices over the past couple years.
Lastly, vacant land sales have begun to come back to life this year. Through today, 145 vacant parcels have sold in 2013, up from 79 last year, and well above the meager results of the 2009-2011 period. Solid vacant sales figures suggest a healthier market over all, as they are either to buyers who couldn't find a suitable existing home given the tight inventory and plan to build immediately, or to dreamers who purchase with intentions of it being the site for a future vacation or retirement home. However, (and a bit sobering) this is little more than half of the total vacant sales during the peak years, and average prices are considerably lower. On top of that, with nearly 900 vacant parcels actively listed in the county, there is a 5½ year supply at today's sales levels. So, when it comes to vacant land, we aren't out of the woods yet.
Overall, there's much to be encouraged about. Sellers are finally benefiting from rising prices, greater buyer activity and more equity at closing. And buyers, though challenged by somewhat tight inventory of existing homes, still have the opportunity of purchasing just off the bottom of a decade long low.
If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in Leelanau County, please do not hesitate to contact us.