Summer begins…

Memorial Day has historically kicked of the Summer season. I marched in the Memorial Day Parade yesterday and it was great, as usual – huge crowds and great weather. I   also spent much of the weekend getting the flower beds weeded and the last of the flowers planted. I got my little flower bed watering system all fixed up from the hard winter and working again and I got the window air conditioners all in (a consequence of living in a house that was  built in 1885 and is still heated by steam radiators). So, I’m ready to go for the summer ahead.

In the real estate world we are in the prime selling season right now and local statistics show the results – more houses are selling this year than last and the inventory is down to less than 4 months worth of houses in most areas. Prices have also started to come back, but not such that sellers have recovered all the value that was lost in the recent recession – that will take years, if not a decade or more. It’s not unusual to see multiple bids on good homes right now, which again helps drive up the prices.

I’m not sure which group is more frustrated right now – would be home buyers who can’t find what they want on the market or might-be sellers who are still under water on their mortgages and can’t afford to sell. Both groups find the current market unsatisfying. There is a third group of people who are also experiencing frustrations – would be renters/leasers. The lease market is even tighter that the sales market for good houses, because so many displaced families (read that foreclosed) have snapped up the lease inventory. That may start opening up a bit later in the year, because there are likely many who are about to exit their 3 years of real estate foreclosure purgatory and be in the market to buy again.

In the area that I cover I’ve also noticed a good trend back to new-build housing coming onto the market. Many builders who headed for the bomb shelters a few years back are now active again and several failed or stalled developments have taken on new life. That’s a good thing. I also note that many of the builders are offering more affordable models with less frills, which is a reflection of a still fragile economic environment.

I’ve just posted the sales statistics for the areas that I track on a weekly basis – Milford, Highland, White Lake, Commerce, West Bloomfield, South Lyon, Green Oak, Brighton and Hartland – on my Website . Check them out for yourself. There is still weakness and a high rate of distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – in a few of the markets; however, most are down to much more reasonable distress levels. The averages for cost per square foot are still low when compared to where they were a few years back, so good deals are still to be had. Combine that with historically low mortgage rates and it’s a great time to buy.

So, hey, relax and enjoy the summer. Have a hot dog and a beer. Watch a baseball game. Buy a house. It’s a summer tradition!

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