The fall buying season is winding down here in Leelanau County and area Realtors seem to be settling in for the long winter ahead. The proactive among us will use this time to plan for the coming year, work on marketing campaigns, refresh our websites, and labor through the of various “to do” lists that we’ve allowed to accumulate over the previous 9 months. I can’t say we welcome the slowdown, but after a busy year, the change of pace is refreshing.
We've experienced solid activity for Leelanau County real estate in the 4th quarter to date. Sales of vacant land are right in line with 2009 & 2010 for both units sold and volume, and though existing homes sales are down about 25% (by units) compared to the previous two years, median sales prices are up. It’s hard to provide concrete evidence to support this, but I don’t believe this reflects an upward trend in prices so much as that more, nicer homes are beginning to sell – which is just as important to a healthy (recovering) market. Over the past year I’ve probably seen a dozen homes in the $225,000-400,000 price range that offered a great deal of value yet went unsold. This is a frustration to both sellers and agents alike. So to see a pick-up in this part of the market would be very encouraging, and the prospect of one may be contributing to the quiet buzz among agents for a promising 2012.
Winter in Leelanau is not for the faint of heart - after 5 solid months of it last year, the 12” of snow we had on April 20th nearly broke this commentator’s spirit. But that’s not to say that it is to be dreaded. Winter activities in Leelanau County are abundant: cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, 2-for-1 burger night at Art’s all help to pass the time. For a few, it’s the favored season.
And this year there is exciting activity up at Sugar Loaf with the newly formed, not-for-profit Sugar Loaf Mountain Club. I spent the Saturday after Thanksgiving volunteering and getting to know the organizers and was heartened by what I saw. Firm believers in the adage that “something is better than nothing,” and hoping to build momentum for the future, this group has laid out a manageable set of steps to return skiers to “the Loaf’s” long-abandoned slopes. Follow the group’s progress on their Facebook page: facebook.com/sugarloafmi.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. And as always, if there’s anything I can do to help meet your real estate needs, don’t hesitate to contact me.